A Pakistani Christian family has been in hiding for several years now after receiving death threats from Islamic militants for posting advertising matter for a healing crusade and also allegedly damaging Islamic posters, which have been strongly denied by the father of the family.
|Babar Pervaiz Masih and his family pictured as n undisclosed location|
According to information obtained by ANS, the crusade was due to take place on October 2, 2008, in the compound of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan located at Ibn-e-Maryam colony in Faisalabad, where the Rt. Rev. Bishop James Dean was to be the chief guest, speaker and organizer of the event.
The Christian who has been in hiding overseas with his family is Babar Pervaiz Masih, the son of Boota Masih, who born on November 26, 1979, and was a resident of Abuzar Ghaffar town in Faisalabad.
ANS was able to contact Mr. Masih from his hiding place and he explained that he a few days prior to the crusade, he was pasting an advertisement for it as well as paper banners on the walls of St. Joseph’s Technical Training College, when his troubles began.
After being seen doing this, he said that was “terribly harassed” and then began received death threats from local Islamic militants who objected to what he was doing.
Babar Pervaiz Masih said in an interview that June and August in Pakistan are the Monson rainy season, he further alleged, that due to the rainy season several old paper advertisements including advertisements of local Islamic gatherings were in “feeble condition and almost torn by the heavy showers and wind.”
According to his statement to me, Mr. Masih said that when he was posting the healing crusade’s advertisements, “two fanatic Muslim youths wearing green turbans arrived and falsely blamed me saying that I had torn pieces of the Islamic advertisement posters.”
He stated that he denied the charges in which he was told that the posters contained Islamic verses, but these young men would not accept what he said.
Mr. Masih went on to say that he was “well aware” of the controversial blasphemy laws in Pakistan which, he said, could bring him to the gallows and he said that these “fanatic Muslims stalwarts could also rape my female family members and burn down our house.”
Once local Christians heard about the situation, they staged a peaceful protest against the way he was being treated.
Babar Pervaiz Masih statement was corroborated by Rt. Rev Bishop James Dean, who said that before the arrival of their fellow radical Islamic militants he ran to the Bishop’s house to tell him about the situation.
“For almost a month those Muslim men kept tracing me and finally somehow they found my phone number and started threatening me to abduct my children and then kill them”, said Babar Pervaiz Masih, adding, “Once they found me they and barbarically thrashed me with clubs, rods, chains and whatever they could hold in their hands.”
Babar said when all their efforts to stop the harassment, he approached the Batala Police Station and installed a case with First Information Report (FIR #) 653/2008 on November 8, 2008 at 1435 hours (Pakistani Time) under sections 365 (dishonesty), 511 (abetment or attempt to commit a wrongdoing) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Bishop Dean told ANS that lives of all the family members were “in dire danger” therefore he had arranged for them to fly out of the country.
Now Bishop Dean, as well as Babar’s counsel, has appealed to the United Nations to not allow them to be repatriated to Pakistan as they both say that case against him was built on a “false basis.” They have said that Islamic radical groups are still looking for him and his family and that if they were deported back to Pakistani they felt certain that they would be killed one way or another.