Pakistan: Escaping the mob

Report
from Operation Blessing
Published on 27 Aug 2009 View Original
By: Heather Murphy

GOJRA, Pakistan - When an angry mob suddenly attacked a neighborhood of homes with torches and gas, most of the residents ran for the fields. Many left warm dinners on their kitchen tables. Some didn't even have time to put on their shoes before they started running.

The attack that July night was part of a wave of violence against a Christian community in Northern Pakistan. Christian books were burned, people were assaulted and many homes were destroyed.

80-year-old Munchi Masih couldn't run from the mob. Though his family escaped, Munchi was too feeble to evacuate that quickly. He dragged himself to nearby bushes and hid there. As he watched between the leaves, his home was set on fire and destroyed.

"I spent all night in terror," Munchi said. "I feared [that] any snake or dangerous thing would bite or attack or [that] anyone [would] know it was me there," he said.

Munchi's neighbors, paralyzed 83-year-old Baba Sharif Masih and his wife, 73-year-old Hanifa Bibi, couldn't move fast enough to even hide. They begged the attackers to spare their home.

"I fell at their feet [asking them] to not beat us or throw us out of the village," Hanifa said. "They set our house ablaze in front of our eyes."

Three days later, her husband Baba died.

Operation Blessing partnered with the American Center of Law and Justice (ACLJ) to provide emergency relief to Masih, Bibi and 60 other families displaced by the attacks, which killed 14 people and left 300 homeless.

OBI provided two warm meals a day and electric fans for the families. The ACLJ's in-country partner organization, the Community Development Initiative, helped distribute the relief.

"We were broken, dismal and had abandoned hope, but support from you and other Christian brothers and sisters from around the world and inside the country... has raised us again," Munchi said.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

You can help by making an online donation toward OBI's disaster relief efforts. With your support, we can continue to provide emergency relief and recovery. Please make an on-line donation today.