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“Protect Us Or Expel Us!” Christians of Pakistan Demand Security

Posted on | September 30, 2013 | No Comments

ICC Note:

Christians across Pakistan have been demanding the government for security following the bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar. In that attack, as many as 100 Christians were killed and over 150 were wounded. This attack has led many Christians to renew their demands for security in Pakistan, especially at their places of worship. 

9/29/2013 Pakistan (Tribune) – Christian representatives have demanded army deployment at churches to prevent future terrorist attacks.

Security arrangements for churches are ineffective as witnessed in the twin suicide blasts on September 22, said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) minority wing leader Nasir Masih Sahotra. Christians now want the army to protect their churches, he added.

“We believe inadequate security is the main reason behind the successful attack on All Saints’ Church near Kohati Gate. More steps should be taken to protect our places of worship,” maintained Sahotra.

He further said the number of people who died in the September 22 attack is higher than the official figure released.

“We have prepared a list of 139 dead and 160 injured. Most people did not go to the hospital and were directly taken to their houses for burial,” Sahotra told The Express Tribune on Thursday. Relatives of the deceased are now getting death certificates issued from the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), he added.

Sahotra went on to blame the LRH for providing substandard medication to hospitalised victims and demanded better quality medicines be procured and provided to the injured to ensure proper recovery.

Meanwhile, at a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Thursday, Christian Action Committee (CAC) general secretary and National Peace Committee for Interfaith Harmony member Khalid Shahzad also urged for better security.

“Christians have been targeted in several incidents in the past.” Shahzad sought the deployment of Rangers and the Pakistan Army at all churches across the country. In line with previous demands by Christian representatives, the CAC member demanded arms licences be issued to members of church committees so they provide security as well.

The government did not take previous incidents seriously, which lead to the tragedy in Peshawar, he said.

Flanked by committee members Javed Asim, Qazi Abdul Wahid and Tariq Siraj, the representative blamed the government for failing in its prime responsibility to protect the lives and property of its people, including adherents of other religions.

“We demand stern action be taken against police officials immediately, and the perpetrators of the heinous attack be brought to justice,” he said, adding: “Foolproof arrangements have to be made to protect all churches and Christian residential colonies under a comprehensive security plan.”

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