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Pakistani Family Reportedly Beaten by Gun-Toting Muslims, Farmland Stolen as Police Refuse to Help

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Police officers in Pakistan are reportedly refusing to help a Catholic family who fell victim to an attack by armed Muslims.

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Shahnaz Yousaf told Christian Daily International–Morning Star News her family saw their farmland seized during an April 16 assault.

Dozens of armed Muslims reportedly arrived on the scene while the family was harvesting wheat – something they’ve purportedly done on the land since leasing it from the government in 1989.

Ashraf Yousaf, Shahnaz’s brother, described a chaotic scene in which armed Muslims came with guns and other weapons. He said he was attacked and beaten as were his siblings when they tried to help.

The perpetrators left the scene before cops arrived. Later, when the family sought medical treatment, the Muslims allegedly came back to the property and stole the wheat and other food they were growing.

“When we reached the police station and told them what had happened in our absence, the officer on duty refused to register our complaint and said that our plight will end only when we surrender to the demand of the Muslim landowners,” Ashraf Yousaf told Christian Daily International–Morning Star News.

The backstory surrounding the land dispute helps provide important context. The family had, in recent years, struggled to pay out the lease. Thus, they were reportedly instructed last year to pay 3.5 million rupees ($13,000) to keep the land. Shahnaz Yousaf said the family scrambled to get the money last year and was successful in paying the required deposit.

“It was not easy to gather such a big amount on such short notice,” she said. “Yet we sold all our valuable possessions to pay the lease amount within the given deadline.”

Months went by with no issue until the family learned the landlords were pushing for the land to go up for bidding at an auction — an act the family successfully challenged with a court injunction. But the story didn’t end there, as officials reportedly still progressed toward taking back the land.

These events, including the injunction, all came before the most recent assault.

“Despite the court’s order, the assistant commissioner leased the land in the name of Atif Ali, the son of Babar Ali,” Shahnaz Yousaf told Christian Daily International–Morning Star News. “We came to know of this shadowy auction a week later when police and revenue department officials arrived on the site and destroyed the fodder that we had cultivated for our cattle.”

The family, desperate to stop these events, begged authorities to stop — but to no avail.

“We pleaded with them to stop and even showed them the court’s order, but they refused to listen to us,” she said.

Again, the family turned to the commissioner’s office for reprieve and were granted the right to continue working on the land — their only source of sustenance. That’s when Shahnaz Yousaf said harassment and threats from police started.

After Yousaf’s brother was threatened by local Muslims, he called the cops.

“We were shocked when a police team, instead of arresting the perpetrators, stormed our house and damaged household items,” Shahnaz Yousaf said, noting she was taken and kept in police custody for two hours and her family was told a release was dependent on the family giving up their land.

A local leader intervened and she was released, but the harassment continued in the form of fake cases being launched against them and even damage to their crops. The April 16 assault is yet another chapter in that saga.

Yousaf said her family has never had problems with others, but now realizes “we are not equals in the eyes of the law.” Tragically, they’ve lost everything.

“We have lost everything, our livelihood, our money and most of all the hope of getting justice,” Ashraf Yousaf said of the ordeal, noting they’re using any remaining money they have to deal with injuries.

The family hopes Christian leaders and others will intervene to help them seek justice. Read more about the case here.

Christian persecution continues to be a major problem in Pakistan, with the country ranking on Open Doors’ World Watch List as the seventh most dangerous place for Christians.

“Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are often used to target minority groups, but Christians are disproportionately affected,” the Open Doors report reads. “Indeed, roughly a quarter of all blasphemy accusations target Christians, who only make up 1.8% of the population.”

As CBN News previously reported, a pastor survived an assassination attempt last year. There was also a horrific Aug. 16 during which churches and Christians’ homes were attacked by Muslim mobs over blasphemy allegations in the same area, the UCA News reported.

That incident led to at least 129 arrests.

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About The Author

Billy Hallowell writes for CBN's He has been working in journalism and media for more than a decade. His writings have appeared in CBN News, Faithwire, Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite, PureFlix, and Fox News, among other outlets. He is the author of several books, including Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts Hallowell has a B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York and an M.S. in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.