LEAD concerns for protection and safety of Christian prisoners in Pakistan
LAHORE: December 12, 2017. (PCP) Reportedly, a Christian prisoner, Indryas Gulaam, died in jail because he was not provided proper medical assistance according to jail menu just because his Christian faith and now another Christian prisoner, Usman Shaukat (29) was died mysteriously in the Punjab police custody in jail among 44 falsely implicated in Youhanabad church blast. But jail administration explained that he was died of heart attack. Usman left behind him a widow and two young children.
It was also reported that Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra Chairman of Masiha Millat Party was also very sick in jail who was arrested during protest after a twin suicide attacks during Sunday service on March 15, 2015 near Saint John Catholic Church and Christ Church in Youhanabad area in Lahore claimed 15 lives. In this incident there were 70 people who got injured. The ceremony included more than 500 people.
Over one hundred Christian protesters were arrested and charged under anti-terror laws. They were kept in Kot Lakhpat Jail and they were offered to be released if they would embrace Islam.
Christian community put question to the Government of Pakistan that if the culprits of Tehreek-e-Labaik who created unrest all over Pakistan, damaged the government and private properties, killed and injured police officers and innocent persons, released by the Chief Minister of Punjab and Federal Government of Pakistan then why Christian prisoners could not be released?
If Pakistani are given equal rights then why the government do not release innocent Christians and why the Christian prisoners are being offered to embrace Islam by deputy attorney general of Punjab government in order to get freedom?
LEAD has much concern for Asia Bibi, who was accused of committing blasphemy by her co-workers back in 2009. Later on, in 2010, a court in district Nankana awarded her capital punishment, which was later challenged and upheld by a two-member bench of Lahore High Court in 2014. Her appeal case is currently pending with the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Asia Bibi’s quandary lingers along due to unwarranted delay. The case continues to be postponed due to the problems of this country particularly the pressure of Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan who vows to continue the legacy of Mumtaz Qadri, who was hanged in February 2016 for murdering Salman Taseer, a governor of Pakistan's eastern Punjab province. Qadri shot Taseer 28 times in broad daylight in Islamabad on January 4, 2011, and was sentenced to death in October the same year. Qadri said he had murdered the former governor for his efforts to amend the country's blasphemy laws.
LEAD urges authority of Pakistan to provide speedy justice and security to Asia Bibi who was falsely implicated in blasphemy case and sentenced to death by courts and also provide proper protection and justice to Christian Prisoners. It is requested for prayers for prisoners and persecuted Christians in Pakistan.