Friday, 25 November 2011

Farmer killed in Punjab, Pakistan: was Muslim, not Christian, and allegedly a criminal

Article by Marc Aupiais

The Vatican missionary Agenzia Fides: faith news agency: has noted a stern warning from the local Catholic Church in Punjab province of Pakistan. The killing of a farmer, Akram Masih in the region could not possibly have been an act of religious hatred. He had Muslim funeral rites, and had since ten years past abandoned all semblance of Christianity for the Muslim faith. The farmer was wanted in relation to criminal acts he was suspected of. He was killed in a police operation. Fides source: Fr. Nisar Barka, of the Catholic commission of "Justice and Peace" for the relevant Diocese of Faisalabad has made the above particular claims.

There certainly is an issue of human rights in the area however.

Punjab is Hindi for Five Waters. It is identified in a fertile plain, traversed by the Indus River which is fed by the five tributaries on which its name has its basis. It crosses the border between India and Pakistan. Herein the reference is to the Pakistani province of which the capital is Lahore.

Fr. Khalid Rashid Asi: Vicar General of the diocese of Faisalabad explained to Fides, that wealthy businessmen in the area, often allegedly steal land from poor farmers with assistance of the state: in particular the army. These "Land Grabs" are recently common in Punjab and Sindh. The vast majority of Pakistan's population resides in Punjab. The official language is English. Land Grabs, despite these two factors are not commonly reported in Western media.

Whether police claims that the man was essentially a criminal, have any credence, or whether he was killed due to any opposition to development is uncertain. What the Vatican and local church want to make utterly clear: rumours that the man was attacked as a Christian: are utterly unfounded and counter-productive.

Punjab, is a strategic region, being a launching place of many of the invasions into the Pakistani nation.

Pakistan is 95% Muslim, 5% Christian, Hindu, etc. Having been formed on religious differences with Hindu India, after Gandhi's passive revolution, Pakistan still takes religion to the zenith. In the Northern Tribal areas, the military held government has waged a war with the Taliban, who hold a socio-political tainted version of Islam. Muslim faith is an important factor in gaining political power in Pakistan, although there are seats for non-muslim parliamentarians.

The army is thought to hold the power in Pakistan, with the elected government consistently relying on American power as a basis for its existence. Claims by Fides sources that links to the military give some level of power certainly have basis.

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