Banner Placement Disagreement Sparks Clash Between Muslims and Christians in Kasur
In a distressing incident that occurred on September 18, 2023, at 8 am in the early morning, a group of Muslim men entered the fields of the Christian community in the village of Hari Haar, wielding sticks, pistols, and iron rods. Their target: the innocent Christian field workers who were present in the area at the time.
The altercation stemmed from a dispute that began earlier this month in September when several boys from the Muslim community attempted to remove a banner advertising a prayer meeting organized by a well-known ministry in Lahore, Bahar Colony, from the boundary wall of the homes of Rasheed, Tariq, and Hameed Masih.
These boys, who were advocating for the placement of a new banner promoting a political party overseeing road construction projects in Hari Haar and nearby villages, engaged in a heated argument with the Christian family. The disagreement escalated into a physical confrontation at the time but was seemingly resolved.
However, upon the return of Muhammad Akram, who had gone on Umrah (a pilgrimage to Mecca), his son Shoaib recounted the incident involving the banner to him. Outraged, Muhammad Akram gathered Muslims from neighboring areas once more, reigniting the conflict during the night of September 17.
The situation culminated in a major incident on the morning of September 18. Muslim individuals, armed with pistols, mercilessly attacked and injured several Christian men and women in the area. Anwar Masih sustained a gunshot wound to his leg, while Sharif Masih, suffered a head injury. Pervez, Tariq Manna, and many others were severely injured during the altercation.
Sohan Masih an eyewitness to the incident, reported that anyone who confronted the Muslim attackers was brutally injured.
To further complicate matters, the Muslim individuals, attempting to hide their actions, registered a First Information Report (FIR) with the police on September 19, 2023. FIR No. 2172/23 was filed at the Sadder Kasur police station, implicating the injured Christian individuals, as well as Rasheed Masih, Tariq Dammn, Munir, Kali Masih, Hameed Masih, sons of Manna Masih; Abel Masih, Moon Masih, son of Manzoor Masih; Anwar Masih, Pervez Masih, sons of Siddique Masih; Kashif Masih, Amanat Masih, and Naveed Masih.
Hari Haar village, located approximately 58 km away from the provincial capital of Lahore, near Gandda Singh village on the Pak-Indian Line of Control (LOC), is home to around 100 Christians and hosts three churches. Until this incident, both Muslims and Christians had coexisted peacefully in the village. However, the recent events in Jaranwala have cast a shadow over this peaceful harmony, leaving the residents of Hari Haar deeply concerned.