PAKISTAN: Shattered Widow of Murdered Christian Dies

10 July 2024

Source: Morning Star News

Not a day passed when Allah Rakhi Bibi would not cry for her husband Nazeer Masih Gill, beaten to death at 74 by a Muslim mob on a false blasphemy accusation a month ago.

On 21 June the grieving widow could bear the suffering no longer, and she died of cardiac arrest. She was 72.

“The tears in her eyes never dried,” said her son, Sultan Gill. “She would recall the good times they had spent together and would then cry out his name. A few hours before she passed away, my mother wept and said that life had become meaningless for her after my father’s death. She would say, ‘He has left me alone, and I can’t bear this any more’.”

“Her pain and agony apparently worsened when she overheard some family members talking about the bails being granted to the people involved in my father’s killing,” he said amid sobs. “We tried our best to keep this information from her, but we failed.”

Gill said his mother’s body was buried the same day next to that of her husband.

“Our lives have been completely shattered – all family members, including our children, are suffering from depression and stress,” he said. “We have lost our business and are forced to live in our own house as refugees. The release of the people involved in the killing of my father is akin to rubbing salt on our wounds. We’ve already lost hope for justice, and now my mother has also left us.”

On 13 June Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court Sargodha Muhammad Abbas granted bail to the suspects, including three persons named in the First Information Report (FIR).

The Urban Area Police Station had registered an FIR on behalf of the state against 44 named and 300 to 400 unidentified suspects. The case was registered under several sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 and Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), including murder, attempt to murder, obstructing public officials in discharging their duty, assaulting a public official and mischief by fire or explosive material with intent to destroy a house or cause death or hurt.

Abbas admitted the suspects’ pleas, in which they claimed that police had implicated them in the case only on the basis of suspicion. They stated that officers failed to specify their roles in the attack, and none of the 18 witnesses had identified them.

“Moreover, nothing has been recovered from their possession,” they added.

Accepting the petitions, the judge ordered the suspects’ release on bail against surety bonds of 100,000 rupees ($535) each.

Attorney Asad Jamal said he regretted the release of the suspects but was anticipating it because of the police’s “intentional” poor investigation.

“The police’s conduct was suspicious from the onset,” Jamal told sources. “The investigators neither preserved the crime scene nor made any attempt to interrogate the detained suspects. The suspects were arrested and sent to jail on the same day, whereas the police should have sought their physical remand for interrogation to record their ‘first version’ statements to link their involvement in the incident.”

The Muslim lawyer, who has represented several people falsely accused of blasphemy, including Christians, was part of a fact-finding mission of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) that termed Gill’s lynching a “calculated assault, manipulated through religious fervour to gain maximum leverage.” Jamal said it was clear that police had deliberately recorded statements of false witnesses to damage the case.

“They should have identified neighbours who witnessed the entire incident and recorded their statements, but it was not done,” he said. “Moreover, the police have not recorded the statements of Gill’s family to date.”

Jamal said police were not sharing any information with Gill’s family, though they are a natural party to the case.


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    Pray for them

    Pray for Sultan Gill and his family as they continue grieving the loss of their father, and now mother also. Ask that God would draw them close in comfort and strengthen their hearts and minds as they mourn.

    Pray for the salvation of those involved in the lynching. Ask God to intercede for them by His Spirit and bring them to Himself.

    Pray for the leaders of Pakistan, that blasphemy laws will be overturned, and religious freedom will flourish.

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