REVIEW OF GOJRA MASSACRE – REFERENCES
- IPSS, Lahore August 4
- Incident in Kasur a month ago.
- Mosques used to incite people.
- State officials including the DCO and the RPO accused of not having provided security even after hours of pleading by the Christian community
- Act was planned
- Use of chemicals and acids
- Some Muslim families gave shelter to Christians.
- Local workers of PML-N identified as being associated with the lynching mob
- HRCP, Lahore August 4
- July 31, announcements from mosques in Gojra urged the Muslims to gather and “make mincemeat of the Christians”. Police officials had confirmed hearing the announcements.
- August 1, around 1,000 people gathered in the town and marched towards Christian Colony. A police contingent present in the neighbourhood did not try to stop the mob, which included a number of masked men.
- Attackers went about destroying houses in a very professional manner. Use of petrol and other inflammable substances. Over 40 houses torched in less than 30 minutes.
- Muslims’ houses adjacent to the Christians’ houses were spared.
- Witness said a number of attackers were from the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and other militant organisations. The Regional Police Officer (RPO) said that many of the attackers had come from outside the district, possibly from Jhang.
- Some Muslims in the neighbourhood provided shelter to Christian women.
- Socialist Network Pakistan (SNP), Shahzad Francis, August 2
- Attack took place August 1 in Gojra.
- Previous attack in Korian, 5 to 6 km from Gojra town on 30th July.
- 7 or 8 killed, 18 or 19 injured, 60 houses demolished.
- More than one thousand people held a procession in the main city of the Gojra town at about 8:30 AM on August 1, 2009, demanding death sentence of Talib Masih (charged with blasphemy in village Korian). Thousands of Muslims attacked Christians in Gojra after the procession and started indiscriminately firing at Christian people.
- Hameed Mashi, 50, was shot in the head and died at the spot. All of his family died.
- Two women were set on fire in their house, they died on the spot.
- Names of the dead: 1) Hameed Mashi, 2) Akhlas Mashi, 3) Asfa Bibi, 4) Victoria Ashi, 5) Seema Bibi, 6) Umia Bibi, 7) Unknown Child.
- Announcements continued in the mosques urging people to attack the Christian colonies and villages in this area.
- DAWN, Tariq Saeed, August 1
- 75 houses were burnt and two churches ransacked.
- Attack by the residents of a neighbouring village.
- Attack over reports that Mukhtar Maseeh, Talib Maseeh and his son Imran Maseeh had desecrated the papers inscribed with verses of the Holy Quran at a wedding ceremony.
- DPO Inkisar Khan fielded MPA Bilal Asghar Warraich and Maulana Noor Ahmad to calm down the mob (attackers). The DPO also suspended the Gojra Sadar station house officer at the demand of the mob.
- The mob blocked Gojra-Faisalabad Road to block the entrance of fire brigades to the village.
- Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Minorities and Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael visited the locality on Friday and urged both sides to remain peaceful.
- DAWN editorial, August 3
- Local administration ignored orders from Lahore to control the situation.
- Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, has suspended the persons responsible for letting this incident get out of hand.
- 7 people burnt.
- Attack was carried out by a banned organisation coming from outside the town. Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti says the organisation was Sipah-e-Sahaba.
- Local government and police did not react.
- The federal government has sent in the Rangers.
- Compensation for the destroyed property has already been announced.
- Previous attacks on Christians:
- In 1997, the twin villages of Shantinagar-Tibba Colony, Multan Division, were looted and burnt by 20,000 Muslim citizens and 500 policemen acting together after an incident of alleged desecration of the Quran was reported. Sipah-e-Sahaba was also blamed by the Christians for that holocaust.
- In 2005, in the Christian community of Sangla Hill in Nankana district in Punjab: After allegations of desecration of the Quran, a mob of 3,000 led by the local elected politician and police burnt down three churches, a missionary-run school, two hostels and several houses belonging to the Christian community.
- DAWN, Syed Irfan Raza, August 3
- Government had received information that a group of armed ‘miscreants’, with masked faces had come from Jhang and led the violence.
- DAWN, August 3
- 6 Christians died in flames, 2 were killed by gunshots.
- The clashes began Thursday July 28 after reports that a copy of the Quran had been defiled. Hundreds of Muslim protesters set fire to several Christians’ houses in the first two days, but the violence reached its peak Saturday August 1.
- Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said the attackers belonged to a banned Sunni Muslim extremist group, Sipah-i-Sahaba.
- DAWN, August 5
- Faisalabad Commissioner Tahir Hussain gave three Rs500,000 cheques to Almas Maseeh, two to Mohsin Hameed, one each to Victor Maseeh and Junaid Ikhlas.
- Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced that the government would follow the findings and recommendations of a judicial inquiry tribunal appointed by the Lahore High Court.
- Toba Tek Singh district coordination officer, district police officer and Gojra deputy superintendent of police have been removed for negligence.
- DAILY TIMES, Ali Usman, August 2
- 7 Christians, including 3 women, were burnt alive.
- Riots started almost a week before.
- Following escalation of the violence, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, on directions of President Asif Ali Zardari, ordered the Punjab Rangers to reach Gojra on Saturday.
- Locals claimed the attackers were members of a banned organisation and were carrying sophisticated weaponry.
- Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said he had directed police to ensure protection for the Christian community but they had ignored his instructions.
- DAILY TIMES, Ali Usman, August 3
- Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said police have arrested over 100 people.
- Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced Rs 0.5 million as compensation for the families.
- DAILY TIMES, August 5
- A factory owner and two others were killed along Muridke-Sheikhupura Road attacked by factory workers.
- One private TV channel said the owner and the other two were killed over the factory administration’s failure to pay workers. Another private channel reported the attack was prompted by an allegation that the factory owner had desecrated the holy Quran.
- ALL THINGS PAKISTAN, Atif Mian, August 1
- Instead of arresting the culprits, the police – under pressure from the mob – registered a blasphemy case against the three Christians!
- A month ago Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif had presided over a meeting to put out a joint declaration to condemn religious militant extremism. The declaration was stating that “… whosoever is even slightly guilty of blasphemy against the Prophet – directly or indirectly – is an infidel, an apostate, and liable to be put to death”.
- REUTERS, August 1
- 6 Christians including 4 women burned.
- Clashes erupted early on Saturday, with an exchange of fire from the members of the two communities.
- Rana Sanaullah, provincial minister for law, said a preliminary investigation showed there was no desecration of the Koran.
- TEETH MAESTRO, August 3 (events as shared by Dr. Arif Alvi [Sec General of PTI] as he narrated during his conversation with one of his party members who was in Gojra on August 2 to inquire into the massacre)
- Incident started at a wedding reception where there was some misbehaviour by a drunk person (Muslim). He and his friends created a scene and started making allegations while he was escorted out.
- Local maulvis were informed and they started inciting the muslims in the area.
- The reaction was further inflamed by a person Qadeer Awan (who is an official of PML-N) who sent people to Jhang to import activists.
- Some of the activists from Jhang came masked and surrounded the Christian village.
- There was firing into the village and some christians defending the village by firing in the air to scare away the people.
- Police was present but took only evasive action and used teargassing.
- The fight continued for 5 hours and then busloads of people joined the mob, with the police backing away, ransacked the entire village.
- 6 Christians were burned alive and 1 was shot dead.
- For more than a day the government did not register an FIR (First Information Report). There are 2 suspected reasons for that:
- To allow FIR’s to be registered on a blasphemy case
- Because of the intense involvement of some PML-N people.
- TEETH MAESTRO, August 4 (Guest Blog by Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist.)
- Despite warnings given by Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister of Minorities Affairs it took the Government of Punjab three days to move into a belated action.
- Chief Minister has repeatedly postponed his visit to the city citing security reasons.
- Reportedly, around 18th of July, intelligence agencies had issued a warning to the Government of Punjab of likely incidents of terrorism in which some enclaves of minority Pakistanis could be targeted. Provincial government seems not to have taken this information seriously.
- FIR was registered after 48 hours of delay.
- Qadeer Awan reputed to be a very influential PML-N member is the prime suspect in the FIR.
- The militants from outside moved on public transport with automatic weapons, explosives and incendiaries with complete impunity despite many Police Check Posts en route.
- Rather than risk confronting heavily armed militants, the baton wielding local police chose to by stand.
- The militants were seen taking orders on cell phones as also pass on information. If all calls on cell phones from the area were to be checked during the arson, it would reveal a long trail of connections leading to militant leaders, politicians and handlers residing outside Pakistan.
- Neighboring Muslim communities gave shelter to men, women and children
- Pakistani NGOs have established, but nothing from the side of the government of Punjab.
- AAJ TV, Abdul Rasheed Azad, August 4
- The clashes between the Muslims and Christians began Thursday after reports that a copy of Holy Quran had been desecrated.
- THE NEWS, Dilshad Azeem , August 5
- A number of bottle bombs, filled with lethal explosive material, were used in the Gojra communal violence.
- THE NATION, August 2
- At least 9 people were killed in armed clash (from both sides)
- THE NATION, August 4
- Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will visit Gojra today (August 4)
- TIME, Omar Waraich, August 5
- 9 killed, 45 houses destroyed
- July 28, Christian wedding in Korian when a rumor spread alleging that the revelers had torn the pages of the Quran and thrown them in the air.
Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, 91 G, Johar Town Lahore, Pakistan, +92-300-8445072