Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fears of the Christians in Pakistan on Easter

Christian Community in Pakistan has been warned of further bloody attacks against the country’s minority community for the burning of the quran, government fails to take tougher action to ‘purge the roots of extremism’.

The warnings come in the wake of the attack on a Church located in Mardan City of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Although Christian community is already living under a wave of fear due to the two high profile assassinations in Islamabad, they fear the continuation of attacks against Christian institutions.

Bishop Alexander John Malik condemned the attack and says there had already been indications that militant groups were poised to attacks Christian institutions across Pakistan. “There is no doubt that we Christians are under a great threat over Easter ” he said. “We can expect there to be more attacks.”

“What’s happening now is an indication that the government has not done enough to crack down on extremist groups, Easter us being celebrated in fear, the clouds of fear have gathered for the Christians across Pakistan due to the recent attacks on Churches and Christians.” he says.

Mr. Rizwan Paul, who heads Life for All says the government has ‘failed to purge the roots of extremism. On one hand it is trying to crush terrorism by arresting extremists, but on the other, it has refused to ban extremist religious parties,” he said.

“[The extremists] call for a war against the infidel and for the establishment of a Taliban government at their public rallies.”

“We will be appealing to the international community to lean on the government to do more to protect the lives of Pakistan’s Christians, If it doesn’t, there will be far, far greater bloodshed maybe even genocide.”

He says the minority community had become increasingly victimised since the US-led war on terror and Pastor Terry Jones added fuel to the fire. Fear is there but we cannot give up our religion Easter is being celebrated with the religious spirit with armed guards and high security outside the Churches.

“Christian groups are identified with the West and extremist groups have launched attacks to avenge US-led action in Afghanistan,” Mr. Paul says.

He predicts that the attacks will be stepped up in the coming days.

During the Gulf War in 1991, churches were burnt and Christians harassed. In 1994 when Khana Kaba, Mecca in Saudia Arabia was allegedly taken over by extremist groups Christian villages like Shanti Nagar were burnt to the ground. Just years latter Gojra’s Christian community saw their homes and churches burnt down. Christian leaders agree that, within the general populace, relations between Muslims and Christians are not as good as they used to be earlier.

“The recent trouble has been caused by fanatical groups that support the extremists, they are a pressure group” the Roman Catholic Bishop of Islamabad Rufin Anthony said. Anti Christian sentiments are clearly evident. He says the authorities have failed to protect the Christian community, their claims of fool proof security are only claims.

The Bishop also fears there is more bloodshed to come.

“I have heard reports that within the next few days there will be more attacks on Christian institutions. We will try to defend ourselves the best we can. We don’t know what will happen  we will have to trust in God. Everybody should follow their own religion and should stop slinging mud at others. Old things are gone, new things are coming, make your today better than yesterday. We pray for a peaceful Easter in a land we are born in, but we are still treated as aliens in this land.”

Xavier Patras William

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