Pakistani Christians Speak Out Against Religiously Motivated Killings
Pakistani Christians have spoken out against religiously motivated killings in their country saying the killing of innocents on the basis of their faith is unacceptable. This statement comes days after gunmen kill at least 45 members of a minority sect of Islam in Karachi. Christians went on to demand better protections for religious minorities and their places of worship in Pakistan. Last month, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) labeled Pakistan among the worst violators of religious freedom, specifically highlighting the insecurity of the country’s religious minorities. Will Pakistan take steps to protect its religious minorities?
5/20/2015 Pakistan (Christian Daily) – After a recent attack on a religious minority group in Pakistan, the Catholic Church’s human rights body in Pakistan has called on the government to better protect minority groups.
According to UCA news, the National Commission for Justice and Peace spoke out after 45 members of the Shia Ismaili community were killed last week in a bus attack in Karachi. Several extremist groups, including Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The NCJP held a service at Karachi’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to honor those killed. Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts and NCJP National Director Fr. Saleh Diego said in a joint statement that the “killing of innocent people on the basis of their faith is unacceptable.”
“We demand from both the federal government and provincial governments to take serious and effective measures to prevent such atrocities and also plead to increase security for all minority groups,” they added.
During the service, Archbishop Coutts said attempts were being made to create a rift among religious groups in Pakistan.
“Our aim should be to foil such attempts and bridge the distance between religious groups,” he said.
Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the past decade. Many Christians accuse the government of not doing enough to protect them, saying politicians are quick to offer condolences after an attack but slow to take any steps to improve security.