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Monday 17 September 2012

Shamim Masih reports on the insecurity felt by residents of Rimsha Masih's home town!

Islamabad, (Shamim Masih): 

Displaced families of the Meharabadi are living under stress and strain. Fear and uncertainty is seen on their faces after the release of Rimsha.

These families want to know why they are being treated so badly. They said; 

"We are Pakistani but we are treated as second class citizens."

Locals have demanded relocation on any piece of land away from where they are.  They want to live in peace again and to be able to conduct their religious practices without fear or intimidation. Over 250 families are leading a very  miserable life we are told.


The victim was a 14-year-old Christian girl, Rimsha, who is believed to suffer from Down’s syndrome. She was stopped by  a Muslim man, Malik Ummad (22 years) who claimed that half-burned remnants of a book that allegedly included verses from the Quran were in her carrier bag. He told the local imam, who called the police and coerced them to make an arrest.  Rimsha remained imprisoned for approximately a month.

Bail is not normally granted in blasphemy cases, but on 8 September Rimsha was freed on bail, and a military helicopter lifted her out of the prison yard and into hiding.

Displaced Families:

During the proceeding of the Rimsha case affected families from her town, fled their homes to prevent being attacked by the large mob that was stoning their small enclave. They went into forest in G-9, where Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Farkhad Iqbal, granted permission to settle down there for  a few months. Due to interference of  local Police and residents they had to relocate again to the homes of friends and relatives.

After the release of Rimsha, I went in search of displaced families, after two days struggle, I reached  families in Mehrabadi.

During the search I went to the jungle in G-9, where I found a bulldozer, had knocked down the make shift homes made by villagers, by cutting down trees. There I also found the Malik Mehbood, (President of local trade union of Taqwa Market, G-9/4), he said; 

"On 26th August, 400 people including men, women and children reached here to settle down in the forest, but with the help of police and local residents, we beat them and have kept them out!" 

He added;

"On 28th August, they blocked the road in protest, we warned them not to return or to suffer the consequences.”

With some research I discovered some families had settled in H-9. I moved towards H-9 with my team, (Azhar Jatoi, chief reporter Rohi TV, and Habib Sheikh Camera man), crossing the forest, I saw tents there.

Residents of H-9 told us that people are forced to keep changing their positions, some of them have settled down in different colonies and the rest have returned Meharbadi. They provided us with phone numbers which we contacted and decided to visit them the next day.  When we met it was very evident that they were consumed with fear and anxiety.

BOOTA MASIH, 48 years, father of 5 children said; 

"When this incident happened, I took my family and escaped around midnight, when it was darkest.  Until now the situation is still tenuous, even though we are back!"

SAJID MASIH, works in motor workshop, he said; 

"During that night we ran for our life and stayed in H-9 area, within tents.  We ended up staying for a few days until we felt the situation was calmer.  We are back now but we do not feel safe."


"We are back in the town but are aware of the mentality of the people. They are feudal minded people and want us to roll over. Our children cannot go to school since this incident happened they will fall behind in their education.  It is always the weak that suffer!"


"The situation during Rimsha's arrest was so severe that we had to run for our lives.  When we returned we couldn’t lock our doors properly and on return,found that our gold and other items were missing.  Who will compensate us for our losses?  Our lives our shattered!"

Now Rimsha is released it was expected that the atmosphere in her village would return to normal, on the contrary violence and threats seem to be increasing and people are living under great intimidation.

Older boys do not want to go to school they feel pressured into staying at home to watch their families.  They are very concerned about leaving their families alone.
 This pressure on our young men is very demoralizing and will create long term resentment.

The BPCA will be using donations received for Rimsha to protect and feed these families who have been forgotten by Pakistani authorities.  If you would like to contribute please use the details below:

If you would like to contribute to our "Rimsha Masih Fund" (Please apply the fund name as a reference) please use the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog.  You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;

British Pakistani Christian Association.

Post to;

British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
IG1 1XG 

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 

Sort Code: 20-67-90 

Account Number: 63468976

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