Lahore: July 12, 2013. (PCP) The news covered by national and international media that “Three Christian Women were paraded naked by Muslim landlord” of village Chack Number 21, in district Kasur in month of June 2013, with reference to LEAD press release is not true according to CLAAS “Fact Finding Mission Patoki 2013”
The CLAAS claims in its “Fact Finding report” conclusion in Section 12 as “It is clear by the various statements that no one paraded the women naked in the streets for their amusement, but clothes of women were torn open during the scuffle between themselves and the attackers”
The CLAAS Fact Finding Mission was comprised of NCSW Tanveer Jahan while Robina Ghazal represented CLAAS and Ayra Inderyas from Women Desk of Church of Pakistan Lahore Diocese; The Fact Finding Mission visited on June 28, 2013, to Patoki;
It’s surprising that CLAAS fact finding mission delayed report of that mission till July 12, 2013, and issued it today, the reason known best to them.
CLAAS presents Asian Human Right Commission report publication which forced it to investigate incident of “Parade of Naked Christian Women by Muslim landlord” but CLAAS fails to find role of LEAD which issued the incident report but concentrated on Aslam Pervaiz Sohtra who protested in front of Lahore Press Club against this incident.
Here we are presenting report issued by CLAAS for our readers who may judge that what is truth behind these conflicting news items and reports is:
Report by CLAAS Pakistan
‘Christian Women forced to parade naked’ this was the headline of news published in Daily Times on Thursday, June 20, 2013.
Christian women were attacked and paraded naked by a mob with the support of the ruling party said a press release issued by Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
After the news published and press release issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, many of CLAAS partners, friends and colleagues started to contact CLAAS to inquire either the story was true’.
A three-member fact finding mission headed by NCSW member Tanveer Jahan departed for Patoki at 8 AM on June 28, 2013. The mission comprised, apart from Tanveer Jahan, Robina Ghazal, from CLAAS Office and Ayra Inderyas from Women Desk, Church of Pakistan Lahore Diocese. The mission had secured a copy of the relevant FIR beforehand.
The mission first met Pastor Saleem Gill in Patoki. Gill explained the background of the incident saying that goats belonging to Mr. Shaukat had barged into the landlord Mr. Munir’s farms. This happened twice. The first time, Munir returned the goats. However, when it happened second time, Munir detained the herd, triggering a brawl between the two when Shaukat attempted to retrieve his goats. Following the scuffle, Munir attacked Shaukat’s house and misbehaved with the women there.
The mission inquired as to how the pastor came to know of this incident. The pastor informed the mission that women and children had carried out a protest in front of the police station. The protestors came to him, crying and then he and Mushtaq Gill went to the DSP to register the FIR. The SHO was called to the DSP’s office. He promised to deliver justice to the people but he did not register the FIR the very same day. It was registered the following day.
The pastor claims that this incident took place, but he did not go to the crime scene himself. After interviewing the pastor the mission headed to Sareser Chak 21 and asked a passerby of the incident before entering the village. The man, named Zakariya, said that there had been no such naked parade. It was a dispute between two political rivals that had been severely exaggerated.
Mission reached the house of Buta Masih at 11 AM. Here Shaukat, Buta Masih’s sister Allah Rakhi, Sajida, Rani, Irshad Bibi, Surraiya and Sadiq Masih were met. Allah Rakhi began to narrate the events of the incident, along with Shaukat Masih.
“Some of our goats happened to wander on to Munir’s farms while grazing,’ they stated, ‘Munir detained the herd, as he has had a rivalry with us since the elections. He supported the tiger (PML-N) while we supported the iron. The independent candidate won in our village, instead of PML-N candidate. He has been our rival since.”
“I, along with Irshad, Surrayya, Buta and Liaqat, went to Munir to get my herd released. Munir grabbed me by the collar, and then I struck him as well, Shaukat reported, ‘we broke into a scuffle. The villagers separated us and put the matter to rest. Both the parties were reconciled after seven days. However, the evening that the agreement was made, at 11 pm 10-12 armed people barged into our house. One of them climbed over our wall and opened the door for the others to enter. They asked for me upon entering. I locked myself inside the room.’
‘They tried very hard to open the door,’ Allah Rakhi added, ‘All of us women attempted to push them out of our doors. They began to break our things. Amidst this fight, they dragged us out into the street and tore our clothes.’ At this point the mission inquired if they had truly been paraded naked in the streets, and upon being asked twice or thrice the women kept changing their statements and finally said that the clothes were made of voile and were ripped during the scuffle.
They continued narrating their story, saying that in this time one of their neighbors had called 15 for the police. The police took Shaukat’s family members to the police station. When Shaukat’s father Sadiq Masih was dragged to the police van, his knee was injured. The neighbors pleaded with the police to let this elderly man go. The police sent them back later, with instructions to appear in the station the following day.
‘We went to the station the next day but our FIR was not registered. We were sitting in the station till four in the evening but they did not register it. The next day 150 or so of our Christian brothers protested in the streets but the police still did not register the FIR.,’ Shaukat continued, ‘Some people told us that if we protested in front of the Press Club in Lahore, the police would listen to us. We took a bus full of people to Press Club Lahore. There we protested. Our leader Mr. Sahotra was also present. He called the DSP, and it was only then that they agreed to register the FIR and examine the crime scene. There was no follow up after this.’
Buta Masih’s family is convinced that SHO Haji Aziz has taken Rs 200,000 as a bribe from the other party which is why he was not taking any action. The mission asked them if apart from Sahotra, anyone else from the Christian community came to help them and they replied in the negative. Apart from our neighbors, nobody came to our aid. The mission was the first to approach them regarding the matter.
Shaukat further told mission that a certain Mr. Malik Ibrahim had also threatened them. He said that a Christian child works for Ibrahim and following this incident they threatened to shoot at her feet if she entered their house again. When the mission inquired as to why Ibrahim was doing this, Shaukat replied that he is related to Munir and did this as a show of support.
The mission asked after the torn clothes of the women and was told that they are with Mr. Sahotra in Lahore.
After finishing with Shaukat’s family, the mission reached the house of Mr. Malik Ibrahim. The mission first met with Mrs. Zamia who was Malik Ibrahim’s second wife. According to her statement: ‘Mr. Munir Malik is a relative of Ibrahim’s and he owns land near the village. The Christian’s goats entered his land. The first time he released them but the second time they were detained by Munir. When the Christian’s attempted to retrieve their goats, a fight broke out between them and Munir. Munir and Naveed Jutt went to register an FIR against the Christians. Later Munir reconciled with the Christians. However, a person named Basharat provoked the Christians into registering an FIR against Malik Ibrahim because he is an old political rival of Malik Ibrahim’s. Basharat persuaded Munir to involve Malik Ibrahim on the condition that he himself would later be withdrawn from the case.’
In the meantime, Malik Ibrahim’s son Sajid and his wife arrived as well. Sajid lives directly opposite Shaukat Masih. According to Sajid, he runs a school in which Christians both study and teach. Sajid also hinted at the involvement of Basharat. He informed the mission that he had visited Sahotra’s office and attempted to reconcile the partied at the home of Mian Latif Aryan.
‘We offered an open cheque at the office of Sahotra, ensuring that if we were found guilty, any amount considered suitable could be taken as compensation,’ said Sajid.
When asked of his relation to Malik Munir, Sajid said that he was a distant relative and not on speaking terms with Sajid’s family. In this time, Malik Ibrahim also joined the conversation.
According to Malik Ibrahim, this incident was being portrayed in a political fashion, when it was not concerned with political rivalries. ‘If we wanted revenge for our loss in elections,’ Malik Ibrahim said, ‘Why would we target only Buta Masih’s family? This village had about a hundred Christian voters, and the private candidate had received many votes from the resident Muslims as well.’
Malik Ibrahim claimed that God had punished him for a past crime. ‘Bibi Rani’s son Liaqat had a while ago converted to Islam. We collected money from the Muslims in the village and gave him 150, 000 rupees. Six months later, he reverted to Christianity again. The villagers deemed him liable to death and began to beat him. He took refuge at my house. I protected him from the villagers with my life. I protected an apostate and God has punished me.’
The mission also questioned Liaqat Masih. Liaqat claimed that he had been in Lahore at the time of this incident and could not presume to know much about it.
The mission then met with Basharat. It seemed as if he had taken on the role of a film director, commanding people to do and say things as he pleased. He was adamant that he mission should take Munir’s statement in his presence. The mission waited for forty five minutes at Basharat’s dera while he attempted to contact Munir. Munir stormed in, declaring how important Friday prayers were to him as a Muslim and gave the mission his card to contact him if they had any questions. He immediately left again.
The mission then went to the Saddar Patoki Police Station. The SHO was not present at the time. The station reader and two police men met with the mission instead, and gave the mission a report prepared by SP Investigation Kasur. After this the mission departed for Lahore and after endless debate arrived at these conclusions.
1. There was a scuffle between Malik Munir and Shaukat Masih over herd of goats entering Munir’s farms
2. Malik Munir complained to police
3. Police did not act on the complaint and arrest Shaukat
4. Munir reconciled with Shaukat, upon the villagers’ intervention
5. Munir attacked Shaukat’s house despite the reconciliation
6. The male members were in hiding except Shaukat, who hid when he saw the men attacking his house
7. There was scuffle between the armed attackers and family women. Women pushed the men out of the house and onto the street.
8. Women’s clothes were torn during this tussle, and they came out into the street in this condition.
9. Someone called police, and upon the arrival of the neighbors, Malik Munir and his men fled the scene.
10. Police arrived and took Shaukat away and then released him asking him to come next day.
11. A third party tried to benefit from the dispute by including names of his rivals in the police complaint.
12. It is clear by the various statements that no one paraded the women naked in the streets for their amusement, but clothes of women were torn open during the scuffle between themselves and the attackers.