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BosNewsLife – Weeks after the body of a slain prominent Catholic layman was discovered, thousands of Pakistani believers gathered in front of Pakistan ‘s parliament in Islamabad to pray and protest against persecution and social injustice, the Pakistan Christian Post online newspaper reported Tuesday, August 30. The Christians, dressed in sackcloth with ashes on their heads, held their demonstration as police investigations continued into the killing of prominent Roman Catholic layman Derick Cyprian, a former government minister for minorities, who was found, strangled on the outskirts of the eastern city of Lahore, August 9. His murder has been linked to Cyprian’s efforts as minister to amend Pakistan ’s controversial blasphemy laws. Human rights watchers and church officials say vague statutes have been misused by Muslim extremists to sentence Christian and other minorities to years of imprisonment without bail and threaten them with execution, until the “false charges” are overturned. Former Federal Minister J. Salik, who is reportedly a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, said during the Islamabad demonstration that in the last 58 years, “minority problems have not been solved” and that the government “should listen to their problems at least once a year.” Christians account for less than three percent of Pakistan ‘s 150 million mainly Muslim population, and have been targeted by Islamist militant groups, who also influence politics. Salik expressed concern about the apparently anti-Christian climate, including restrictions on changing religions as well as the alleged discrimination of Christians in the state budget. He said many believers were deprived of “basic facilities” and forced to live in poverty and slums…[Go To Full Story]