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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Memories and echoes of past injustice - and present fears

Two old incidents have recently reared their ugly heads again. The first case is that of Arfan Gill, a Christian shopkeeper who in 2007 was falsely accused of burning pages from the Koran and was rescued from a mob by the skin of his teeth after being beaten unconscious and his shop burned to the ground. He has been in hiding ever since. Muslim extremists are still searching for him, and in July of this year, because they couldn't find him, they attacked his brothers wife, causing her to have a miscarriage.

The second incident is the infamous Gojra incident, where in 2009 hundreds of Islamic extremists attacked a Christian section of Gojra, claiming that they had burned pages of the Koran at a wedding. The extremists, mainly from a group in North Waziristan who were linked to Al Qaeda, were brought in by bus and truck, and set a number of churches and houses on fire, burning 8 Christians alive in their home and killing several others. All 70 suspects who still remained have been acquitted due to lack of evidence and witnesses.. Other suspects had been released earlier by the police, and local Christians believe this was due to political pressure. There were 185 witnesses, but many of them, especially Christian witnesses, have withdrawn, due to pressures placed on them. At least one family has fled to Sri Lanka. Others have left the city for good.
In addition, 4 years after the incident, despite government promises to rebuild all the affected properties, a number of houses and buildings destroyed in that attack and another one in the nearby village of Korian, remain incomplete


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