House set on fire, women abused as Muslims gatecrash wedding celebration in Farooqabad, Pakistan
A Christian pre-wedding celebration on 10 December was gatecrashed by a group of Muslims in Farooqabad, near Faisalabad in Punjab, Pakistan.
The mob proceeded to abuse the women present, steal money and jewellery and set the house on fire.
The event, hosted by Christian sanitation worker Wazir Masih at his home, was to celebrate the forthcoming marriage of his son Ahsan. A Muslim neighbour, Tahir Pehlwan, interrupted proceedings by entering the house uninvited and harassing the women.
After being ejected, Tahir Pehlwan returned with several others, physically attacking the male guests and attempting to strip the women.
During the ensuing mayhem shots were fired by the intruders, causing alarm among those in neighbouring houses.
The groom, Ahsan Masih, called the police, prompting the intruders to leave. However, they later returned, stealing jewellery and cash intended for the bride and groom, and setting the house on fire.
The Masih family submitted a First Information Report, recorded on 12 December. Subsequently police registered a case against ten people: Tahir Pehlwan, Sajid Pehlwan, Goga Pehlwan, Kaku Pehlwan, Billa son of Mokha and five unidentified individuals.
These ten are accused of several offences. They are answerable for theft, trespass with intent to assault, arson and using “criminal force to any woman” with the intent to “outrage her modesty”.
An unconfirmed number of suspects have been arrested and subsequently released on bail.
Local human rights activist Robin Daniel lamented that Muslims are able to attack Christians “for their faith, and do not consider them worthy of equal rights”. He vowed, “We shall not remain silent and will fight for justice.”