Radical Islamists attack Christians soon after general elections in Pakistan

minority attacked
Christian family from Sahiwal: (Photo: X)

In the aftermath of the recently concluded elections in Pakistan, Sahiwal witnesses a disturbing surge in violence and persecution, particularly targeting the Christian community. Reports emanating from Chak 6-11-L, neighboring Sahiwal Harappa, suggest that the Christians have been attacked by local Islamists, marking a distressing turn of events following the election results.

Arshad Masih, a 55-year-old resident, recounts the troubling sequence of events that unfolded. What began as a confrontation against his son, Ansar Gill, 30, by supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for his PML-N vote, escalated into a violent episode as PML-N candidates Rana Riaz and Mian Ashraf celebrated their victory.

The situation took a drastic turn on February 12, around 2 am, when a group of assailants, comprising both local individuals and unidentified attackers, attacked Christian homes in retaliation for the election outcomes. Shockingly, the assailants employed petrol bombs and firearms, specifically targeting the residences of key community figures, including Pastor Hashmat Masih and Tahir Gill.

Attack on Pastor

The first target was Pastor Hashmat Masih’s residence, where he and his family narrowly escaped harm. The assailants then turned to Tahir Gill’s home, resulting in the destruction of his rickshaw through a petrol bomb. The third victim was Shoukat Gill, whose home sustained gunfire damage. Adding to the complexity of the situation, the attackers have further complicated matters by filing a First Information Report (FIR) against the Christian community.

In an area with approximately 100 Christian households amid 1400 Muslim residences, where many Christians work as laborers, concerns for the already vulnerable minority community in Pakistan have intensified. The election-related violence exacerbates anxieties about the security of the Christian community, echoing echoes of the Jaranwala incident a few months ago, where Christian churches and homes were targeted.

As authorities investigate this distressing episode, urgent calls for prompt action resonate to ensure the safety and protection of the Christian community in Sahiwal. The rising tensions within the region demand a swift response to address the alarming escalation of sectarian violence.

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