ASIA/PAKISTAN - Crimes based on religious discrimination cannot go unpunished

Wednesday, 8 July 2020 religious minorities   religious freedom   human rights   violence   extremism   discrimination  

Peshawar (Agenzia Fides) - "All the residents on this street are Muslims and they do not want Christians to live here: this is what the attackers said to my husband and us; since we did not succumb to those pressures, they started to create problems and threaten us. One day they attacked my husband Nadeem Joseph, beat him, dragged him on the street after shooting him with a Kalashnikov rifle": this is what was reported to Agenzia Fides by Shaheen Joseph, Nadeem Joseph’s wife, the Christian killed in Peshawar for refusing to abandon a house he had regularly purchased, in a neighborhood where, according to some residents, Christians are unwanted (see Fides, 12/6/2020, 2/7/2020 and 8/7/2020).
The widow reports that, in these days, her family members have been again threatened and attacked. And she says: "I am powerless and seeking justice, but I also think: what justice will I get? Nobody can give my husband back. My mother and brother are still recovering from their wounds. They had left the house to try to help Nadeem and one of the bullets hit my mother in the shoulder. My children and I have lived in fear since that day".
Ecclesial groups, civil society groups and NGOs that promote human rights are organizing peaceful protests and demonstrations in several cities of Pakistan after the death of Nadeem Joseph. The Christian, Liaquat Munawar, president of the NGO "Mission and action for social services" (MASS), who in recent days organized a protest in Karachi, reports in a message to Fides: "We condemn this attack on the Christian family and demand a severe punishment for the attackers. We ask for two First Information Reports against the killers to be officially registered, and that the government of Pakistan to get involved, because what happened is an act contrary to the Constitution of Pakistan. Such religious discrimination cannot go unpunished: only in this way can crimes of this kind be discouraged and stopped". (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 8/7/2020)