By Sher Ali Khalti –
What happened Youhana Abad Churches was very tragic but the barbaric killing of two innocent persons by the mob leaves many questions unanswered
Always with smiling face this woman used to attend the patients at Lahore General Hospital (LGH) to serve without any discrimination of colour, creed, sect and religion. But no one knew she would be punished and killed on the name of religion as she had been a worshiper of Jesus Christ. She was Ambareen Mukhtar, a staff nurse at LGH.
Ambareen Mukhtar along with her husband died in the tragic incident of Youhana Abad Church bomb blast. Dead bodies of couple were laying among the scattered limbs of Christians who were killed at bomb blast at the gate of Christ Church Youhana Abad. Before taking last breath Ubaid captured the suicide bomber and stopped him at the gate. During severe resistance bomber blew himself up. Ubaid was killed but he saved the nation from many casualties.
Same example was set by Akash Bashir same day. As terrorist tried to enter from the gate of Catholic church where 2200 people were busy in church services, Akash grabbed the terrorist with his strong arms. Terrorist felt helpless and blew himself. In these attacks, 15 people died on the spot while 75 were injured who were shifted to Lahore General Hospital. After few days the death toll reached at 19.
It was confirmed by Professor Doctor Habib Vohra. He believed that doctors, nurses and paramedical staff of Lahore General Hospital were serving the injured of bomb blast with devotion and zeal day and night in accordance with the direction of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif. He told Pique that all the senior doctors, nurses and paramedics rushed to the hospital on the day of tragic incident instantaneously after being intimated about bomb blast at Youhana Abad. He valued and acknowledged the spirit of hospital staff with which they served victims of the tragic incident.
Kashif Nawas, Director Social Action Transformation of Humanity (SATH Pakistan) and resident of Yuhana Abad says: “My house is very close to the church. I was making my shave as I heard voice of bomb blast. Some bearings and shells of bomb fallen at my house. My whole family got scared. I rushed outside where I saw dead bodies and blood was everywhere. People stood shrieking. Akash Bashir and Ubaid set an example of bravery and stopped the terrorist at the gate. The suicide bombers blew themselves up on the spot. Akash and Ubaid martyred but did not let the terrorists in the Churches otherwise casualties toll could be much higher. Government must announce the national award for both of the martyred.’’
“Why no action has been taken on the murder of 19 Christians while as many as 108 Christians have been arrested on the burning of two Muslims?’’ Kashif questioned. “It was not first time that we came under the hail and storm of oppressions. It was unchanging for minorities since inception of Pakistan. It would be happened until the syllabus is changed. Hate against us started when a child entered at madrassa or school. We are not minorities … We are Pakistani and patriotic like others.”
Doctor Muhuammad Rizwan Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Investigation rebuts the impression that the police have arrested 108 Christians. “We have arrested just 12 people who were involved in lynching of Hafiz Muhammad Naeem and Babar Numan. By the help of videos two main accused have been arrested from Gujranwala and Sialkot. No one is permitted to take law in hands.’’
“Lynching of two men was not failure of police. Actually it was the reaction of Kot Radha Kishan incident where Shahzad Massieh and her wife were burnt alive. Mob had made mind already and was ready two burns these two while police was not ready for that. Attacks on Churches and burning of two Muslims were a national loss in fact. If they had not lynched the men our focus would not have been divided,’’ Dr Rizwan added.
He said that NGOs played a havoc role and flared up the people in Yuhana Abad incident. There should be check and balance on the activities of NGOs so that hate speeches could not provoke the people to take illegal actions against state.’’
Doctor Najma Afzal Khan MPA Pakistan Muslim League (N) rejects that minorities are being discriminated in Pakistan. “Actually we are fighting war against terrorism and waves of attacks could be seen in APS Peshawar and other parts of country likewise Youhana Abad. Terrorists don’t have concern with any religion. They attack mosques, shrines and churches as well. Attack on churches and murder of 19 people is condemnable. Burning of two Muslim by mob is detestable too. Mob cannot be permit to violate the rules of law. What would be the difference among the terrorists who attacked on churches and those who burnt two Muslims.’’
Chaudhry Ijaz President Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) Punjab with his delegation reached on the spot but the people refused to talk them. After five days they came again with local Christian community leaders and visited Yuhana Abad, walked in the streets so that fear could be minimized.
“The role of Punjab government was observed nowhere. Writ of state had been challenged by the mob. It is still a mystery how two Muslim Hafiz Muhammad Naeem and Babar Numan who were in the Police custody were lynched and burnt by the mob,” Ch Ijaz questioned.
Allama Tahir Asharfi Chairman Pakistan Ulama Council states that the enemy of Pakistan tried to evoke the conflict between Muslims and Christians. “To see the wrath of locals from both side National Reconciliation Council under Chairman Ulama Council Pakistan came forward and met religious leaders with Christians so the situation could be controlled. We would not allow the terrorist to get success in their motives. The terrorists, their supporters and who burnt the two Muslim must be punished. Terrorism and barbarism don’t have any relation with any religion. All religions of the world give lesson of peace. Government must realize the responsibility to protect their citizens. State must play its role before it is too late. No one can be given permission to sabotage the peaceful environment on the name of sect, religion and caste.’’
Aftab Ahmed Khan, a veteran journalist and psychiatrist, thinks that lynching of two Muslims was not a revenge or reaction of Kot Radha Kishan rather than a trance of mob. If it were revenge they (protestors) would have burnt the targeted persons because the revenge is always taken by proper planning. “They did not burn two Muslims. Actually they burnt the two persons instantly. It does not matter who is in front of them. They could burn or kill anyone without knowing his sect, status etc. A speaker of British parliament had been killed in the parliament. Now the Britain has strong democracy. Grief and anger are two different emotions. It is not obligatory that anger be shown at the time of sadness. At the time of incident the emotions of anger were collectively dominated on mob. Such kind of incident can happen in future too,’’ he concludes
The writer is a journalist based in Lahore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org