Published:  08:19 PM, 06 June 2024

Tragic end for Nazir Masih highlights extremism and government complicity in Sargodha

Tragic end for Nazir Masih highlights extremism and government complicity in Sargodha Nazir Masih. (Photo: HRFP)
In a harrowing episode that has shocked the nation, the brutal assassination of 74-year-old Nazir Masih, a Christian elder in Mujahid Colony, Sargodha, serves as a stark reminder of the toxic interplay between religious extremism and governmental inaction.

The incident, fuelled by a baseless blasphemy allegation, has exposed the dire plight of religious minorities in Pakistan.

Faraz Pervaiz, a Pakistani Christian who himself is accused of blasphemy, commented on the tragic event, stating, “This dark chapter culminated in the brutal assassination of Nazir Masih, who fell victim to a baseless blasphemy allegation. Masih’s story is one of unimaginable pain and injustice, highlighting the ongoing plight of religious minorities in Pakistan.”

Nazir Masih, a respected elder in his community, became the target of a mob from the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) extremist group. The accusation against him, rooted in a fabricated charge of blasphemy, was a weapon often used against minorities. 

The mob, driven by fanaticism, brutally tortured and murdered Masih on the spot. His real “crime” was his strong reputation and economic stability, which seemingly threatened the TLP’s radical ideology.

The role of the government and law enforcement agencies in this episode is deeply troubling. Instead of protecting an innocent citizen, they chose to cover up the incident. This cover-up was a calculated move to placate the Christian community and prevent further unrest.

The Punjab Police and other law enforcement agencies demonstrated their efficiency not in seeking justice but in manipulating facts and suppressing the truth.

In a deceitful act, Masih’s body was kept on a ventilator, not for medical reasons but to buy time and reduce the severity of the incident. This tactic aimed to fool Christian leaders and mitigate the international backlash.

Eventually, when the government felt secure, they announced Masih’s death, framing it as martyrdom to appease the angry mob and defuse the situation.

This incident is not an isolated one. It reflects a broader, systemic issue where religious minorities, especially Christians, face severe persecution. The TLP, with its militant squad, seeks to impose its extremist beliefs, often targeting vulnerable communities to validate their warped sense of righteousness.

They believe that murdering in the name of Islam guarantees them a place in heaven, regardless of the innocence of their victims.

The government’s handling of this situation reveals a disturbing willingness to bow to extremist pressures. Instead of standing up for justice and protecting all its citizens, the government chose to side with the aggressors, demonstrating a clear bias and disregard for the lives of religious minorities.

Faraz Pervaiz said that by keeping Christian leadership in the dark and manipulating the narrative, the government aimed to lessen the international outcry and pacify the emotions of the Christian community. 

“The announcement of Masih’s death as a martyr was used as a tool to pacify the TLP militants, sending them back under the guise of having avenged the supposed blasphemy,” he wrote on X.

He even said that by deceitfully managing the criminal case, the government sought to protect the extremist elements involved. The local police registered the case in a manner that sheltered the criminal mindset of the religious extremists, further entrenching their impunity. 

>> Source: The Print  

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