The Anti Terrorism Court in Lahore, Pakistan, has indicted 16 Christians who it says were responsible for the killing and burning of two terror suspects believed to have been involved in the March 15 suicide-bombing of two churches in Youhanabad, which killed 17 people. Non-profit groups have meanwhile highlighted that women and children are among the 90 or so critically injured churchgoers that need urgent help.
Fides News Agency reported that while 16 Christians have been accused of murdering the two Muslim suspects, another 12 have also been indicted for damage to state property in the riots following the attack on the churches.
These numbers are down from the 100 or so people who were detained last week following the riots. more >>
Over 100 Christians have been arrested for the riots in Pakistan last week following a Taliban suicide attack on two churches that killed 17 people. Police forces have been arresting people who were part of the crowd that killed and burned two people suspected to be terrorists.
"We first established identity of the suspects through TV footages, still cameras and other relevant sources before laying hand on them," a senior investigation officer said, according to The Hindu, confirming that more than 100 Christian protesters have been arrested.
Two suicide bomb blasts hit the Christ Church and Catholic Church of Youhanabad Christian Colony on March 15, killing 17 people. A Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack, which left another 80 people injured. more >>
NEW YORK — A former Pakistani parliamentarian advocating for equal treatment for religious minorities back home claims life is sometimes hell for the Islamic Republic's Christian minorities, who are often victimized by blasphemy laws and bear the brunt of public resentment against Western nations like the United States.
"Due to our faith, we are persecuted. People are killing us, people are burning us, and people are putting us in jail. And (the) state (has) failed to protect the rights (of Christians) and (have failed in) their responsibility," said political and human rights activist Pervez Rafique. "The state doesn't have any solid and concrete policy and agenda and plan to protect marginalized and persecuted Christians and other non-Muslims in Pakistan."
Rafique, a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, worked alongside Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian minorities minister who was assassinated in 2011, as a chief coordinator for All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. At the time of transition prompted by Bhatti's murder, a clash with the former leader's family members forced Rafique and supporters to leave the organization he had served for more than 10 years. Since then, Rafique has helped found another group, with a similar name, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance-Founders, which in combination with the PAK Christian Fellowship, represents around 25,000 people, he told The Christian Post. more >>
Thousands of Christians clashed with police and rioted on the streets in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday, following suicide bombing attacks that killed 17 people in two churches on Sunday. Reports have said that two men suspected to have aided the attackers were beaten to death and burned in the riots.
The Associated Press reported that Christians, who make up only 2 percent of Pakistan's population, clashed with police forces, blocked the highway and ransacked bus terminals, demanding the government start taking serious action to protect the persecuted minority.
At least 14 people have been killed and nearly 80 others were injured in two church bombings carried out by a Pakistani Taliban splinter group on Sunday in the Christian neighborhood of Youhanabad, Lahore. The Catholic faithful are marking a "day of prayer for the innocent lives of the martyrs" on Monday to honor the victims.
Reuters reported that the death toll might've been higher, if it wasn't for the quick actions of a security guard who attempted to prevent one of the suicide bombers from entering one of the churches.
"I was sitting at a shop near the church when a blast jolted the area. I rushed toward the spot and saw the security guard scuffle with a man who was trying to enter the church. After failing, he blew himself up," said witness Amir Masih. more >>
The son of a Pakistani Christian servant, who was accused of stealing from her employer's home, was killed by local police officers last weekend after he was arrested and beaten in hopes that his beating would force his mother to confess to the burglary.
The British Pakistani Christian Association reported that the body of 20-year-old Zubair Rashid Masih was dumped onto the street in front of his mother's home in the early morning of March 8 in the Shamsabad area of the Punjab province.
On March 4, his mother, Aysha Bibi, was arrested on charges that she stole about 35,000 rupees and 100 grams in gold ornaments from the home where she worked as a domestic servant. more >>