Pakistanis Die, Pakistanis Cry: Christians Killed and Homes Burnt in Gojra

Posted on August 1, 2009
Filed Under >Atif Mian, Law & Justice, Minorities, Religion
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Atif Mian

Over fifty houses belonging to Christians and two churches have been burnt and ransacked by a mob of villagers near Toba Tek Singh and at least six people have been killed. The mob meted out the collective punishment on the ‘accusation’ that three Christians were allegedly seen desecrating pages of the Holy Quran.

The perpetrators committed this vile act in broad daylight as hapless homeowners ran for their lives. Ironically, instead of arresting the culprits, the police – under pressure from the mob – registered a blasphemy case against the three Christians!

However, the irony doesn’t end here. While Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif condemned this incident, he had himself presided over an important meeting of the ulema just four weeks before with a very different message. The meeting put out a joint proclamation stating that “.. whosoever is even slightly guilty of blasphemy against the Prophet – directly or indirectly – is an infidel, an apostate, and liable to be put to death”. So why condemn now Mr. Chief Minister?

Further irony is that the above statement was part of a joint declaration prepared to condemn religious militant extremism! The Punjab government was so proud of bringing these progressive minded ulema together, that it published the declaration in newspapers. (Click here or on image to see larger version).

But the greatest irony of all is that those who were so perturbed by the alleged desecration of pages of Quran, shredded its entire message to pieces by destroying a place of worship.

This earlier report from Reuters gives more details of the incident:

Six Christians, including four women, were burned alive in clashes with majority Muslims in a town in central Pakistan on Saturday, officials said. Tension has been running high between the two communities in Gojra town in central Punjab province over allegations that Christians had desecrated a Koran.

Clashes erupted early on Saturday, with an exchange of fire from the members of the two communities. Television footage showed burning houses and streets strewn with blackened furniture and people firing at each other from their rooftops.

Shahbaz Bhatti, minister for minorities, said a mob “misled by religious extremists,” attacked a Christian neighborhood and torched dozens of houses. “We have received six bodies of people who died of burn injuries. They included four women, one man and one child,” Abdul Hamid, a Health Ministry official in the town told Reuters by telephone.

Rana Sanaullah, provincial minister for law, who is also responsible for security matters of Punjab, condemned the attack and said an inquiry had been ordered. However, he said, a preliminary investigation showed there was no desecration of the Koran. “It was just a rumor which was exploited by anti-state elements to create chaos,” he said. “I request both Muslim and Christian communities to show restraint,” Sanaullah said, adding the government would take strict action against rioters and also police who failed to stop the violence.

Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim nation and religious minorities, including Christians, account for roughly 4 percent of the 170 million population. Muslims and minorities largely live in harmony but there have been periodic attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan since it became a U.S. ally following the September 11 attacks on the United States.

As tensions have escalated, The News reports concern and statements from the Federal government, including the Interior Minister, Prime Minister and the President:

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik Saturday took notice of violent incidents in Gojra and directed Punjab Inspector General to bring the situation under control. He also directed the Punjab government to improve the law and order situation in the province; he also directed Punjab IG to submit report on the Gojra violence. Urging the people to demonstrate patience, he maintained no one would be allowed to take law in his hand in the country. The interior minister expressed deep grief over the rampage and violence in Gojra, saying action will be taken against anyone involved in the gory incidents in Gojra.

In a separate news item in The News:

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Saturday, taking notice of the Gojra’s violent incidents, ordered to initiate inquiry into the Gojra, sources said Saturday. President Asif Ali Zardari ordered to send Punjab Rangers to Gojra so that the situation could be normalized. Rehman Malik said Punjab Rangers will help police in bringing back the situation to normalcy, adding the government will take stringent action against those who are involved in worsening the situation. Zardari asked the interior ministry to cooperate with the government of Punjab for maintaining the law and order in the province.

77 Comments on “Pakistanis Die, Pakistanis Cry: Christians Killed and Homes Burnt in Gojra”

  1. Sara Mahboob says:
    August 1st, 2009 12:00 pm

    You raise very good points about this unfortunate situation, Atif. I have long advocated for reforming the blasphemy laws in Pakistan as I feel that is one of the only effective means of addressing the problem. According to the current law if an individual goes to the police and simply accuses someone of blasphemy, the police have to make an immediate arrest before an investigation. This situation is completely absurd and results in the type of incidents like the one that happened near Toba Tek Singh. During Musharraf regime some human rights activists and lawyers brought this to the table but as always despite all the promises there was no action taken. It’s sad that we have to witness a situation like this to even start thinking about making such basic changes to our laws.

  2. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 1st, 2009 12:03 pm

    Essentially it is a shame – a very great shame – that 97% Muslims cannot take care of 3% belonging to all the other religions combined. And we call ourselves an Islamic Republic!

  3. ASAD says:
    August 1st, 2009 12:19 pm

    This blasphemy law has to go. I hope the CJ will also take notice of this.

    Specially this attitude that on this issue people can just take things into their own hand and kill and destroy lives on the basis of rumors and whims. This is just mob rule and no different from the Taliban.

  4. Gardezi says:
    August 1st, 2009 12:21 pm

    This is very shameful for all of us. those who burnt these houses must be brought to justice and punished because such vigilantes cannot be tolerated in society.

    But your hinting that somehow the govt of Punjab is behind this is also wrong. There is certainly no evidence at all that either the Punjab govt or the Federal govt wanted this or support this in any way at all. In fact, quite reverse.

  5. Khalil says:
    August 1st, 2009 1:23 pm

    its Rubbish.
    when we teach our every citizen that its right to kill any one who is involved in whatever shape or form of blasphemy then this is a result.

    aur dikhaein Qaum to Ghazi Ilm uddin Ki Filmein.

    please note that we are so called follower of a person Muhammad [PBUH] who use to pray and forgive ALL those use to curse, abuse, throw Garbage, blood, flesh on him.

  6. August 1st, 2009 1:24 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “Gojra Incident>>>>Another dimension of Talibanization!!! Think over it”
    - “Disgusting, Islam enjoins justice even if it means giving witness against a fellow muslim. I suppose the title “Islamic republic ” only applies if we have a woman to flog.”
    - “In the land of the pure, only the pure are allowed to burn women alive simply because they may have insulted the religion of the pure. Shame on Pakistan, we are intolerant and hypocrites.”
    - “shame….shame….shame….lanat ho…”
    - “why shame on pakistan .. it should be on pakistanis rather..”
    - “wait wait … why shame on Pakistanis,Pakistan ,,,,,, show some patience guys ,,, nd try to know the route cause before balming nething . . . . . .
    m sure every one of u who r blaming Pakistan(is) dunno the news ….. :@”

  7. Umar Shah says:
    August 1st, 2009 1:37 pm

    Another reason why religion should not be used as a tool to run a country or interpret anything in an intolerant and bigoted society such as ours. May the souls of 6 Pakistanis who died in this event rest in peace.

  8. August 1st, 2009 1:46 pm

    This is an unfortunate tragic event. Islam, like most religions, has its tolerant and intolerant parts and it is sad to see the intolerant parts being used to abuse the rights of others.

    I was also seriously alarmed by the news of legally punishing the culprit to death. On a related note, does any of you know the official “punishment” of an apostate in Pakistan? I had read about the proposed Apostasy Bill 2006 punishing male apostates to death but never found out whether it got passed or not.

    I sincerely hope that we reform these draconian laws.

  9. zfr mrza says:
    August 1st, 2009 1:53 pm

    Pakistan was created because a minority in India (Muslims) felt that they were not given enough space of their own and were exploited by the Hindu majority. And this is how we deal with our own minorities in Pakistan (at all levels). This is one of our many paradoxes. A rear view of our own history is in order. zfrmrza

  10. August 1st, 2009 3:01 pm

    The Ad from the Punjab government referred to in the original post has now been added. Click on the image for a larger version.

  11. Jamal says:
    August 1st, 2009 3:07 pm

    Shame on Shehbaz Sharif and the rest of PML crew.

    CM. Shehbaz has himself called for “mandatory killing” of those who do not agree with narrow extremist interpretation of so called “enlightened ulema”.

    Read item # 2 in advertisement if you don’t believe me.

    I protest at this mindless killings of innocent christans.

  12. August 1st, 2009 3:08 pm

    According to the current law if an individual goes to the police and simply accuses someone of blasphemy, the police have to make an immediate arrest before an investigation

    @Sara: Mame, police can arrest anyone anytime when they need to grab money. They do not need to any exuse like some XYZ law to arrest someone. Try to spend some precious moment of your life on streets of Karachi and you will find out that police treat everyone here

  13. Atif says:
    August 1st, 2009 3:18 pm

    Quran is desecrated when mullah led mobs kill innocent people on mere accusations and not when a so called burnt copy of quran is found.

    So what even if some body burs quran is this a valid reason to attack innocent people and burn them alive ? This is what makes me crave for Musharraf again, as much as I dislike him.

    Apparently, he knew how to deal with these idiots.

  14. August 1st, 2009 3:32 pm

    So much for the tolerance.

  15. muhammad furqan says:
    August 1st, 2009 3:35 pm

    what about the hypocrisy and censorship of our selfproclaimed avatars of honesty:our “great” tv channels???????
    the whole day all of them repeated ad nauseum that fight between two groups,whithout mentioning that it was between christians and muslims and that the christians were burnt alive.all the fearless reporters showed immense cowardice by not stating the truth.even in india at the time of the gujrat riots there were some indian channels which lambasted the majority hindus for the massacre,but alas in our ignorant and conservative society no one has the guts to call a spade a spade.

  16. Sara Mahboob says:
    August 1st, 2009 4:15 pm

    @ Adnan Siddiqi. I have worked alongside the local police in Karachi helping street children who committed crimes. Please let’s not miss the point here completely but just saying “oh our police can arrest anyone”. Just as much as I would like to agree with your point of check on police powers, we also have to get rid of such draconian laws so that then we can work towards its fairer implementation through police and judges.

  17. Arsalan says:
    August 1st, 2009 4:42 pm

    I would like to protest in the strongest terms possible, this barbaric and horrendous criminal act.

    To the Christian community of Pakistan: Our heads hang in shame today, for what has been inflicted upon you. It is evidence, of the jahalat and intolerance that parts of Pakistan are full of. There is no justification for what has happened, and as a Muslim Pakistani I offer you my outright apologies.

    The rest of us must halt this march of stupidity and extremism. Religious persecution HAS to be stopped in Pakistan. Laws that allow for such terrible injustice to take place, MUST be repealed! For this, we should start to raise our voice at every forum available, to change the debate and put pressure on the legislature, for change.

    Let us learn a lesson from this incident and become better humans.

  18. xyz says:
    August 1st, 2009 6:01 pm

    All such Muslims who call there self ambassador of Muhammad ( S.A.W) and protector of Quran know nothing about meaning of Islam and the practice of Muhammad (S.A.W) and Quran,in truly manner.

  19. ShahidnUSA says:
    August 1st, 2009 7:32 pm

    I dont think I need to comment anymore after reading

    “Arsalan”s comment.

    Him and this great site makes me proud of my heritage.

    Apologising does not make you any lesser human being.

  20. Mohammad Fayaaz Ali says:
    August 1st, 2009 7:36 pm

    This is a shameful act.

    Step one has to be catch and visibly punish the criminals who burnt houses and caused death.

    there is clear legal basis for this and this mus be done swiftly and publicly for us as a people to hold our head high.

    We can come to the legal issues later, but just on the basis of the murder and violence they should be punished. And this has nothing to do with whether there was blasphamy or not or whether the pages of the Quran were desecrated or not. EVEN IF THEY WERE, this is still an act of criminals and thugs and should be punished severely as such.

  21. August 1st, 2009 7:54 pm

    Some more comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “thats what being lost ofcourse. We alwayz start fighting on things with each other in these matters and that way the criminals get away.”
    - “I think, we should be tolerant and open minded enough to allow critical/skeptical remarks also, even if we are not of the opinion or feel it is not right. Don’t we have hypocrites and intolerant pple; isn’t this act a reflection of the very same? Life is sacred and justice is everyone’s right, Grow up Pakistanis! ”
    - “They’re at it again, maybe someday things will change”
    - “well we should be tolerant nd we r tolerant but derz no point in blaming the “state” or “the Pakistan” .. Yes every one condemn wht happend in Gojra,,,, but finger should be pointed towards those who’r to be blamed but not to “The Pakistan” … neways . PEACE !!!!!!!!!!”
    - “Sorry but there can’t be any peace if articles 295 and 298 are inact in the penal code. Every sane Pakistani is aware that Pakistan should be re-created as per the guidlines that were given by Mr.Jinnah on 11th August 1948.”
    - “aqleeatoo ko un ka haq milna chahye,if they r right.govt.should seriously think abt ths”

  22. Asif says:
    August 1st, 2009 8:30 pm

    Its time to get off the fence and move beyond mere apologies.

    Pakistan has more mad mullahs then flies in fruit market. We will be appologizing for the next hundred years and still that won’t be enough, such are the acts of mullahs.

    It begins with daily conversations with our friends and families. Please make them aware of why this act is so wrong and must be stopped in future.

    Its time for every man and women to be counted.

  23. Eidee Man says:
    August 1st, 2009 9:11 pm

    I think the radical elements are beginning to realize that they are sinking deeper in the eyes of the common man. This seems like another pathetic attempt to create chaos and pit neighbor against neighbor. Whether it’s Sunni versus Shia, Christian versus Muslim, it’s all the same; their only objective is to stay relevant.

  24. mustafa kamaal says:
    August 1st, 2009 11:17 pm

    Meeting out rough justice is condemnable. However, in this brouhaha the most important point is forgotten: how can anyone even think of desecrating Qura’n in an islamic country? It clearly shows that these christians were quite convinced that they could get away with this heinous crime.

    Now, innocent christians should be compensated by the government and the culprits should be put to death after due process of law.

  25. August 1st, 2009 11:58 pm

    I am not missing the point. I am just trying to tell you that do not single out an incidence and misguide others that police only arrest those who offend Islam while the reality is quite different.

    Someone here says that laws should be repealed which gives others right to hurt fellow Pakistanis. I think if this is the case then every law should be repealed? what about laws which give non-Mullahs right to kill anyone just because they are sons of some feudal lord or some minister? what about getting rid of laws which give non-Mullah feudals and our civilian politicians to abuse Pakistanis. In Karachi a year old girl was gang raped by police men but at that time all Western funded NGos were hibernating somewhere and they did not come on roads and protest for “Women rights”. Why? because they did not have enough “money” which can make them to come out on roads.

    Those minority champs should realize that EVERY RELIGION must be respected; be it followed by minorities or majorities. Just like one does not have right to offfend Bible or any other religious book similarly no one has right to offend Quran either. One can’t say,”Oh they are minorities, let them offend Quran”. Those who have burnt these Christians and those who have really offended Muslims’ Holy book MUST BE punished.

  26. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    August 2nd, 2009 12:12 am

    A country where majorities(Muslims) men,women and children are killed easily by the army of a nation by Drone Attacks daily then one should not expect a “safe passage” for minorities. Those who do not understand it are either living in fools paradise or just trying earn few numbers infront of West so that they should not be labeled as Muslims.. sorry I mean extremists in the eyes of West.

  27. SIYAASI AADMI says:
    August 2nd, 2009 12:31 am

    We all agree that this should not have happened but we dont want to jump on the bandwagon where you put all the blame on the muslim majority in that area. There has to a cause which created this issue.

    Here is the real story

  28. Hussain says:
    August 2nd, 2009 1:06 am

    The comment from the so-called ‘siyaasi aadmi’ is the type of nonsense that is really scary about all of this. Even more scary thanteh criminals who murdered these Christians are the supposedly ‘normal’ people like ‘siyaasi aadmi’ who support these crimes and murders.

    First of all the rag he quotes for teh supposed ‘real’ story is a terrorist loving pack of lies and a propaganda machine for extremists and no reputable news organization has that version at all.

    But that is besides the point, let us suppose that in fact the Quran was desecrated. Even then, the murder and crimes of this mob is against the law and is not justified. If there was desecration, then there are laws to deal with it. They are still breaking the law and should be punished for killing Paksitanis and burning there homes.

    First, step is to get to the criminals and murderers in the mob and the so-called ulema and rags who support them and move them to violence and they must all be punished in exemplary fashion.

    There is no proof whatever that the desecration of the Qoran happened or not, but we DO KNOW CLEARLY that these murders and this killing and this burning happened. First we have to punish the crime we know happened.

  29. T Tellis says:
    August 2nd, 2009 4:06 am

    This is the 14th such case in Punjab in a month! What was the govt doing? On July 31 in Kasur after another alleged desecration thousands of Muslims attacked 100 Christian homes. I blame the education system and our view of how Pakistan was formed plus the media and clerics.

    The govt always blaming foreign hand involvement is not solving the problem. There is a real lack of tolerance and the powers in charge refuse to acknowledge it.

    Irresponsible statements in the media and by the media add fuel. Strange not a single TV channel has a reporter visiting Gojra when they all rush to any incident be it so minor! GEO even sent Hamid Mir to Lebanon!

    Why the media silence? Why hide the truth?

  30. August 2nd, 2009 8:11 am

    Daily Ummat, the right wing mullah paper has quoted a christina spokesman referring to the Holy Prophet (saw) as “Aakhri Nabi”. It is sad to see that a christian in Pakistan has to pretend to have a belief not in accordance with his real faith. It is obvious that the poor guy had to lie for the sake of appearing respectful.
    When will our ignorant masses learn that Christians believe that any claimant of prophecy after Jesus is an imposter, thus they are born committing blasphemy (according to Pakistani law). These laws should be reviewed and the Chief Minister of Punjab should think before he utters such stupidities.
    As Pakistanis we must implement real Islam in our country. We must allow all minorities to preach and practice their faiths freely. We must not persecute anyone who leaves Islam for any other faith. Why do people believe in everything a mullah shouts from the mosque loudspeaker? Not long ago, a Hafiz of Quran was dragged on the streets of Gujranwala and stoned to death because he was trying to dispose of a worn out copy of Quran by following a prescribed method in Fiqh books. i.e., burning the pages. A mullah heard the rumour and within hours a mob had gathered to lynch a person who was the protector of the Holy Book.
    Pakistan should be ashamed of these attrocities. Independance day should not be celebrated until these laws are repealed.

  31. Taimur says:
    August 2nd, 2009 10:12 am

    I agree with Adnan Siddiqi.

    We must punish teh criminals who did this. And if it is proven that there was actual desecration of the Quran, then that must also be punished. That is what is fair in the law.

    But, yes, since the murders and fire is a proven fact we shoudl start by punishing that immediately because that is criminal behavior.

  32. August 2nd, 2009 10:42 am

    More comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “There won’t be peace for as long as Pakistanis continue to engage in empty slogans. Notice how not a single Pakistani from Jamaat-i-Islami bothered to condemn these fanatics, yet they hold useless rallies condemning the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Yeah I’m pretty ticked off when Muslims cry about being the victim yet have no problem inflicting atrocities upon their own minority groups. And people wonder why Christians from Muslim countries tend to hate Muslims????? I’m pretty sure there are some Pakistani Muslims who are expressing delight over this since they believe anyone who disrespects Islam deserves to be slaughtered, while ignoring the benevolence of the Prophet himself. Sad to see how Muslims have become now, especially in a country that was ironically created as a beacon of refuge for Indian Muslims. A Gujrat-type massacre could occur against Christians and Shi’as in Pak but no one would be outraged over it.”
    - “Never in the history, a Muslim is charged with desecration of other holy texts like Bible, Veds and other Dharmics, but on the ther hands we have accused almost every society of desecrating our Holy Book. In the not so distant past, we have witnessed cases against Muslims (Shia in Parachinar 2007, Sunni, Deobandi in Chirar Sharif 1995, Barelvis in Chinyot 1991 etc), Christians, Hindus, Jews and any religion on the surface of the earth. Whether the offender is a powerful e.g. Gitmo officials or weak like Gojra residents. Question is, if we respect others, why dont they respect ours If they dont respect text of other religions then why they spare other texts? If they are outsiders then why our own sects are involved in the same crime? I want to say something more but unfortunately some Molvi will get me out of the Narrow Ciorcle of Islam, already over burdened by 2 billion poppulation.”
    - “Simple formula, RESPECT each others’ beliefs”
    - “The sick and most criminal part of it all seems (acc. DAWN), that it is all based not even on proof! and on top of that indiscriminate violence? (still can’t get over it)”
    - “Patience and Respect for each other is in every religion then why we always crosses the limits. Why take up the laws by own when law agencies are there to deal. It is another day of shame for us to show that we are impatience. May God protect us in future from such incidence Amen!”
    - “Sad day .. another chapter act of senseless violence let loose by bigots ..”
    - “its all due to the jahil molvies of pakistan. i hate these jahil molvies.”
    - “my dad says he once took my grandpa to a missionary hospital for an eye operation at that time Christians could also preach. in that hospital they used to give Christian literatures to Pakistani patients (us) and we would tear those literatures in front of their very eyes. but they never kept a grudge and treated us with full conviction.
    And what did we do now? Another black spot for us”

  33. Eidee Man says:
    August 2nd, 2009 10:53 am

    “It clearly shows that these christians were quite convinced that they could get away with this heinous crime.”

    First of all, there is no proof; more importantly, the idea that a Christian in Pakistan would take the risk of getting into this much trouble for no reason is downright absurd. Even those who would be interested in doing something like this would have the common sense to not be at the receiving end of a violent mob.

  34. commoner says:
    August 2nd, 2009 11:01 am
  35. Junaid says:
    August 2nd, 2009 11:56 am

    Apparently this incident is a result of collaboration between banned organisation and Khadam e Ala’s local administration.

    Hundreds of Muslims burned and looted Christian homes in the city and six people, including a child and four women, were killed after shooting broke out.

    Two men died later in hospital from gun shot wounds sustained in the riots.

    Officials suggested the disturbances, which began on Thursday but calmed before flaring again Saturday, had been instigated by members of a banned Muslim organisation.

    Mohammed Saleem, a correspondent with Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, told Al Jazeera: “It’s yet to be ascertained what caused the incident, but the government officials say that … they have taken into custody two dozen people associated with the banned organisation of Sipah-e-Sahaba.”

    The outlawed group has in the past been accused of attacking security forces.

    Rana Sanaullah, the provincial minister for law, who is also responsible for security matters of Punjab, condemned the attack and said that a preliminary investigation had showed there had been no desecration of the Quran.

    “It was just a rumour which was exploited by anti-state elements to create chaos,” he said.

    Rights groups accused the police of failing to respond quickly enough to prevent the violence from escalating.

  36. August 2nd, 2009 1:24 pm
  37. wasiq says:
    August 2nd, 2009 2:09 pm

    The obsession with the physical integrity of the Quran is misguided and should never be more important than the sanctity of human life. Ridiculous laws regarding blasphemy, heresy, and sacrilege have absolutely no place in a free and enlightened society. In place of Zardari’s Marshall Plan, I propose another: that every Pakistani parent spend part of the day teaching their children to love and respect human life in all its confessional, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

  38. MQ says:
    August 2nd, 2009 2:19 pm

    Z A Kidvai, “What’s the color of National Shame?”I read your poem. It’s moving.

  39. Meengla says:
    August 2nd, 2009 5:09 pm

    1) @Wasiq: Beautiful words. A Spiritual Marshall Plan will be more effective in solving Pakistan’s problem than a fiscal Marshall Plan at this time. ‘Eat grass but be more inclusive in your thought processes.’
    2) As @Eidee man says, it sounds absurd that Christians in Pakistan would be stupid enough to provoke an already overly-fundamentalist majority by ‘desecrating’ Muslim holy book.
    3) It looks like preaching to the choir again in this blogspace. Except for @Adnan Siddiqui and or two others most bloggers don’t need to be reminded of the stupidity of the Blasphemy Laws.
    4) The Urdu clipping “Mushtarqia Alamia” (Joint Declaration) in this article with the Chief Minister of Punjab’s name on it is perhaps even worse than the lynch-mobs burning to death a tiny minority. Point #2 in it clearly imply that a Blasphemer is ‘Wajib ul Qatl’ (to be justifiably killed) OUTSIDE of the normal penal code of Pakistan.
    5) Please Punjab and NWFP: Don’t bring your fundamentalist idiologies to the last Sufi stronghold in Pakistan which is the province of Sindh. Once you may had people like Rehman Babas and Bulleh Shahs but that is fast diminishing. Suits Punjab better: They supported or at least were not active enough against Zia–the proto-Taliban–for years and so now is time to ‘reap the whirlwind’.

  40. Adeeba says:
    August 2nd, 2009 5:42 pm

    What an outrage! What is the source of these sentiments? What anger are they channeling towards such destruction? This is bringing jaahiliyyat to a whole new level. How easy it must have been to target a small neighborhood of minorities. To destroy their places of worship, burn them alive. I agree with those who have said this situation must be investigated thoroughly, and all those involved must be punished. But, being realistic, I know that this is difficult, given the fact that this event was allowed to occur in the first place. It means that many were not fulfilling their duties. It also means that (and especially if there was no desecration at all, which is highly likely) there exists, at least in those parts, a dangerous combination: those who are highly adept at manipulation, and those who are easily manipulated. And as long as we allow others to think for us, as long as we allow such petty things to consume our minds, we as a people cannot move forward or perhaps even remain standing.

  41. Murtaza says:
    August 2nd, 2009 7:05 pm

    I wish the government will haul up the mob who did this and give them exemplary punishement to show everyone that we will not tolerate this murder in the name of religion.

    I agree with Adnan that if there is any real proof that Quran was desecrated then let us also make sure that is punished. But, not by a mob.

    As someone said, right now we do not have proof of whether the Quran was disrespected or not, that is just rumor and fasad. But we DO KNOW that these people were killed and their houses burnt. That is a clear crime and needs to be punished first.

  42. Mast says:
    August 2nd, 2009 7:16 pm

    What can I say……IDIOT MULLAHS. Religion must be a personal issue. Watch this great lecture

  43. maskeenel says:
    August 2nd, 2009 10:18 pm

    Christian people should be glad because finally Christianity is coming to Pakistan. Remember rome once found excuses to kill and finish christians in Rome but their plans failed because Rome became Christian. Watch and see how with this persecution, Muslims in Pakistan will accept Christianity because that is how Christians are born.

    So we invite all the muslims to repeat what the Romans did and see how this country changes to Christiasnity. After all how will they hear about Jesus and His followers. This is the only way.

    Christians rejoice because your redemption is neigh that is what Jesus said.

  44. August 2nd, 2009 11:11 pm

    Even if Quran was desecrated, it doesn’t give anyone right to burn someone’s houses and kill people. Islam has never allowed collective punishment. If an individual was involved in such an act, he was be prosecuted by penal law, not on roads.

  45. Adam Insaan says:
    August 3rd, 2009 2:12 am

    First and foremost an apology to the Christian brothers and sisters from the bottom of my heart.

    Secondly is this why Pakistan was created for ?????

    -a humble Adam

  46. BA says:
    August 3rd, 2009 2:40 am

    The intolerance is spreading. Minorities are victim of Jihadi culture. How it can be fixed, no clue. Here is my point of view on this subject:

  47. Iftikhar-ur-Rehman says:
    August 3rd, 2009 5:57 am

    The barbarians who burned 7 people including women and children are not Muslims. They are simply the beasts who in garb of Islam are bent upon destroying this beautiful religion.
    These people should not be allowed to go free but hanged and should be an example of justice.
    I apologize to Christian brothers and sisters of Pakistan for this shameful act of few fundamentalist beasts and the authorities of the town who were playing the proverbial fiddle while Gojra was burning.

  48. arif says:
    August 3rd, 2009 8:50 am

    Gojra incidence is a shame for me as a muslim, and a pakistani. I am deeply sympathetic to the victims(christians) and demand culprits(Muslims) brought to justice according to Islamic/state law i.e. death.

  49. maskeenel says:
    August 3rd, 2009 9:34 am

    Bro. Iftkhar,

    Good choice of words proverbial fiddle and that what is played in all police stations when it comes to muslim Christian violence.

  50. Javed Ismail says:
    August 3rd, 2009 10:11 am

    I just hope that this time we can go beyond simple condemnation.

    Saying we are sad at this and then doing nothing, is liek teh US saying they are sad at civilian deaths but then doing nothing. The test is in our actions.

    As others have said, there is clearly a crime here of murder and arson. Let us make sure that is punished. Citizens must continue raising their voice for this. Lets also please push the supreme court on this.

  51. Frederick Masih says:
    August 3rd, 2009 10:27 am

    Of course this incident has left all of us dejected and heartbroken. But I am heartened by the reactions and comments and ordinary Pakistanis, mostly Muslims, reacting with such compassion. I think that is true for the overall reaction in the country. Maybe the tide is changing. As a Christian who grew up in power, most of my memories of childhood were pleasant and nice. But being a minority anywhere is not easy. I hope this incidence will help all of us Paksitanis to realize that we must do to others what we want for ourselves. Tolerance and goodwill to all.

    Thank you Pakistaniat for speaking so strongly for justice.

  52. Junaid says:
    August 3rd, 2009 11:38 am

    Whatever happened in Gojra is extremely regrettable. Tell me who should be held responsible for this?. Zardari, who ordered immediate inquiry and asked to dispatch heavy contingent of police to the troubled area to in order bring the situation under control or PML-N, which did nothing even two days passed. Is this not the real face of PML-N which always claimed to be secular party but supported Islamic fundamentalists? The atrocities continued for a month and the government of Punjab kept criminal silence. Pakistani media and self pro claimed

  53. Anonymous says:
    August 3rd, 2009 1:03 pm

    Pakistan has long seen Benazir Bhutto and PPP’s commitment to minority rights. Zardari’s own commitment to battling extremists is evident in his dedication to rooting out terrorism. In comparison, it should be noted that Sharif’s Punjab government did nothing for 2 days as Christians were being burnt alive in their homes and the Punjab police stood aside as extremist Sunni Muslims killed these desperately poor Christian sweepers and their families. The President however demanded an immediate investigation on the first day and sent in forces to protect the community and enforce the peace as soon as possible. There is no escaping the wonderful work Zardari has done, no denying the fact that he has acted impeccably in the whole matter.

  54. Wafa Shah says:
    August 3rd, 2009 1:03 pm

    Plz click the link:
    As BBC page adds that the situation turned violent when Muslim protest was passing by the railway line and some people from Chrstian locality opened fire at that. When we are in a debate then we should cee the facts first. The link is below.

  55. Lubna says:
    August 3rd, 2009 10:45 pm

    I salute you for the forceful writeup.

    Unlike much of the main media, I think you have pointed out the issue as it is.

    This is not a question of which party is right. This is a question where most Paksitanis are wrong and by our silence we have let the bigots get a free hand.

  56. Mohammad Waseem says:
    August 3rd, 2009 11:03 pm

    I fear that what will happen, again, is that we will all say that this is so so bad and tehn we will all forget. Until the next time this happens again and we say the same things again.

  57. Parveen says:
    August 4th, 2009 7:58 am

    Yes, all of us have responsibility. We remain silent at these things because they do not effect us. But if you let these murderers do this they will finally also get to you.

  58. Adnan Ahmad says:
    August 4th, 2009 8:49 am

    This is time a clear message needs to be sent by the so called “khadim-e-punjab” Shabaz Sharif or govt. in general. Within weeks the culprits should be caught and punished accordingly. It would be appropriate if they’re punished in public to send a right message.

  59. lida says:
    August 4th, 2009 12:15 pm

    Lets stop talking and do something concrete.

    This website should setup a fund and help out our brethren Christian Pakistanis.

    I will be the first to contribute to this fund.

    Adil and Owais Bhai please do this ASAP.

  60. Imran says:
    August 4th, 2009 1:52 pm

    No doubt, the issue is quite sensitive as well as emotional because a good majority of muslims condemns these type of actions that are far beyond humanity and religion. But, first of all we have to look into the previous history of our country. During the last 30 years, this country has become a good farmland for fanatics and extremists who dont have any respect of others lives. These are the elements who are always in search of some weak community, person or group which they can crush. The most visible example is the Shia community who are by every means muslims, yet they have been tortured for many years. The same situation have been going on with the minorities. This is atime that we must clear our brains from the fancy slogans of jihad and heaven. Any how, the Gojra incident is obviously a well planned and well organized massacre of innocent people. If we dont try to stop these beasts, they would be on our necks.

  61. Propagandaha8er says:
    August 4th, 2009 5:24 pm

    My mom is from this towm Gojra. Unfortunately the town as well as the entire district of TT Singh is socially very backward. There is a tremendous amount of brain drain as educated people do not tend to stick arround. Sadly, this is not only the case in TT Singh alone but it is the story of all Pakistan. Pick your province. I live in the Southern US now and the situation is similar here in the US as well. I am leaning to believe that perhaps religious prejudice is human nature.

    I as a Muslim and knowing that Islam does not allow such things. Unfortunately in rural Pakistan, non Muslims a side, poor Mulims are also persecuted while the authorities stand in spectacle. Nawabs, Sardars, Chowdhries, Khanans, Wadaras etc have political connections and most of the government positions in rural areas are not allocated based on merit but are political to keep the local “kingpin” happy.

    In this particular case, sufering is to show case Christians. Please trust me that my heart cries when a single Pakistani suffers. I can almost hear the cries for help from these people and knowing Gojra, perhaps no one whould have stepped forward to help.

    The situation is same nation wide. Judiciary needs to be free and independent. Only then an ordinary Pakistani can really live and be able to live upto their potential.

    To my Pakistani Christian friends: Please don’t think that we don’t care about you. You, your life, your services, property and security is just as important as anyone elses. I not only strongly condemn it but ask the sever punishments for the perpetrators.


  62. Abdul Hai says:
    August 4th, 2009 8:42 pm

    As others have stated this incident puts all Pakistanis to shame. However, I am tired of all the upper middle class secular Muslims who visit this website. They have jumped on the bandwagon to blame Mullas for every thing. They should look at the root cause. The poor and oppressed who resort to this violence have bben denied basic education and human needs. The feudal lords (zimindars), army generals, and bureaucrats have exploited these people by keeping all the wealth of the country in their hands.

  63. August 5th, 2009 11:42 am

    These Christian faithful have joined the ranks of the early martyrs who were fed to the lions and burnt alive in their homes by brutal romans. My heartfelt sympathies for the families, and prayers that may Allah save us all from the evil of the mullah.

  64. MQ says:
    August 5th, 2009 3:09 pm

    Abdul Hai: Just like you are ” tired of all the upper middle class secular Muslims who visit this website”, one is tired of all those people who, instead of condemning something obviously atrocious, would suggest finding the “root cause” first. Well, if you really want to go to the root cause, then go all the way back to Cain (Kabeel) who murdered the innocent Abel (Habeel), and before that to Adam and Eve who violated God’s order and did what they were not supposed to do.

    Now, how about condemning the Mullahs who instigated the carnage in Gojra?

  65. adeel says:
    August 6th, 2009 2:55 am

    This is just so plain sad and speaks of our society’s moral decay… more specifically the muslim majority part of it.

    There’s a report on BBC Urdu today ( that suggests the Gojra incident could have been exploited by imported terrorists.

    However, the fact remains that because of the penetration of Mullahiat (please notice the term is referring to a mindset – as opposed to sane religiosity) in our society we have been rendered vulnerable. It is easy to incite us to commit violence in the name of religion. A mullah lives in each of us.

    We become incensed at atrocities in Gaza, Kashmir, Afghanistan but are worst sort of hypocrites when something like this comes up. Instead of condemning it, we are finding excuses and alternate stories to cover up the crime.

  66. AHsn says:
    August 6th, 2009 9:30 am

    To explain the carnage of Christian Pakistanis by poor Muslim, Mr Abdul Hai writes:

  67. Tanveer says:
    August 7th, 2009 2:52 pm

    It is now clear that this was a planned action of the Sipah i Sahaba and not a real public action and we must take full account of it and punish the culprits

    really exemplary punishment is needed.

  68. Musalmaan says:
    August 7th, 2009 11:45 pm

    I hope this is a wakeup call for everyone of us. The ugly law on blasphemy allows the worst amongst us to misuse it. Just how insecure are we in our religion that we cannot stand anything, true or conconted against it.

  69. rugger says:
    August 8th, 2009 2:47 am

    @abdul hai

    judging by your utter lack of introspection and poorly thought out excuses to explain away this shame that will forever taunt us…..

    it is safe to say that your moral compass has stopped working completely…I would advise discarding it all together rather than carrying around that ballast!

  70. Sameen says:
    August 8th, 2009 7:09 am

    Before blasphemy law there were no noted blasphemy cases inside or outside country…after blasphemy laws, the focus they have created and the psyche that has developed as a result has caused numerous misdoings in the country, as a result whole world is now indulged in blasphemy in condemnation.

    For me, get rid of these laws and say we mean no harm to anyone and if anyone insults us we’ll be the bigger people and forgive. Only way to restore our reputation.

  71. Talkhaba says:
    August 10th, 2009 2:27 am

    I don’t think that CM has done any thing wrong. The blasphemer deserves the death but CM or the Ulema signing the document hasn’t said that the mob, any person or group or party will give the punishment. Please don

  72. Obaid says:
    August 10th, 2009 1:04 pm

    Najam Sethi, Asma Jahangheer, Ghamdi discuss the issue;

  73. Yamin says:
    August 10th, 2009 8:58 pm

    The most dangerous notion is that somehow only ‘muslims’ are Pakistanis. Until that nonsense is put to rest nothing will change.

  74. Afreen abbas says:
    August 12th, 2009 7:03 am

    We (all Pakistanis) should realise that we are heading towards extremism.Realising a crime is the first step to avoid indulging in any such crime next time so please realise this that we are not allowed to kill any innocent person by are religion . Next thing that we are not allowed to kill any child, woman or aged even in the war. REALISE AND MAKE OTHER REALISE.

  75. Obaid says:
    August 12th, 2009 8:20 pm

    Sherry Rehman on Blasphemy Laws

    Gojra and Pakistan’s identity

    What we have today is a legitimately elected government which has created an anti-extremist, non-sectarian and anti-terrorist consensus. This is one government that can review the blasphemy laws. It is a moment in history that must be seized. Pakistan’s identity may be ambiguous, but it is precisely this space that can be used as an opportunity to steer our fragile nation-hood in another direction.

  76. Watan Aziz says:
    August 13th, 2009 3:17 am
  77. Humair says:
    September 19th, 2009 2:02 am

    This is shameful. As a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country and feeling all the pressures of that in the 9/11 world, I can still say that how non-Muslims treat Muslims in their countries is so much more human than how we Muslims are treating non-Muslims who are actually our own citizens. This blasphemy law is an insult to Islam and Muslims everywhere and it is just the result of Zia playing into the hands of Saudi despots and becoming the puppets of Saudis. Down with Blasphemy laws and down with Saudization of Pakistan.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)