The administration of a Christian school in Sheikhupura district has filed a police complaint after an armed mob raided the building demanding extortion money.
Fourteen armed men reportedly entered the Global Passion School on April 29, tortured the staff and damaged the vehicles. The school offers free education to Christian students.
The school principal, Simon Peter Kaleem has filed a first information report with the local police station.
“The teachers and children were praying in the hall at 11:30am when the assailants entered the school and attacked the security guard. Rizwan Br demanded one lakh rupees as extortion money every month, threatening that in case their demand was not met they would forcibly stop the school’s operations,” Simon’s FIR stated. He also claimed that the criminals had tortured him.
“They misbehaved with the female staff and gave death threats if we failed to make payment in two days. They also damaged cars and motorcycles parked in the building, causing an estimated total loss of Rs350,000.”
Kross Konnection made repeated attempts to contact Simon but he didn’t receive the call.
Christians are frequently the target of militant attacks and often face discrimination at work and routinely fall victim to the blasphemy laws, which church officials and rights groups say are often used to wage personal vendettas.
On March 16, a Muslim youth Muhammad Bilal climbed a church roof and sat on the cement cross standing 12 meters from the ground on the rooftop of One in Christ Church in the Hafiz Chowk area of Lahore. Video clips made by witnesses showed the accused chanting “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great) and other religious slogans. He was arrested after a day and charged with blasphemy.
In February, a 25-year-old Christian youth Pervaiz Masih was killed in Lahore’s Factory Area.
According to various reports, a mob of around 200 people gathered in a street near the house of Pervaiz in the LDA Quarters area, a Christian majority area, and hurled abuses at the community members. Some armed men also resorted to firing into the air, residents claimed, adding that the clash resulted in Masih’s death.
Read more: Christian youth killed in Lahore clash
In January, police charged four people with blasphemy for ransacking St. Camillus Church in village 49/2L of Okara district in Punjab province.
According to church officials, armed men raided the building on Jan 23, tied up the watchman and threw pictures of the Holy Family, the Eucharist, Bibles and the Ark of the Covenant on the floor. The Muslim-majority village is home to 120 Christian families.