Christians forced to leave because a Christian married a Muslim woman.
This event is happening as little was two weeks after the atrocious crime wherein a Christian couple was burned in a brick kiln by a Muslim mob. The couple had been working there when they were accused of blasphemy; a crime they did not commit. The Punjab has once again become the scene for a new tragedy.
All of the Christian families in one of the villages of the Sahiwal region were forced to flee from their homes due to these threats from Muslims. They condemned one of the Christians for getting married to someone from their group. ‘Abid Masih, a friend of the couple, revealed to Press Trust of India news agency on the 13th of November that, “They were married in October and once the Muslims in the village learned of the marriage they demanded that the young woman be returned or we would bear the consequences.”
Prohibited by Islamic Law
The names of the newly married couple are Shahab Masih and Ruksana Kosar, who is in her twenties. They no longer live in the village where the young woman was raised. They now live in the Khanewal region, which is where the young Christian man lived. The future couple met in the village of Sahiwal, where Shahab frequently traveled to visit his family.
When the news of the marriage was learned, the Muslims in Sahiwal attacked Shahab’s family as well as other Christian families in the village. The Muslims demanded that Ruksana be returned immediately, according to Sharia which prohibits Muslim women from marrying a man from another religion.
In this regard ‘Abid clarified saying, “We told them that Shahab is now living in Khanewal with his wife and that it would be better for them to go and discuss the matter with him there. However, they would not listen. Then, the Muslim woman’s father Jamil Hussein proceeded to file a complaint with the Shahkot police, accusing Shahab and two of his family members with kidnapping. Meanwhile, the entire Muslim community was threatening to kill Shahab’s father and all of the village’s Christians.
The Police provided no assistance
The Christians’ pleas for help from the local police were all in vain. In light of this fact, the nine Christian families living in Sahiwal (approximately 25 people) were forced to flee during the night leaving their homes and jobs. The Investigator, Muhammad Riyad from the Shahkot police defended himself by saying, “We have not arrested anyone yet due to the sensitive nature of this case. We will not take any further steps before undergoing a thorough investigation.”
Without shelter and resources
This is the third time during the past few weeks that Christian families in the Punjab have been forced to leave their village because of Muslims. Two other cases occurred in the areas of Sargodha and Narowal. Meanwhile, Aslam Sahoutra, leader and president of the Humanitarian Liberation Front of Pakistan, condemned these recent incidents. Furthermore, he demanded that the Punjab provincial president, Shahbaz Sharif ensure that families can return to their villages with police protection. They have been left destitute since being forced from their homes and villages.
Likewise, other human rights activists protested and condemned this recent incident. They renewed their complaint that “members of the Muslim community are immune from all prosecution, yet there is a complete absence of protection for Christians.”
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