In Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, a harrowing assault unfolded on April 16, 2024, as a Christian farming family, the Yousafs, was viciously attacked by a mob led by local notables Khawar Ali and Baber Ali. This violent confrontation at Chak 694/36 GB saw around 50 individuals storming the family’s wheat fields, not only harvesting their crops without consent but also inflicting brutal physical harm on family members.

Shahnaz Yousaf, a victim and daughter of the farmer Yousaf, detailed the early morning attack where assailants used crop-harvesting machinery as a tool for intimidation and theft. Her three brothers—Ashraf, Riaz, and Ilyas Yousaf—and widow sister Bushra Iqbal suffered severe injuries during the assault, including broken limbs and noses. Additionally, the attackers confiscated mobile phones to prevent the victims from recording the violence.

The family’s connection to the land dates back to 1989 when their father, Yousaf Nawaz Masih, was granted 77 canals of barren land as part of a government initiative to rehabilitate unused lands. Over decades, the family transformed the once-barren land into productive farmland. Despite their longstanding efforts and compliance with financial obligations to the government, they found themselves targeted by Khawar Ali and Baber Ali, who are accused of orchestrating the attack with alleged support from local police.

Ashraf Masih’s interactions with law enforcement were disheartening, facing indifference and outright dismissal of their legal rights to the land. The situation was exacerbated by challenges in obtaining accurate medical reports from the local DHQ hospital, raising fears of undue influence exerted by the attackers.

This incident is part of a larger pattern of land disputes in the area, marked by intimidation and violence, often with tacit or active police collusion. In February 2024, Shahnaz Yousaf was temporarily abducted by Khawar Ali as a tactic to force the family to relinquish their land, a situation resolved only through community intervention.

Now, with their crops stolen and facing ongoing medical and financial hardships, the Yousaf family is battling in court for justice and the right to their land. They hold a high court stay order affirming their right to the land, yet local enforcement at the Aroti Police Station in Toba Tek Singh has not respected this legal decision.

The family is reaching out for support from the wider Christian community and seeks intervention from higher governmental authorities to address their plight and secure justice. Their struggle highlights the broader issues of minority rights and land security in rural Pakistan, underscoring the need for comprehensive reforms to protect vulnerable populations from exploitation and legal disenfranchisement.