March 24 – 30, 2014

March 24: Polio vaccinator killed in Peshawar

The severely tortured body of a polio vaccinator was found in a field near Peshawar a few days after she had been abducted. The victim, Salma Farooqui, had played an active role in the ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ anti-polio campaign recently launched by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. She had previously received death threats for her work in the campaign. Dawn

March 27: Two cops guarding polio teams slain in seperate incidents 

Three people including two policemen were killed in separate incidents targeting polio vaccinators in Loralai in Balochistan and Ratodero in Sindh.

In Larkana, unidentified men fired at polio vaccination team, killing two people including a policeman who was providing security to the team.

In Loralai, two armed men opened fire at a police officer who was standing outside a house where campaigners were administering polio drops to children. Pakistan Today

March 27: Death sentence for Christian for blasphemy

A year after Lahore’s Joseph Colony was gutted by rioters, a court decision on the incident which sparked the attacks has rekindled the controversy.

Sawan Masih was awarded the death sentence for being seen to have committed an act of blasphemy. Masih maintained his innocence and argued that the real reason for the blasphemy allegations was a property dispute between him and a friend.

More than 3,000 Muslims had rampaged through Joseph Colony, torching some 100 Christian homes, after the allegations against Masih had initially emerged in March last year.  The News

March 28: Hindu temple set on fire in Hyderabad

A small temple belonging to the Hindu community was desecrated in Sindh’s second largest city. Three unidentified attackers entered the temple of the deity, Hanuman, where they prayed for several minutes. The men then broke the temple’s idols before setting the building on fire. The attack triggered protests at across the city, particularly in the Fateh Chowk, Tando Wali Muhammad, Liaquat Colony, Cantt, Bombay Bakery and GOR Colony areas. Express Tribune

Former JI director ambushed in Lahore
Noted columnist, TV anchor and former director of the Jinnah Institute Raza Rumi narrowly escaped death after a car he was travelling in was attacked by gunmen. The attackers ambushed the vehicle in Lahore’s Raja Bazaar, spraying it with bullets. Rumi escaped with minor injuries, but the driver of the vehicle was killed in the attacks, while Rumi’s security guard was also left in a critical condition. Rumi had received threats from various militant groups in the past for his forthright views. This was the fifth attack on employees of the Express Media Group. Three staff members of the group lost their lives in an attack earlier this year. Dawn