Pakistani Christians have expressed grief and outrage on Monday, holding protests as well as prayer vigils in response to the shocking weekend church bombings that killed 85 worshippers at a church service on Sunday. The reaction has come as further details emerge about the bombings, which have confirmed that Taliban Islamic terrorists packed their bombs with metal ball bearings to maximize the bloodshed and death toll in their suicide bombings in Peshawar, now believed to be the largest in the country's history directed at its Christian population.
In Peshawar, mourners viscerally reacted as they took in just how many casualties the bomb had caused.
"Some broke down on the spot, seeing the long line of coffins, the hundreds of women sitting beside them, clutching them and sobbing, the men hugging and crying, their children looking bewildered," described the BBC's Aleem Maqbool. more >>
A large church bombing in Pakistan has killed 81 after a pair of Taliban suicide bombers entered the church and detonated explosives during worship at an historic church in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, in what is being called the worst ever attack against the country's Christian minority.
Christians in the country have been left outraged and have accused the government of not doing enough to stop the violence directed towards them. They have been joined by some Muslim groups who are also protesting at the lack of protection from authorities to those wanting to worship safely.
The latest church attack occurred during the end of a worship service at the 19th-century All Saints Church in Peshawar, police chief Mohammad Ali Babakhel told local publication Dawn. more >>
At least 81 Christians attending Sunday worship service in their historic church were killed and 131 others were wounded after two Taliban suicide bombers stormed the building in northwest Pakistan. The victims of what is being called the deadliest-ever attack on Christians include 37 women.
Blood, body parts and pages from the Bible could be seen at the church after the attack, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said, calling it "the deadliest ever (attack) targeting Christians in Pakistan."
About 400 worshippers were exchanging greetings after the service at the 130-year-old All Saints Church in the city of Peshawar when the two bombers, each carrying about 6kg (13 pounds) of explosives, launched the attack. The walls were pockmarked with ball bearings that had been packed into the bombs to cause maximum carnage in the busy church, the newspaper said. more >>
A Christian woman in Pakistan has claimed that she was handed a death sentence simply because she was "thirsty." The mother of five, who is currently in prison on death row, was sentenced to death by hanging in 2009 after being accused of blasphemy – a charge she adamantly denies. She has now released her memoir, "Blasphemy," from prison where she tells her shocking side of the story.
Asia Bibi's case has gained widespread international media attention since she was arrested four years ago on blasphemy charges while working as a fruit-picker in the northeastern area of Pakistan. Bibi co-wrote Blasphemy with French television journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet. The book details her struggles as a Christian in a predominately Muslim land, including her arrest and sentencing to death. Although the book was released in France in 2011, media outlets have recently released excerpts from the book to keep the memory of Bibi's hardship alive, and a new wave of media attention has been drawn to Bibi's case.
Bibi's imprisonment began shortly after July 2009; she was picking fruit in the northeastern area of Pakistan to make extra income for her husband and five children when her life changed forever. Temperatures in the fruit field reached above a sweltering 100 degrees, and Bibi, parched, chose to drink out of the communal well shared with other female-fruit pickers, all of whom were Muslim. The Muslim women objected to Bibi, a Christian, drinking out of the same metal cup as them, arguing that it was "haram," or the Islamic term for anything forbidden by God. more >>
A Pakistani Court has acquitted a Muslim cleric accused of framing a mentally-challenged Christian girl of violating the country's blasphemy laws. Cleric, Khalid Jadoon, was freed after six of eight eyewitnesses, who had testified to seeing him plant evidence on the girl, suddenly retracted their statements.
Last August, teenager Rimsha Masih was arrested for breaking Pakistan's blasphemy laws, after she was accused of burning pages of the Quran. As international criticism grew over her arrest, evidence mounted that Jadoon had deliberately inserted pages of the Quran into the fire himself so that he could accuse the Christian girl of blasphemy and use the charge as a pretext to drive out Christians from the area.
Masih was ultimately acquitted of blasphemy chargers in November, but her family was forced to take asylum in Canada in March. more >>
A court in Pakistan's Punjab province has sentenced a Christian man to life imprisonment and a fine of $2,000 for sending blasphemous text messages to Muslim clerics to seek revenge from his ex-fiancée.
A court in Punjab's Toba Tek Singh district sentenced the Christian man, Sajjad Masih, for sending blasphemous text messages from a mobile phone to Muslim clerics and others in Gojra town in that district, according to Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.
Masih, a resident of Punjab's Pakpattan district, was arrested in December 2011. more >>