The Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops' Conference, in a report sent to Fides, affirms: “Regarding respect for the human rights of religious minorities, in many cases, as in the clamorous case of Gojra last year, there is clear evidence of negligence on the part of the police and civil administration, especially concerning the duty to prevent attacks on Christians, despite information received and imminent danger”.
Many NGOs have condemned the event in Faisalabad, noting negligence on the part of the police force and civil authorities. According to Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the root of the problem is political: “The government in Punjab, the Pakistan Muslim League, is known for its conciliative attitude towards even outlawed militant Islamic organisations. Before provincial elections in 2009 the government released several extremist leaders from prison. The brother of the first minister of Punjab is a member of a militant organisation which promotes and diffuses violence”.
AHRC also notes that to be valid a report for “blasphemy”, must be registered by a Police Superintendent, not just an ordinary policeman as in the case of the Emanuel brothers. This means from the beginning there was an error on the part of the police, which ceded to pressure by extremists.
In a statement sent to Fides, another NGO, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, calls on the government to “stop impunity for those who commit violence against minorities”, and remarks: “It is scandalous that the assassins managed to escape. Furthermore what happened was neither unpredictable nor inevitable”, and “no effective measures were taken to prevent the preachers of hatred in Waris pura mosques from inciting the crowds to violence– like those last year in Gojra ”.
Pressure from civil society has shaken national leaders: Pakistan's President Ali Zardari officially requested the Punjab civil authorities to “take decisive action to arrest those responsible as quickly as possible”, expressing solidarity to the families of the two murdered brothers and calling on the provincial government to offer adequate compensation to the bereaved family. The President of the High Courts of Justice in Lahore, Khwaja Muhammad Sharif, of his own initiative has called the chief of police in Faisalabad to his office to give a detailed report on the case. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/7/2010)
Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides) – Christians in Faisalabad, besides police, social and religious organisations have announced that they will observe seven days of mourning for the two Christian brothers murdered two days ago, “ innocent victims of anti-Christian hatred ”. “We will organise special prayers for peace in every church and meetings to reactivate interreligious dialogue ”, Fides learned from Fr. Aftab James Paul, head of the Faisalabad diocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue, noting that “fear, grief, anger and disappointment reign among the people”.
“We are intensifying attempts to dialogue with Muslim religious leaders. Interreligious dialogue, before these tragic events, was advanced in Faisalabad. I think extremist groups spread blasphemous material blaming Christians and killed the two men, precisely to undermine the basis of dialogue and harmony. Today we are comforted to see many Muslims come to our churches to express sadness and solidarity ” Fr. Aftab told Fides.
“We call on the government to make a careful investigation into the events and find the perpetrators and those behind them. The police in this case was negligent: it should have protect the arrested Christians”.
Francis Mehboob Sada, Director of Rawalpindi Christian Study Centre told Fides: “Not even a madman would put his name, address and telephone number on a leaflet with such blasphemous words. This is the work of people who want to provoke violence. All over the country extremist groups stir up interreligious conflict to destroy peace and harmony. They must be unmasked and stopped ”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/7/2010)