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ANS (04/05/06) – The burning of a Bible and other sacred texts by four Muslim men in the Tibba Shomali area of Tehsil (administrative division) Mian Channu of district Multan has prompted over 1,500 Christians to stage a protest against the incident that occurred on Tuesday evening, April 4.

Four men were caught while burning the Bible, calendars carrying the picture of Jesus Christ and other Christian booklets, reports the Pakistan-based Daily Times.

“We caught four people — Hafiz Islam, Hafiz Abid, Rana Abdul Ghaffar and Rana Abdul Jabbar — burning our sacred books and literature on a heap of garbage on Tuesday evening,” the Daily Times quoted Pakistan Christian Writers Guild president, AD Sahil, as saying.

Union Council Naib, Nazim Ch Shamoon Kaiser, told the Daily Times: “Two chapters of the Bible, calendars carrying portraits of Jesus Christ and booklets containing religious literature were reduced to ashes.”

The Councilor added that enraged Christian mob tried to attack the accused but the elders intervened to save their lives.

A former district councilor, the Daily Times said, condemned the incident but asked the Christians of the area not to take law into their hands.

A local priest, Nathaniel Barkat, whose protestant church was attacked by a group of unidentified people on March 30, had appealed to Police on April 2 to provide security to Christian residents of the area. The culprits involved in the incident are still at large.

Five churches have been attacked in Pakistan within two months. The fresh incident of setting the Bible on fire disputes the recent claim by the minister for local bodies, Raja Basharat, that there existed complete harmony between Muslims and Christians in the province of Punjab .