â€œChristian community in Pakistan should not be identified with the West. We are Pakistanis first and Pakistanis last,â€ Shahbaz Bhatti
01 Mar 2006
ISLAMABAD, Feb 28: (dawn) The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) on Tuesday sought protection of the religious places of minorities against the attacks triggered by the publication of blasphemous sketches in European newspapers.
The APMA chairman, Mr Shahbaz Bhatti, told reporters here that four churches in Sangla Hill, Peshawar, Sukkur and Sargodha were attacked since the publication of sketches.
On Tuesday morning, attempts were made to burn a church in Sargodha but security personnel were called in to preempt the attack, he said.
The alliance held a meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss the issue. Senior members of the minorities communities attended the meeting. They included Bishop of Rawalpindi/Islamabad Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church Rev Anthony Lobo, Bishop of Faisalabad Diocese of Church of Pakistan Rev John Samuel and APMA executive secretary Cecil Chaudhary. They passed several resolutions condemning the publication of sketches and urging an inter-faith dialogue.
The resolution urged that the Christian community in Pakistan should not be identified with the West. "We are Pakistanis first and Pakistanis last," they said.
They expressed deep sorrow over the attacking of churches and other Christian institutions in different cities and called upon the Muslim religious and political leaders to restrain the people from committing such acts.
The APMA representatives urged the government to arrest the culprits, who had instigated the attacking and arson of churches and Christian institutions. They also sought protection to the life and property of all citizens.
WIFCP: World Inter-Faith Congress of Pakistan on Tuesday condemned the publication of blasphemous sketches in certain European newspapers and demanded that the United Nations prepare a legal framework barring anyone from desecrating any of the holy prophets.
A resolution presented by Rt Rev Bishop Javed Albert to the United Nations officials for Secretary General Kofi Annan said: "The UNO should prepare and implement a legal framework according to which nobody be allowed to desecrate the holiness of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Jesus, Moses, David and other prophets."
The bishop on this occasion was accompanied by people from different faiths.
To prevent the recurrence of such an incident in future, the Congress demanded that not only a code should be prepared for media and publications, but also it should be implemented in letter and spirit.
The Congress demanded an exemplary punishment for those involved in the publication of sketches. The publication of sketches, it said, had exposed the European claims of an independent press.
They further demanded that the people responsible for the publication of sketches be made to apologise to the Muslims and others for their unscrupulous act. The Congress believed that the publication of sketches was an attempt to damage the efforts to build inter-faith harmony.