Two Christian brothers murdered in court rooms
Rashid Emmanuel and Sajid Emmanuel of Daud Nagar Faisalabad, the two brothers arrested July 2nd under false accusations of blasphemy, were today murdered in district courts by ‘an unknown person’.
What a great loss! Sad and telling. A hurtful provocation.
This senseless double murder has caused deep sorrow to the family and friends of Rashid and Sajid, and to all of us who were hoping for their release after a fair trial.
Rashid and Sajid were not allowed to stand trial because the blasphemy case against them was propped up by extreme right wingers on the basis of ‘doctored’ evidence. Those religious fanatics had made their intentions clear in public gatherings in the past week where ‘Muslim leaders from various religious political parties, among them Khatme-e-Nabowat, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan and Namoos-e-Risalat reportedly reiterated death threats against the brothers, because the government had not sentenced them to death. We are told that among the speakers were Sahibzada Abulkhair Mahumed Zubair and Syed Hidayat Hussain Shah, who are known for inciting violence in the area. At the meeting it was announced that a set of gallows had been set up at the tower of Ghanta Ghar (in the centre of Faisalabad), in preparation for the hanging of blasphemous Christians.’ Asian Human Rights Commission, Urgent Appeals, July 14, 2010
The fact that Sajid and Rashid were murdered inside the court rooms is yet another slap of supremacy thrown on the face of the government of Pakistan, and at the same time, on its peace-loving people who are struggling to develop a more secular and democratic environment where citizens’ basic human rights are protected.
Details are not available at this time except for the following information that came as part of another message from Labour Party Pakistan (LPP).
‘Police today also failed to protect the two Christian brothers falsely accused of blasphemy. Both were murdered today in district courts by an unknown person. There has been a violent reaction to these murders by the Christian youth. In retaliation, Muslims youth are also attacking Waris Pura area where the majority is Christians. At the time of writing this report, there are reports of cross firing in Waris Pura.’ (firstname.lastname@example.org in ‘Strike to go ahead despite the ban and threats’)
The murders have taken place in a situation where a ‘strategic dialogue’ is taking place with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Islamabad (Pak-US strategic dialogue to enhance bilateral ties: Gilani), and there are various reports of violence and unrest. Intelligence reports reveal that ‘terrorists have planned to attack Pakistan Air Force bases and landing strips across the country, as well as women’s educational institutions in Lahore and Rawalpindi.’ (Reports warn of attacks on PAF bases, women’s institutes ). In the last 24 hours, people have come out to protest their living conditions, for example against load-shedding (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), and against torture by Rangers (Kasur and area). Workers are protesting and are on strike in various cities for better pay and working conditions. There were riots in different parts of Karachi over ‘water and power’. A suicide attack on an imambargah in Sargodha injured 15 Shia worshippers. Earlier, there were attacks on Ahmadi Muslims, and on the shrine of Data Sahib, a Sunni Muslim Saint.
In this violent wave, the unjust and political killings of Rashid and Sajid are a cruel mistake that may cost a lot more innocent lives.
To pay respects, for more information and to give support, contact
Atif J. Pagaan at Pakistan Minorities Democratic Harmony Foundation