Catholic Church Body condemns attack on Churches. PCP Report by Abbas Kassar.
21 Feb 2006
HYDERABAD: National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) a human rights body of the Catholic Church in Pakistan has condemned destruction of two Churches, School and other properties (Saint Mary's Church and Saint Savior's Church of Pakistan) at Sukkur city of Sindh by a mob after a dubious allegation of blasphemy. Mr. Christopher Robert, Director of NCJP Hyderabad said in a statement issued here on Monday " we strongly condemn this terrible breakdown of law and order machinery and government's inability to stop abuse of religion and law in Pakistan yesterday. The incident is sad reminder of Shanti Nagar (1997) and Sangla Hill (Punjab) destruction of Churches by miscreants. A willful negligence on part of law enforcing agencies was also the common feature in all these incidents. In the current also Father Yakoob Gill and Priest at Sukkur informed the District Police Officer and local police station house officer when the crowd had gathered in the evening. However police failed to protect."
The statement continued " it is sad to note that the properties and places of worship of the religious minorities are increasingly becoming a target by extremist attack and grabbing. It is because the government has tried to ignore the incident that showed dangerous trends in religious intolerance. The government has failed in addressing root causes of religious intolerance which are indigenous and their treatment lies in repeal of laws and policies based on religious intolerance." The Church leader said " therefore we demand that the government should ensure a just inquiry by the police, bring the culprits to justice and adopting a clear policy towards inculcating democracy, peace and tolerance in the country. This is only possible by way of educating masses in tolerance and not religious biases taught through curriculum, media and other means. The hate material published and aired will have to be stopped if the government wants to see an end to such attacks in the country. We also demand of the government of Pakistan to make people at home aware of the consequences of redundant, misleading and dangerous concepts of blasphemy." The statement further said, " We also call upon the Christians and all citizens to remain peaceful, be aware of rumors, respect others faith and save their Pakistan trends."