A report from Shamim Masih in Lahore reproduced verbatim:
A man protest by painting his face with soil - expressing the insult he feels in being treated like mud!
Christian women put aside cultural limitations on their behaviour to shout slogans against the Minister of Minorities Paul Bhatti.
Nearly every villager from Rimsha's community joined in solidarity in opposition to the manner in which the Government has ignored their plight!
Shamim Masih uncovers questioned residents on why they were protesting.
Women and men spoke out in condemnation of the broken promises made by senior government figures!
A large banner calls for the resignation of Paul Bhatti unelected Minister for National Harmony!
Viallagers full of determination and pride challenged the indignity of their treatment!
Learn about the BPCA's Aid distribution to Rimsha's villagers here:
Islamabad Pakistan, (Shamim Masih):
Islamabad Pakistan, (Shamim Masih):
Displaced families of Rimsha case held protest rally calling for the resignation of Dr. Paul Bhatti, Chairman All Pakistan Minority Alliance (APMA) and advisor to the President of Pakistan 18th September 2012.
The protesters started the rally from St. Thomas Church, Blue Area to Green Towers Blue Area office of the minister in-charge of National Harmony Islamabad. They claimed that chairman APMA had dishonestly gathered huge funds on the name of Rimsha case but didn’t deliver.
On 16th August, 2012, Rimsha Maish a Christian girl of 14 years was arrested for a blasphemy. An angry mob then attacked hundreds of Christian homes in her village. Most of the affected families had to flee their homes at midnight, to prevent themselves being killed. Since then hundreds of the same families on returning to their village are left feeling anxious and fearful, as Government assurances of protection fail to materialise.
Earlier today (18th Sept) these displaced families held a protest rally and demanded a substitute place for living. According to many protesters questioned today, they were promised a safe place to relocate and compensation by the incumbent Minister for National Harmony - Dr. Paul Bhatti.
Since the original protest neither the Chairman of APMA nor his representative has contacted them. A local man siad;
"We have become aware that APMA arranged fund raising events in different countries for their rehabilitation, but has failed to deliver any assistance to us. We want the whole world to know!"
Protesters were holding banners and were calling for Mr Bhatti's resignation. Hundreds of men, woman and children undertook a sit in protest outside the National Harmony ministry building. Despite loud remonstrations and several requests for Mr Bhatti to answer their questions, he failed to show up.
Aster Bibi, 36 years, said;
"These people are selling my household goods and buying food stuff for my children!"
Waris Masih, a resident of Mehrabadi for three years, said;
"Due to this incident my family is totally disturbed - we have not been able to sleep peacefully since then. We could hardly manage to find one meal a day"
Baba Sajin said;
"son, we live in pathetic situation."
Arif John said;
"Minister saab (sir) had promised to provide us a piece of land and provision of food until the situation has calmed."
The Minister of National Harmony didn’t come out of his office remained in his office for the duration of the protest. When contacted by Shamim Masih by telephone Minister Bhatti said;
"I have done a lot for them, even my brother has given his life for the sake of community. They were just trying to blackmail me - I am not answerable to them! This rally is preplanned against me."
"I will unveil their faces very soon!" he added
Wilson Chowdhry commented;
"News of such corruption will be embarrassing for Pakistan no doubt, however Paul Bhatti was not elected but simply chosen beacuse of his relationship to deceased former Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti. That nepotistic decision, caused much ire amongst the global Pakistani Christian community. If this report is true the angst and schism was justified and President Zardari should admit his mistake, remove Paul Bhatti from position and allow an appropriate election." No Minister should be above the law!"