Pakistani Christians demand arrest of Christmas Day church attackers. By KHALID TANVEER, Associated Press Writer.
11 Jan 2003
MULTAN, Pakistan - Jan . 09. Some 400 Pakistani Christians demonstrated Thursday to demand further arrests over an attack on a Protestant church on Christmas Day in which three girls died. The protesters gathered in front of the Press Club building
They waved banners reading "Save us, save Pakistan," "We want peace" and "Stop religious terrorism." Police officers stood nearby but did not interfere.
Police have already arrested four people for the Dec. 25 grenade attack on a small church in Chianwala, a village in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province, where Multan is also located.
The protesters chanted "Down with Jamali's government" in an expression of anger for the failure of Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali to counter an increase in violence against Christians in Pakistan, an Islamic republic.
In the Christmas Day attack, two assailants covered in burqas - the all-encompassing garment worn by women in some Islamic countries - tossed a grenade into a crowd of worshippers, killing girls aged 6,10 and 15.
In an earlier attack, seven people were killed execution-style when gunmen entered the office of a Christian welfare group in Karachi in September and shot the victims in the heads. And in August, assailants raided a Christian school filled with foreign children in Murree, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Islamabad. Six Pakistanis, including guards and non-teaching staff, were killed.
"The present and previous governments have failed to arrest the terrorists behind the attacks on Christians," said Naveed Amir in an address to the protesters. A lawmaker in the Punjab assembly.
Jamali, who was elected in November, had condemned the Chianwala church attack and his government has promised to increase security for Christians.
The violence targeting Christians and foreigners in Pakistan is blamed mainly on militant Islamic groups angered by the country's alliance with the United States in its war against terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan (news - web sites).
One of the suspects arrested for involvement in the Chianwala church attack is an Islamic cleric believed linked to the outlawed pro-Taliban organization Jaish-e-Mohammed.