Christians in Sargodha Worried as Third Blasphemy Incident Sparks Unrest

Sargodha, July 16th - The district of Sargodha was once again struck by a disturbing blasphemy incident in Chak no 50, Mariam Town, causing fear and unrest among its Christian population. This latest incident, occurring within a month, has raised serious concerns about the safety of Christians in the area.

According to reports Mohd Abdul Gaffar, a retired Pakistan Air Force officer, resident of Green Town, early morning when he was returning from Fajr prayer, accompanied by Qari Muhammad Asif, Imam of the local Mosque Gulzar Habib of Green Town, and Ashfaq Ahmad, he found a small pamphlet on his house boundary wall containing blasphemous content. The pamphlet not only showing disrespect against revered figures, but also included derogatory comments about the Holy Quran. Shockingly, it even praised the recent Quran-burning incident in Sweden. Disturbing sketches depicting revered personalities were also found, adding to the gravity of the situation.

News of the incident quickly spread, drawing a crowd from far and wide to the location. The angry mob demanded severe punishment for the blasphemer, chanting slogans advocating gustakh-e-Rasool ki ek hi saza, sar tan se juda sar tan se juda" the separation of the head from the body as the only punishment. Tensions continued to escalate, leading to roadblocks and demands for immediate action and the registration of a case against the perpetrator. The timely intervention of the police helped restore calm and control the situation. In compliance with the Muslim community's request, an FIR was registered against unknown individuals under blasphemy sections 295A, 295B, 295C, and 298A. 

It is crucial to note that there are several Christian towns in the neighbouring areas, with an estimated population of 400-5000 Christians. Although the police intervention prevented an immediate attack on Christians, the community remains afraid. This incident marks the third case of blasphemy in the Sargodha district, heightening concerns among the Christian population.

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, an ex-MPA and local resident, expressed a sense of relief at the police's prompt response. However, he emphasized that Christians continue to live in fear due to the recurring incidents of blasphemy in the district. Just weeks ago, Haroon Shahzad, a Christian man from Chak no 49, had his bail revoked after posting objectionable content on Facebook. In another case within Sargodha district, Chak no 98, Zaki Masih, another Christian, was arrested under blasphemy law under section 295A for allegedly posting blasphemous content.

The identity of the perpetrators behind the recent incident remains unknown, although some Muslims believe Christians may be responsible. However, it is essential to recognize that Christians have consistently condemned blasphemy acts and have stood in solidarity with their Muslim brethren. 

Christians still remember tragic incidents and the loss they suffered in the past, including attacks on Christian towns such as Shanti Nagar, Joseph Colony, Gojra, and Korain, resulting in loss of life and destruction, illustrate the grave consequences faced by the Christian community.

The situation deepens concerns, demanding a serious response from the government to restore peace and harmony in the country. The ongoing misuse of blasphemy laws against Christians and other religious minorities needs immediate attention, ensuring the safety and protection of all citizens.