Religious Intolerance Rages in Pakistan with Recent Murder of Elderly Christian

by Antariksh Singh

In a shocking and tragic incident that has sent shockwaves across Pakistan, the brutal murder of 74-year-old Nazir Masih, a Christian elder in Mujahid Colony, Sargodha, has laid bare the disturbing reality of religious intolerance and minority persecution in the country. Masih’s death, stemming from a baseless blasphemy allegation, serves as a grim reminder of the perilous intersection of religious extremism and governmental inaction.

Faraz Pervaiz, a Pakistani Christian facing his own blasphemy accusations, lamented the tragedy, emphasizing the deep-rooted injustice faced by religious minorities in Pakistan. Masih, a highly respected figure within his community, fell victim to a mob affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) extremist group. The fabricated charge of blasphemy, a common weapon against minorities, provided the pretext for the mob’s heinous act. Masih’s only “crime” was his reputation and economic stability, qualities perceived as threats by the radical ideology of the TLP.

What is perhaps equally alarming is the complicity of government and law enforcement agencies in perpetuating this cycle of violence and oppression. Rather than upholding justice and protecting an innocent citizen, authorities opted to cover up the incident, ostensibly to pacify the Christian community and prevent further unrest. The Punjab Police’s manipulation of facts and suppression of truth demonstrate not an earnest pursuit of justice, but a calculated effort to mitigate the fallout.

The deceitful tactics employed by the authorities, including keeping Masih’s body artificially sustained to downplay the severity of the incident, underscore the extent to which the government is willing to go to appease extremist elements. The announcement of Masih’s death as martyrdom, aimed at placating the mob and quelling international outcry, further exposes the government’s disregard for the lives of religious minorities.

However, Masih’s murder is not an isolated event; it is symptomatic of a larger systemic issue of persecution faced by religious minorities, particularly Christians, in Pakistan. Extremist groups like the TLP continue to wield influence, using violence to enforce their warped interpretation of religious doctrine. Their belief that murder in the name of Islam guarantees divine favor perpetuates a culture of impunity, emboldening further attacks on vulnerable communities.

The government’s failure to confront and dismantle these extremist networks speaks volumes about its priorities and allegiances. By capitulating to the demands of radical groups and manipulating the narrative to shield perpetrators, authorities are complicit in perpetuating a cycle of violence and injustice.

Faraz Pervaiz aptly points out that the government’s handling of Masih’s case is not just about protecting extremists but also about suppressing dissent and maintaining power. By appeasing the TLP and other radical factions, the government seeks to consolidate its authority at the expense of religious minorities, further entrenching their marginalization and vulnerability.

Antariksh Singh

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