Elvis Steven says that Christians frequently are afraid to contact the police about crimes because some police accept bribes from Islamists or are sympathetic to their cause. Other times they are just indifferent to the plight of Christians. Such was true when a group of Muslim youths shot and killed two Christians outside The Salvation Army church in Hyderabad, Sindh Province on March 21, 2011.
Young Muslim men had gathered outside the church hall where The Salvation Army was celebrating its 30th anniversary. They were playing loud music and verbally abusing the Christian women coming to the worship service. Some of the Christian men came outside and asked the young men to have respect for the church service and the women. Steven says that this “infuriated” the Muslims who left, but returned with weapons and “opened fire on the Christian worshipers” when they were leaving after the service. Younis Masih, 47, and Jameel Masih, 22, were killed instantly. Siddique Masih, 45, and a 20 year-old identified as only “Waseem” were seriously injured.
Jameel’s mother, Surraya Bibi, said that the attitude of the local police had exacerbated the Christians’ sorrow. “The police acted as if it was not important,” she exclaimed. The police refused to file a report on the case until the Christians blocked the main road of Hyderabad with the bodies of the two men for several hours.
Another tragic murder in Karachi involved the police. The body of Waqas Masih, a 16 year-old Christian boy from the Aktar Colony, Mahmoodabad neighborhood of Karachi, was retrieved from a drain canal in Kashmir Colony on July 9, 2011. He had been shot in the heart and sexually assaulted. The Pakistan Christian Post reported that Waqas was the victim of a group of Muslim men, including a police constable, Mohammad Amir Butt, that had been abducting and forcibly sodomizing young Christian boys for years, modeling the despicable sexual slavery of young boys practiced by Muslim men in Afghanistan, “Bacha Bazi.” The Post revealed that because of the complicity of police in the widespread sexual abuse, the Mahmoodabad Police Station registers such crimes as this reported by Christians, but later forces them to withdraw the cases or to compromise with the Muslim perpetrators. According to The News International, residents said that “Waqas’s body was the fifth abused corpse to be retrieved from the Kashir Colony Nullah in recent times.”
Christians, marginalized by the Muslim majority and lacking in representation within their own government, are powerless to defend themselves against these attacks. They are easy targets for those who do not see them as equal human beings, deserving of the same rights as Muslims. Elvis Stevens says that southern Pakistan’s Christians seem to be neglected and abandoned even by Christian mission and relief groups working in Pakistan. Most international ministries and human rights organizations have focused on northern Pakistan, perhaps believing that southern Pakistan’s Christians were not suffering as much as Christians in the north of the country. That is no longer true, if it ever was. The Christians of Karachi desperately need assistance in the face of this Talibanization of southern Pakistan.
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