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Pakistan: Human rights activist and Christian rights defender, Mr Sardar Mushtaq Gill tells Voice of the Persecuted that he received new death threats as a result of him defending Pakistani Christians, his campaign activities against blasphemy laws, the mistreatment of Pakistani Christians and standing to secure their rights in Pakistan.
Sardar Mushtaq Gill is the National Director of Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) in Punjab, a non-governmental organization which provides legal aid to marginalized people who are either falsely implicated by the police. or unable to afford legal assistance themselves. LEAD also evangelizes to non-Christians in Pakistan.
On the 9th March 2013 more than 180 houses, 18 shops and two churches in Joseph Colony were attacked, looted and burnt by a mob of over 3,000 religiously charged Muslims. The incident which sparked the chain of events that led to the assault, was said to have occurred on Wednesday, March 06, 2013. Read VOP March 15, 2013 REPORT
The criminal case FIR no.114/13 was registered at the Police Station Bedami Bagh Lahore in which some of the perpetrators were arrested.
A division bench of the Lahore High Court granted bail to some of the accused involved in the Joseph Colony incident. Following this precedent and by applying rule of consistency, the trial court also granted bail to all accused named and unnamed in the FIR (first incident report) who were arrested. And those who were not arrested were granted pre-arrest bail.
LEAD’s lawyers had petitioned the Lahore High Court on Tuesday, 4 June, 2013 to cancel the bail granted to the “Culprits of the Joseph Colony incident ” and they also asked for the detention of the released men amid allegations of new threats against Christians.
LEAD’s lawyers have constantly been threatened by unknown persons to withdraw the cancellation of bail petition. A case was scheduled on October 31, 2013, but LEAD’s lawyers could not appear in the court due to fear and apprehension of attacks, or mishaps.
Meanwhile, Sawan Masih, falsely accused of Blasphemy behind the bars the Badami Bagh (Joseph Colony attack) incident was kept in a special cell at Camp Jail in Lahore with the deployment of round the clock armed guards still awaiting for justice.
Within this month of October three blasphemy cases registered at different police stations. The case FIR No.678/2013 under Sections 295 A,295 B,295 C PPC and 25/D Telegraph Act registered at Police Station Green Town on October 2,2013 against Asif Pervaiz. He was kept in a special cell at Camp Jail in Lahore with the deployment of round the clock armed guards still awaiting for justice.The after-arrest bail of Asif Pervaiz has been filled in the session court Lahore and fixed for 5 November.
On 9 October,2013 one another blasphemy case FIR No.675/2013 under sections 295 A,295 B and 295 C PPC was registered at Police Station Township against three Christians.The pre-arrest bail of Pastor Adnan has been filled in the session court Lahore and fixed for 6 November.
On 27 October,2013 third blasphemy case FIR No. 533/13 registered at Sadar Police Station, Wazirabad against two brothers Tariq Masih and Arif Masih under section 295 B PPC on the complaint of Muhammad Khuram.
NEW THREATS BY GUNMEN
November 2,2013 on the street where Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill resides, around 6:35pm, unidentified gunmen opened fire at homes creating fear among residents, which continued nearly half an hour. The neighborhood remained silent and locked their houses to avoid any kind of mishaps.
Mr. Gill tells VOP,
“I received a text message on my cell phone by my wife asking where I was. She informed me of the gunfire outside our home and told me to not return at this time and to be careful. She added, “We are terrified and have locked the door.”
APPEAL BY Mr. Gill
“We ask you to pray for us, stand with us and also pray for those who are against us. There are some elements who do not wish to see the LEAD’S work and are against the view of LEAD concerning the blasphemy laws, which are misused. Pray that God will give us strength, courage and wisdom to face and tackle such elements.”
Pakistan Christian Congress and Christian National Movement to join hands for rights
Lahore: November 1, 2013. (PCP) The leaders of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) and Christian National Movement (CNM) have decided to join hands to achieve equal basic democratic rights for Pakistani Christians in a special meeting.
It was decided that Christian National Movement (CNM), which have headquarters in Muridke and branches in Sialkot, Sheikhupura, Lahore, Kasur, Faisalabad, Sargodha and other districts of Punjab will merge with Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) for best interests of Pakistani Christians in the nation to establish unity and labor on united platform of (PCC).
Talking to Pakistan Christian Post, Mr. Shahzad Kanwal, President of CNM said that merger of CNM in PCC was decided in a general body meeting of CNM in Sialkot and soon the merger will be announced in a press conference in Lahore, in the presence of leaders of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC and Christian National Movement CNM.
Sardar Mushtaq Gill Advocate, President of Punjab province of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC and Mr. Akram Waqr Gill, Chief Organizer of Punjab province PCC have welcomed the decision of Mr. Shahzad Kanwal and CNM Council leaders to join the Pakistan Christian Congress.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC congratulated Mr. Shahzad Kanwal on joining the PCC, along with CNM leaders and termed the merger of CNM into the PCC for the best interests of Pakistani Christians. The PCC Chief said that thousands of CNM members will make the PCC stronger.
Reliable sources told Pakistan Christian Post that Mr. Shahzad Kanwal will be awarded with an important portfolio in the Central Council of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC and other CNM leaders will be announced District offices in Punjab and Punjab Council before the Lahore press conference to officially announce the merger.