Earlier this week, the office of a Christian television channel was burned to the ground by unknown assailants in Karachi, Pakistan. Owners and employees of the Christian channel claim the attack was religiously motivated and took careful planning to execute. Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan are often targeted by radical groups. In March, suicide bombers attacked two churches in Lahore killing almost 20 people.
11/26/2015 Pakistan (New York Times) – Police officials said Thursday that they were investigating a fire this week that destroyed the office of a Christian cable television station in this southern port city.
Employees of the station, Gawahi TV, said the fire at their office was deliberately set.
There have been a number of recent attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan. More than a dozen people were killed in two bombings outside churches in Lahore in March, and Christians in Pakistan are routinely targeted by sectarian militant groups and local criminals.
Last week, a factory was burned, and a mosque owned by the Ahmadis, a Muslim sect considered heretical by Pakistan’s Sunni majority, was attacked over allegations that a factory worker had burned pages of the Quran. Army troops were called in to calm the situation in Jhelum, a city in Punjab Province.
Such acts of violence have continued in Pakistan despite the government’s repeated pledges to safeguard religious minorities, prompting some advocates of religious rights to question the government’s commitment.
The fire at Gawahi TV’s office was reported around 3 a.m. on Tuesday and took nearly two hours to extinguish. By daybreak, the three-room office was a burned-out hulk.
On Thursday, employees who days before had been planning their Christmas broadcast schedule gingerly stepped around large piles of half-burned religious books as they walked through the office. A charred copy of the Bible sat atop the reception desk.
Javed William, whose brother, Pastor Sarfraz William, is the owner of Gawahi TV, said the fire appeared to be a planned attack. “The door locks were cut and the things were not where we had left them,” he said, adding that a security camera system had been destroyed in the fire.
Employees said computers were destroyed or stolen.
“The hard disks are missing,” said Irfan Daniel, an assistant manager. “Someone did this with a lot of thought.”
Javed William said he was not aware of any threats to the organization. “This is not an attack on us,” he said. “It is an attack on Christianity. Whoever did this does not want God’s work to happen.”