Christians were brutaly attacked in Pakistan

The mob attack was prompted by allegations that a resident of the colony made offensive comments about Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

(Photo: demotix.com)

By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi:In the wake of an attack on a Christian colony in Pakistan, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has appealed to the neighboring country to protect the lives and properties of community members and other minorities there.

In an open letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, GCIC president Sajan K. George also demanded the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries to uphold international treaties and covenants that uphold human rights in their own countries for peace and progress of humanity.

Hundreds of armed Muslims ransacked and burned an entire Christian locality, consisting more than 150 houses and two small churches, in Joseph colony at Noor Road in Lahore on March 8, forcing Christian families to flee for their life.

Pakistani authorities say that the mob attack was prompted by allegations that a resident of the colony made offensive comments about Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“This is the worst kind of human rights violation. We have a duty to respond and condemn any acts against our Christian brothers in Pakistan as the neighboring country is quick to react to anything that happens in India,” George told ucanews.com.

He said that the Pakistani government should engage seriously with international institutions to overcome obstacles in the way of improving human rights situation.

The GCIC urged Pakistan to implement ratified international treaties and adapt domestic laws to universal human rights, take serious measures rather than make baseless claims of progress, set up independent bodies to monitor human rights at both the national and local levels and work more closely with the international community and institutions.

“The level of threats that include non-safety of life and property, forced conversion of minor girls and kidnapping for ransom are too high and shows disappointment on insufficient steps taken by the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan,” he said in the letter.

It is the government’s fundamental responsibility to protect its citizens from all kinds of exploitation and discrimination, he added.

He said that The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Pakistan is a signatory to, spells out fundamental rights which are to be universally observed.

“Pakistan’s judiciary, free media and vigilant civil society have failed to prevent recurrence of attacks against non-combat civilians,” the letter stated.

George said, “We demand that civil society, political parties shall follow the course in exposing those individuals and groups behind religious cleansing of minority groups in Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, the top-level decision-making body of bishops in India regretted the incident and asked the Pakistani government to take stringent action against those miscreants responsible for it.

“It is quite distressing to note that in recent years, attack on Christians in several parts of Pakistan is on the increase and there is a growing sense of insecurity among the community,” said Archbishop Albert D’Souza, secretary general of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), in a press statement.

The CBCI is confident that the Pakistani government will take effective steps to dispel the growing sense of fear and insecurity among the minorities and will ensure freedom, safety and security for all the citizens of Pakistan.