By Sybil Daniel from Lahore:
In August 2009, the mob violence instigated by religious bigots took seven lives and the whole village of Christian minority,Gojra , was set ablaze. This violent act continued for 5 hours and bus-loads of people joined the mob from neighbourhoods with the police backing away. This horrifying violence left religious minorities with the questions _ will it happen elsewhere again? Yes we are trend followers.
On 15th April , Christians residing in Aziz colony and Gulzar colony of Gujranwala district were coerced into flee their homes in order to save their lives. Where Banners were hung cursing Christians and calling them ‘sons of bitches’ It was the time of the year when the Christian community is engrossed in prayer services during lent season. Gujranwala , a city of Punjab province, has witnessed Muslims and Christians living in harmony for decades. It had been a home of more than fifty thousand Christians, head quarter of protestant Christian churches and a prestigious theological seminary which has benefited thousands worldwide.
It practically started when Farrukh Gill was accused of burning a copy of Quran . who was found innocent latter after police investigation. But a mob consisted of Muslim protesters gathered in the streets of Christians colonies as it was announced in the mosque to destroy houses and streets of Christians. The whole incident could end up resulting in another atrocity in a town of Christian minority. But unlike Gojra Police and rangers controlled and dispersed the angry mob, arrested 300 people and a hundred more from their homes latter that night. They didn’t let them do serious harm to lives and stocks. Only few got hurt and a man died of heart failure in a market when he saw the violent mob approaching.
After a few days of tension and unrest in Christian community the real culprit QARI IRFAN QADRI was arrested. Who might have wished to be garlanded by the advocates of the same extremist mindset. Even though the situation is under control but the Christians of Gujranwala fear the passionate hatred of their Muslims neighbors. They still fear that in future militants from neighbor villages will be invited to join the mob.
In Pakistan having different opinion means you are prone to hostility but having different religion means your life is a stake and you are an easy prey.