A few years ago I visited Youhanabad, one of the largest Christian neighbourhood in Punjab, Pakistan. I remember the endless houses and an acute sense of love and unity in the air. Today this sense of a peaceful community has gone and instead blood, violence and destruction show their grim presence after 15 innocent people, including seven Muslims, died last week in the wake of suicide Church bomb attacks on 15 March 2015.
The unfortunate history of minorities in Pakistan is littered with violence and institutional discrimination at all levels. Minorities are ‘othered’ by the land they belong to. Their patriotism is questioned and their loyalty to the country is often mingled with doubt and suspicion. Are Christians alienated in their own country?
Global Minorities Alliance vehemently condemns the utter negligence of Government and its on-going blatant disregard of the protection of religious minorities in Pakistan, which is a cause of grave concern for people everywhere.
On Sunday March 15 2015, the peaceful worship of the largest Christian community in Punjab was disrupted by atrocious terrorist attacks. The Christian community of Youhanabad, Lahore had been the target of two suicide bombings in two churches which killed 15 people and left more than 70 injured.
GMA’s Chief Executive, Manassi Bernard commented: “Pakistan Government has failed on number of occassions to protect religious places inspite of consistent requests from local churches which, has contributed to these fresh violence and the irreplaceable loss of innocent lives.”
Mr Bernard further maintained that: “We can not imagine the trauma of families who lost their loved ones during the recent attack and we extend our condolence to the bereaved families.”
He further said: “It is the fundamental right of every citizen to protest when rights are suppressed but he further urged Christian community in Pakistan to protest without taking law in its own hand.”
Brutal murder of Christian couple shows how dangerous Pakistan is for minorities
Global Minorities Alliance, a human rights charity which fights for minority communities the world over, has condemned the brutal murder of a Christian couple in the Punjab region of Pakistan following allegations of blasphemy.
Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, a married couple with four children, were beaten and then burnt alive in a brick kiln where they worked yesterday (4 November) after they were accused of desecrating the Quran by a co-worker.
According to the Pakistan Christian Post, mosque loudspeakers in Kot Rada Kishan, Kasur district of Punjab, were used to call a Muslim mob together to ‘teach a lesson to the blasphemers’. After the mob had beaten the couple and burnt them alive, other Christians in the area fled fearing for their safety.
The news of the attack came on the same day that the Prince of Wales called on faith leaders not to remain silent over the worldwide suffering of religious minorities, and described the persecution of Christians around the world as an ‘indescribable tragedy’.