Gujranwala a city coming to terms with recent societal breakdown.
In recent weeks extremist and conservative Islamists have created great terror amongst the Christians of Gujranwala, articulating hatred towards the longstanding Christian community in zealous protests and stoning of Christian homes and buildings.. Many Christian's fled the city fearing a repeat of the Gojra attacks of 2009, in which a Christian community saw their homes and belonging set ablaze before them.
The situation erupted after a purported Quran burning incident and produced blasphemous notes were blamed on a Christian Banker and his father. It has recently been revealed that the Quran burning blasphemy were created by a Muslim man with an enmity towards the two individuals and the Christian community in general.
A Mr Irfan Qadri has admitted guilt and has been arrested as a consequence of his actions and our informant in Pakistan has told us that for his crime he has been charged under Section 295c of the Pakistan Penal Code, but thus far other named suspects have escaped justice. This particular statute is one of the infamous blasphemy laws of Pakistan and could result in a life sentence or death for the perpetrator of the heinous crime, that has caused immense fear to thousands of people and has eroded a formerly peaceful coexistence of people of diverse faiths.
On Tuesday our informant said;
"Wilson bhai. I don't have much info but as in the morning when i went to seminary there i got the news that QARI IRFAN QADRI has been arrested and investigated by police last night. he has admitted that he was mastermind of all these going on's since 14 April, he was the one who framed Mushtaq and Farrkah Gill....
he had trained two kids who put the burnt pages both times i.e on 14th april and than on 30th April."
Mr Qadri is said to be married to a Christian woman and to hold personal issues with the Gill family and be enacting the Blasphemy law on them through the contrived scheme, involving an actual Quran burning, he intended to settle this personal vendetta.
The scale and intensity of hatred towards the Christian community intensified when a Reverend Eric stood up for the Christian community stating that Christians should protect themselves with guns if threatened. Much of his anguish for his community was from a deep felt belief that the situation would implode and become a second Gojra. Mr Qadri then redirected his hate campaign towards Reverend Eric and his colleagues Mr Anwer Khokher and Elder Ejaz Masih, in an attempt to stew more aggression towards the local Christian Community.
Since the recent exposure of the true perpetrator of the Quran burning the Islamic community have tried to reify peace within Gujranwala. Meetings have been held between the two communities in the presence of the Police. Our correspondent informed us today of the reintroduced solidarity in Pakistan;
"..a Rally was organised by a brotherly alliance of Christian and Muslim leaders of Gujranwala and it was heard that Amam of Shahi Mosque of Lahore was also present there. They walked in the streets of Aziz and Gulzar Colony for the sake of unity and brotherhood among people."
Concern has been raised over the failure by the Police to release Elder Mushtaq Gill and Farrkah Gill along with Rev.Eric, Elder Ejaz, Anwer Khokhar and other incarcerated Christians.
It is still unsure whether a Mr Irfan Shahib a cohort of Mr Qadri has been nominated under 295c of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Christian community feel that Pakistani Media should be informed of the incident and the outcome, as it highlights the good nature of Christians in Pakistan, rather than the intentionally subversive local media articles that were angled to demonise views on local Christians.
Our correspondent felt disappointed that the local Muslim community leaders that came out and vehemently protested against the Gujranwala Christians have not issued a formal apology. Houses and important buildings such as colleges and churches have been damaged. Moreover the use of abusive language and vituperation has left a sour taste with the beleaguered Christian community.
It is alleged that a number of attempts to free Mr Qadri and to remove charges against him have been made by local Islamic Clerics, intent on saving him from prosecution and endeavouring to lay blame on individuals outside the city. Christian's are fearful that a known inciter of hatred may be freed and as such that a similar programme of animosity to their community could be reorganised.
Calls for a renaming of Aziz Colony to Aman (Peace) Colony have become very vociferous and have been led by lad Muslim Voices. They have specifically requested that the location at which Christians and Muslims united in solidarity be renamed Aman (peace) Chowk. a Chowk is a major road junction with a series of potential routes.
Last night a peace committee met in Aziz (Aman) only one Christian person was invited to speak. Our correspondent informed us of his disgust when a mother of some Muslim men under custody, implicated in the recent Quran burning incident made a very volatile statement. He commented;
"A Muslim lady whose sons were in custody claimed that it wasn't wrong if people had expressed their anger on their Christian BROTHERS and they will continue to do so in future."
He further commented on the radicalised conspiracy theory being set by a leading local Muslim cleric:
"One Maulana Shahib said that Christians are their brothers, their friends and fellow Pakistanis and Qari Irfan hasn't done anything as it is a conspiracy to divide people by Raw, Mausaad, Khad
Our correspondent informs us that no mention was made of the Christians who are still under custody and he is concerned that some reports are stating that Police, are still investigating them.