A Call for Justice
Editor’s Note: Below is a commentary by Xavier William, a journalist and human rights activist based in Islamabad. The following column is an opinion piece and the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the staff and management of the Informer Media Group.
By Xavier William
Khalid Masih 35, a disabled resident of district of Faisalabad, Punjab province in Pakistan cries out for justice, but unfortunately the police and the concerned authorities refuse to investigate or register a case.
On Feb. 2 Kalid Masih was a witness of a trade between Babar Masih and Irshad Gujjar a local business man, the trade was a moped (scooter) in exchange for a horse. This was agreed by both parties and a formal deed was signed to make it official.
But the next day Irshad Gujjar returned furious and claimed that the horse is worth more than the moped, so he demanded more money. Babar Masih left the village with the moped the same day the agreement was signed. Gujjar threatened and threw away his crunches.
On Feb. 6 Irshad Gujjar along his cousin Aslam Gujjar forcefully took Khalid Masih a few miles away from the village, dragged him from the car and stabbed him several times with a knife, injuring his hands and lips, shot his knee caps twice.
Farmers working in the vicinity heard the shots and ran to help the injured. He was rushed to the Civil Hospital in Faisalabad; he was admitted for a few days and was discharged when his condition stabilized, but he still needs attention.
Khalid Masih submitted a formal complaint against the Gujjars, but the police refused to register a complaint or initiate any inquiry. They told him to keep quiet about the matter as he is a Christian, a minority, who doesn’t have a say in anything, Gujjars are influential Muslims, Masih kept on demanding justice from the authorities, but no one heard his cry, his assailants are at large and unpunished.
Life for All team met Khalid Masih, consoled him and pressured the authorities to take notice of the incident and provide relief to the victim. But the authorities refused to take the matter seriously, LFA filed a writ at the session court Faisalabad and demanded immediate action in the matter.
On Feb. 26 the session magistrate issued orders to immediately register a FIR, arrest the culprits and initiate an inquiry against the officers for negligence to duty for not registering a case.
Punjab is a hub of religious discrimination, thousands of Khalid Masih`s are discriminated on daily basis in interior Punjab. Many cases go unreported; it is time to keep a check on the growing religious intolerance. How long will there be a silence on injustice? Will justice be prevailed in this matter?
Xavier William is a journalist / human rights activist based in Islamabad and serves as President of Life for All and President of Masihi Foundation.