Wave of protests against attacks on Christians rattle Pakistan

Pakistani Christian

In the midst of an overwhelming global anguish over the Israel-Hamas conflict, a minor but powerful wave of anger has been gathering pace across world capitals against Pakistan over the systematic assaults on Christians, especially the August attack on churches, pastors and devouts in Punjab province’s Jaranwala town.

The Pak diplomatic missions have been rattled by the continuing protests in various capitals.

Armed mobs, led by maulvis, attacked at least two churches, scores of houses of Christians and pastors over allegations of blasphemy against two Christians. Hundreds of people armed with batons and sticks attacked the Salvation Army Church and the Saint Paul Catholic Church, setting them ablaze. Another mob attacked private homes, torching them and breaking windows.

The attacks had not only terrorised the minority community within the country but also Christian populations across the world.

Across the global capitals, a continuing series of protests are being witnessed outside Pakistan consulates, demanding justice for the minority community and a stop to the continuing atrocities against Christians and other minorities. In Pakistan, a systematic campaign has been continuing against minorities with heinous blasphemy laws used as weapons of suppression.

In Melbourne, over 50 Christians stood outside the Pakistan consulate demanding action against law keepers for their failure to protect the minorities. In Chicago, a delegation of Christian Pakistanis called on the counsellor to express their anger and dismay at the continuing assault on Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

In Glasgow, the Christian protesters met the Counsel-General of Pakistan and handed him a resolution demanding action against culpable security personnel for their failure to protect the Christian locality and churches. In Rome, a group of Christians protested against Pakistan for the Jaranwala attack. They plan to hold similar demonstrations at the Vatican and other places.

In September, the Pakistan High Commission in London reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad that the Jaranwala incident had created a serious resentment in the Christian diaspora in the UK.

The Pakistan diplomats in the US have expressed a similar sentiment on the Jaranwala incident. They have pointed out to Islamabad that the United States Commission on Religious Freedom has published two new reports on blasphemy laws. The fact sheets state that over 95 countries, including Pakistan, have laws that criminalise expressions offensive to religious sentiments, figures and symbols. Such laws were incompatible with international human rights law, especially the right of freedom of religion and opinion. The fact sheet, in particular, raises serious concerns about new laws being introduced in Pakistan that target minority communities, especially the Ahmadiyyas.

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