Police in Vehari, Punjab Province, Pakistan filed false charges of alcohol possession against 47 Christians -- including women and children -- on March 28, 2010 in an attempt to intimidate and bribe them. the Compass Direct News website reports today.
Police broke into and ransacked the home of Shaukat Masih at 10:15 p.m. on Palm Sunday, manhandled his wife Parveen Bibi, and threatened to charge them and 45 other area Christians with alcohol possession if they did not pay a bribe, said Attorney Albert Patras. The Christians refused.
Patras said, "Police thought the Christians -- being a soft target -- would readily be bribed to save their families, particularly their girls and women."
Non-Muslims with a permit are allowed to possess and drink alcohol in Pakistan, while alcohol is forbidden to Muslims in Pakistan. Shaukat Masih has a government permit to keep and drink alcohol, Patras said, thus making the possession charge baseless.