The Rise of Persecution: A Harrowing Tale Of Blasphemy And Intolerance In Pakistan

Farrukh Saif

May 27, 2024

Rise of Persecution In Pakistan

The persecution of religious minorities, particularly Christians, has reached alarming levels in Pakistan, fueled by a toxic combination of discriminatory laws, societal intolerance, and the government’s failure to protect vulnerable communities. One of the most egregious incidents occurred on August 16, 2023, when a mob attacked a Christian settlement in the Faisalabad district, Punjab province after two members of the community were accused of committing “blasphemy.

Recent Incident: Nazir Masih’s Suffering in Sargodha:

On May 25, 2024, Nazir Masih, a Christian resident of Sargodha, Punjab, became the latest victim of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the growing intolerance towards religious minorities. Masih, a factory owner, was accused of blasphemy by a local resident after a minor altercation.

The accusation quickly sparked outrage among the local Muslim community, and within hours, a mob had gathered outside Masih’s home; they dragged Nazir Masih out of his home and subjected him to a vicious beating, repeatedly kicking him while he lay bleeding on the ground. They showed no regard for his life or human dignity, fueled by false blasphemy claims and religious intolerance.

Local authorities, overwhelmed by the situation, made a lot of efforts to protect Nazir Masih and his family. In this regard, more than 15 police officers were injured.

Blasphemy Laws and Mob Violence:

Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, particularly Section 295-C of the penal code, have been a major source of persecution for religious minorities. These laws carry severe punishments, including the death penalty, and are often misused to settle personal scores or target vulnerable groups. Mere accusations of blasphemy can incite mob violence, as seen in the Sargodha and Faisalabad attacks, where a mob vandalized churches, homes, and a cemetery.

Government Inaction And Extremism:

Despite condemnations from government officials, the Pakistani authorities have consistently failed to protect religious minorities and hold perpetrators of violence accountable. This inaction has emboldened extremist groups, who exploit the country’s blasphemy laws and societal intolerance to target Christians and other minorities with impunity.

The rise of extremism in Pakistan can be attributed, in part, to the short-term policies of the Pakistani establishment, which have historically aligned with and empowered radical Islamic groups for political gains. This has created an environment where extremist ideologies have taken root, making it increasingly difficult for religious minorities to practice their faith freely and live without fear of persecution.

These incidents highlight the failure of the Pakistani government to address the root causes of this issue, including the misuse of blasphemy laws and the unchecked spread of extremist ideologies.

The situation for Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan remains precarious, with the threat of violence and persecution looming large.

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Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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