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Attack on Christians in Pakistan

23/11/2005: Pakistan

From Faisalabad, Pakistan: “There has been a very bad attack on Christians about 45 Km from here. On Saturday, 12th November, a mob descended upon the Christian community at Sangla Hill in the Lahore Diocese. Fortunately there was no loss of life, but three Christian churches (Catholic, Salvation Army and Presbyterian) were destroyed. The Marist Brothers are in Faisalabad, not far from the troubled area, where they are administering a Technical Institute for the diocese and establishing a formation house.
At the root of this sort of trouble lies the Blasphemy Law which allows a person to bring a charge of blaspheming the Prophet or desecration of the Koran or Mosque against another…usually the basic trouble of the dispute lies elsewhere. A charge once brought is almost certainly going to stick.

This time the Christians are making a much stronger demand for justice from the Government than they have been inclined to do in the past. For example, the Report on the carnage at Shanti Nagar in 1997 in which there were killings and the complete destruction of two Christian villages has still not been made public and no one has been brought to justice. Today (Thursday) all Christian schools and Institutions throughout the country have closed in protest, and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace is organizing a protest on Sunday. The Bishops and the Commission have had talks with the Prime Minister and other officials. Again, of course, the PM has promised an inquiry and “exemplary” punishment on those responsible.
And it is interesting to note that, despite early warning, the police did nothing to prevent the destruction or stop it after it started. The Army finally arrived and restored an uneasy peace. An editorial in a Newspaper said: “Incitement of hatred are shockingly routine in Pakistan. Here is, unfortunately, another instance of the truth of this statement.”

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