Christian Persecution Jan/Feb 2019

PAKISTAN—Authorities in Lahore, Pakistan, continue their refusal to arrest the Muslim hospital officials who killed an innocent Christian man, Sunil Saleem, more than eight months ago at Lahore’s Services Hospital.

“The police exonerated the main accused, Dr. Saira, in the initial investigation, even though she was the one who had instigated her colleagues and the security guards to attack us in the hospital ward,” Anil Saleem, brother of Sunil, told Morning Star News.

Fourteen doctors, 20 security guards, and 10 male nurses beat up Saleem, a father of four, more than eight months ago when he voiced his objection to a Muslim doctor’s refusal to tend to his pregnant sister because she was a Christian.

On March 26, 2018, Saleem took his sister, Kiran Kashif, to the emergency labor ward of the hospital because she was in severe pain. Dr. Saira, playing on her cell phone, told Kashif to wait outside until she finished sipping her tea.

Kashif waited for some time and then again went into the ward, requesting immediate attention. Dr. Saira cursed her for not waiting, threw her on the floor, and slapped her, saying “How dare a Chuhri [a derogatory term for Christian] question my order.”

Upon hearing the commotion, Kashif’s brothers and three other relatives entered the ward. Dr. Saira shouted to the doctors and security guards to lock the doors from the inside and “teach these Christians a lesson,” Anil Saleem said.

The medical staff and security guards beat them with iron rods, chairs, leather belts, and other items, he said. “Sunil, a police constable in the National Highway and Motorway Police, tried his best to placate the assailants, but they continued to beat him mercilessly, kicking and punching him in the groin and chest until he fell unconscious,” he said.

Anil Saleem and his relatives tried to defend themselves, but they were greatly outnumbered and were saved only when police arrived, he said. Sunil Saleem died shortly afterward from his wounds because the doctors refused to help him. “Most of the doctors fled after the incident, while those who were present paid no attention to our cries to help our dying brother,” Anil said.

Sunil Saleem left behind his wife and four children, the oldest of whom was 10 and the youngest of whom was barely three months old.

Police declared Dr. Saira innocent based on video footage showing she was not involved in the attack. “How can they just absolve Dr. Saira, when it was she who had instigated the attack in the first place? The court has directed the police to re-investigate the case, but they are delaying presenting the report on one pretext or the other,” Anil said.

Police have been reluctant to arrest the medical personnel due to threats by the Young Doctors Association (YDA) of launching protests in hospitals across the province and leaving their duties as part of a boycott, Anil said. “We think that the police were told by the provincial government not to arrest the doctors to avoid confrontation with the YDA,” Anil said.

Despite police indifference, Anil continues to hope the court will give justice to the family. Pakistan ranks fifth on Open Doors’ World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians experience the worst persecution.

by Morning Star News
To read the full report, go to Morningstarnews.org.

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