Home Equality & Justice Rights group calls for justice for 76-year-old Christian in Pakistan

Rights group calls for justice for 76-year-old Christian in Pakistan

The death of 76-year-old Christian man Nazir Masih has sparked outrage and mourning across Pakistan following his lynching by a mob on May 25 in Sargodha, a city 150 miles south of the capital Islamabad. 

Minority Concern, a rights organization advocating for minorities, has called for justice.

Nazir Masih succumbed to his injuries this morning at the Combined Military Hospital in Rawalpindi after being brutally attacked by a Muslim mob. 

The violence erupted over allegations that Masih had desecrated the Holy Quran. Reports indicate that approximately 2,000 individuals participated in the attack, which also targeted Christian residences and Masih’s shoe factory, setting them ablaze and resulting in significant property damage.

The police, who attempted to intervene, faced violence themselves, with 11 officers reported injured, some seriously. Despite these challenges, law enforcement was able to rescue 10 Christians, safeguarding them from further harm.

Minority Concern revealed that the mob was incited by members of the hardliner Islamic organization Lashkar-e-Labak Pakistan (LLP), known for its aggressive stance against Christians. 

The same group was implicated in previous attacks on Christian communities, including an incident in Jaranwala town in August 2023 where churches and homes were destroyed.

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“The situation reflects a broader issue within Pakistan, where blasphemy accusations, particularly against Christians, have frequently led to mob violence and persecution,” said Aftab Alexander Mughal, Director of Minority Concern. 

“This is not just about Nazir Masih; it’s about the safety and dignity of an entire community under threat,” he added.

In response to this ongoing crisis, Minority Concern has laid out several urgent actions. The group urged the government to immediately prosecute those responsible for Masih’s murder and discuss the Sargodha attack in parliament to develop a comprehensive safety plan for Pakistani Christians.

“The growing militancy and intolerance in society must be addressed urgently by the state,” Mughal emphasized.

The group also suggested the police undergo specialized training to handle blasphemy accusations and protect innocent citizens effectively.

It demanded the state enact legal and administrative measures to counter mob violence and enhance social cohesion.

Minority Concern said militant groups like LLP should be banned, and their activities closely monitored as these organizations are often behind the blasphemy allegations against Christians.

“Blasphemy laws, as they stand, are open to abuse and must be repealed. A high-level committee should be established in each district to investigate blasphemy allegations before filing an FIR,” Mughal said.

Church authorities should act swiftly to provide guidance and factual information in any incident against Christians to mitigate misinformation and disinformation, the group added. 

As Mas and his family prepare for his burial back in Sargodha today, the nation’s Christian community continues to hold peaceful protest rallies, calling for an end to religiously motivated attacks and for a more inclusive and secure society.

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