Mr. Nasir Saeed, the coordinator of CLAAS UK has expressed great concern over the attacks on Christians in Pakistan.
25 Feb 2006
London: Mr. Nasir Saeed has expressed grave concern over attacks on Churches in Sukkur. He said that according to information on 19th February 2006, local Muslims in Sukkur attacked the resident Christians destroying their properties and not only that, they desecrated and set ablaze St. Xavier Church and St. Mary Catholic Church. This is the third major attack on Christians since Shantinagar and Sangla Hill attacks in 1997 and November 2005 respectively.
Mr. Saeed Added said as per news items a Muslim namely Irfan who had married a Christian girl, set the Quran to fire and accused his Christian father-in-law Mr. Saleem Gill for that. The rumour spread like a fire amongst the local Muslims who were already aggravated over the sacrilegious cartoon recently published throughout the world. Consequently, thousands of Muslims attacked Christians and whatever came into way was turned into ashes. The actual background of this false accusation was the land dispute between Irfan and his father-in-law Saleem Gill.
Furthermore, the countrywide protests against the publishing of the sacrilegious cartoons also led to the attacks on Christian Edward College, St. Michael Convent School, St. Elizabeth Girls College and a Mission hospital in Peshawar (13th and 15th February), a girls school run by the Presbyterian church in Kasur (40 Kilometers from Lahore) several churches and Christian properties have been attacked within almost 2 weeks time, Christians throughout Pakistan have lost their faith in the verbal protection by the government and many of them are scared of attending churches or going out of their houses.
Mr. Nasir Saeed strongly condemned the insulting cartoons saying that they have no relevance to Christians in Pakistan whose believe in their Pakistani Identity and have always been faithful to the state, despite continuous discrimination and persecution. Pakistani Christians are not involved in the publishing of these cartoons and people who are pouring out religious hatred should realise that such attacks do not actually address the issue with the West appropriately.
He further said that the continuous atrocities against Christians going unquestioned clearly contradicts the concept of Pakistan as a democratic and moderate society and to date, the Government has proved rather unwilling to address them seriously. It is for this reason that ordinary people take law into their hands and put the lives of innocent Christians and the prestige of their religious places on fire. The crucial aspect of this inter-religious disharmony is that in the past, the instigators have never been brought to justice and sustained outcome never achieved to stop further attacks.
Mr. Nasir Saeed has urge the Pakistani Government to ensure the protection of Christians and the instigators behind the destruction of Christian properties in Sangla Hill, Sakhar, Peshawar and Kasur should be brought to justice in order to put to end to the rising hatred tides and promote peace and inter-faith harmony in the country.