Christian nurses attacked after alleged allegation of blasphemy

Two Christian nurses at District Head Quarter (DHQ) Hospital Faisalabad Mariam Lal d/o Lal Gill (senior staff) and Newish Arooj d/o Shahid Masih (student 3rd year of nursing) were blamed for the desecration of the Quran in Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan on April 9, 2021.

The local contacts of Christians’ True Spirit – CTS informed that the nurses are allegedly accused of blasphemy. They were blamed for disgracing a verse of the Quran which was in the shape of a sticker and posted on the Hospital cabinet in the Fatima ward.

Mariam Lal and Newish Arooj were on duty when Muhammad Waqas (a ward boy) attacked Mariam with the knife and made her injured. After this attempt, there was a mob gathered to kill the Christian nurses.

The matter brought up to the attention of Medical Superintendent immediately and an inquiry held on the said incident. Mohammad Waqas accused both nurses of committing blasphemy a day earlier on April 8, 2021, he also said that Head nurse Rukhsana was the eye witness of that blasphemy incident.

Meanwhile, the MS made a phone call to the local police and reported the matter, Doctors requested police to provide security to the nurses as well as the hospital because there was an aggressive mob gathered around the DHQ Hospital who could harm the hospital building, other staff nurses, and the patients. The police reached the spot in an emergency and tried to control the matter. Police also rescued Mariam and Newish Arooj safely, took them to the police station and inquired about the matter.

The same day April 09, 2021 in the afternoon at 3: 30 pm the police was forced to register a case FIR no.347/21 offense under section 295-B of Pakistan Penal Code against two nurses in the Civil Line Police Station on the complaint of Dr. Mohammad Ali. By filing this case FIR police wanted to control the angry mob and prevent any violent attack may occur in the Christian Colonies in Faisalabad by the extremists.

The incident occurred due to a personal grudge of Rukhsana the head staff DHQ against Mariam Lal, She instigated the hospital staff to attack Mariam claiming that she is a blasphemer as she desecrated the Quran verse by scratching it down with a pencil. In response the ward boy attacked Mariam Lal with a knife as she was attending a patient. She received injuries to her hand but survived.

This incident of blasphemy is not very different than that occurred two months earlier at Karachi Hospital against Tabita Gill a staff nurse who becomes the victim of personal grudge of her senior staff.

Christians’ True Spirit – CTS was very much concerned about the sensitivity of the matter and Ms. Katherine Sapna Director made telephone calls to the concerned authorities including Mr. Ijaz Alam Augustine, Provincial Minister for Minorities, and urged to take serious notice of the incident and that there should be a fair investigation of the case to find a real accused and Justice should be done.

Ms. Sapna mentioned that Faisalabad is the same city, where unpleasant incidents occurred previously after the alleged allegation of blasphemy. We still remember village Korean where the Christian houses set ablaze and Gojra city Faisalabad where 147 house given fire and 9 people killed or burn alive in the house during the fire and killing of two brothers Sajid Masih and Rashid Masih in the courtyard Faisalabad when they brought to the court for hearing. The people in Faisalabad are extremists, aggressive and short tempered and mostly linked with the Islamic militant groups.

Mr. Asher Sarfraz Executive Director Christians’ True Spirit – CTS urge the Pakistani authorities to take serious action in such fake incidents and learn from the previous incidents of blasphemy and extra judicial killings. He further said that there is nothing to do with blasphemy but only personal interests behind. Therefore Pakistan should amend the blasphemy laws, the accused should be punished but a serious legal action must be taken against the false complaint too.

A legal case against Muhammad Waqas (ward boy) must be registered for inhuman act, violent attack and open life threat to Mariam Lal and Newish Arooj which is unacceptable in any society. CTS demand fair investigation of the incident, fair case trial and justice for both nurses Lal and Arooj.

In Solidarity,

CTS team