ASIA/PAKISTAN - The Church in Pakistan has “new martyr”: tragic death of Javed Anjum, young Catholic boy who died after 5 days of atrocious torture inflicted by Muslims extremists bent on making him renounce his faith

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Faisalabad (Fides Service) - There is grief and concern among Christians in Pakistan after the death of a young Catholic boy Javed Anjum, who died after 5 days of atrocious torture inflicted by Muslims extremists to make him renounce his faith and become a Muslim.
“We have a new martyr. Although we are deeply grieved at his death, Javed’s great faith and his blood, like that of all martyrs, will make us stronger” said Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, during the funeral mass for Javed Anjum.
“We call on civil authorities to see justice is done: to bring those responsible to justice is an act due to the family of Javed and to all of us”, the Bishop said in his homily, a copy of which was sent to Fides. Addressing the crowds who came for the funeral at Sacred Heart Church in Faisalabad the Bishop said. “His torturers tried to make him abjure his faith, but he refused preferring to die a true Christian”.
Javed, aged 19 was from Quetta. He died on 2 May at Faisalabad hospital of 26 knife wounds inflicted by teachers and students at an Islamic school five days earlier. On 17 April Javed was in Toba Tek Singh, 310 km south of Islamabad. He was walking along a street and had just passed the Jamia Hassan bin Almurtaza Koranic school when he was suddenly surrounded and abducted by a teacher and a group of students from the school. He was tortured for 5 and in the end his condition was so serious that his aggressors took him to the nearest police station and reported that he had been caught stealing. The police took the boy immediately to hospital but the doctors were unable to save him and he died of his wounds.
The case has led to protests from Christians all over Pakistan: the Catholic Bishops Commission for Justice and Peace is determined to take those responsible to court and raised the problem of “dangerous tendency of forced conversions”. The Commission says those responsible are trying to say that Javed was a drug addict and a criminal and says Punjab state authorities must “adopt long term measures to uproot religious hatred and measures to prevent similar abhorrent crimes ”.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/5/2004 lines 35 words 376)