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Christians in Pak flee Sangla following threats from fanatics

New Kerala ( India )

12/31/05

Lahore : The Christian community in Pakistan ‘s Sangla Hill has started fleeing the area following threats from religious organizations who threatened to demonstrate against their colleagues, arrested on charges of burning down churches and pastoral residences in the area.

The provincial police had arrested 88 people after a mob attacked and burned down four churches, a Christian school and two pastor residences on November 12.

“There was lots of panic in the area, as several Christians fled the locality after the threatening calls and demonstration plans. But this time round police acted swiftly and cordoned off the area with the help of hundreds of security personnel and therefore the demonstration plans had to be abandoned. If the situation continues to remain calm, I think most Christians will return home tonight,” the Daily Times quoted Father Samson Dilawar as saying.

Meanwhile local religious organisations led by the tehsil nazim, has threatened to demonstrate against the detention of their activists. The demonstration call was followed by a series of threatening calls to various Christian community activists where they threatened to kill Christians if cases against their activists were not withdrawn.

“There were fears of another attack on the Christian community, as local religious leaders delivered fiery sermons during Friday prayers, but police did not allow them to demonstrate,” said Nasir Gill, a local.

Police officials, however, said that the situation was under control.

“We spoke to the tehsil nazim and other religious leaders of the area and told them that any attempt to demonstrate won’t be tolerated. We have deployed about 12 police platoons around the town and I don’t see any violence taking place. We are also trying to trace the anonymous callers who are threatening Christians,” said Zulfiqar Hameed, Nankana Sahib District Police Officer (DPO).