Neither the Idara nor its staff has ever taken part in evangelizing. Catholic priest denies conversion reports. By Robin Fernandez. PCP report.


KARACHI: October 31. A Catholic priest on Tuesday quashed reports that the Institute of Justice and Peace was engaged in proselytizing members of other faiths. "The Idara-e-Amn-o-Insaf is a champion of social justice and has nothing to do with makin

He was responding to reports appearing in the Urdu-language press about the alleged conversions the Christian-run NGO was supposed to have made. One publication owned by a religious right-wing group, Ummat, even went so far as to say that the Idara had converted 5,000 Muslims to Christianity.

"If even one person is found have been converted by the Idara, I personally am prepared to face jail," the priest said.

The police have sealed the offices of the Idara, located in Rimpa Plaza, for the past four weeks.

"Neither the Idara nor its staff has ever taken part in evangelizing, so how could this be true?" he said. "In fact, its social uplift schemes have benefited all communities. No community was excluded. In any case human rights does not preclude any faith," he added.

His words were meant to appease the Muslim majority community, whose clerics have whipped up frenzy over the issue. For the most part, Muslim clerics distrust the work of Christian institutions and view their activities with suspicion.

Meanwhile, human-rights activists have urged the authorities to announce compensation to the relatives of seven Christian NGO workers murdered last month. "More than a month has passed since the tragedy, and despite that we have not heard of any compensation to the heirs of the fallen workers," Sulaiman Chiragh, a spokesman for the Conscience group. "The Joint Action Committee set up for the purpose has failed to provide compensation to the victims' families," he said. "The national election too has ended, so there is no explanation for the delay in awarding compensation," he added.

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