The national director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan says that the “Church’s mission continues despite terrorism.”
According to Fides, Fr. Waseem Walter said that Christians in Pakistan face terrorism and constant fear, but do not let this stop them from living their faith.
“Despite the difficulties,” he said, “we continue to proclaim and give witness to the Word of God in our lives.” The PMS director underscored how Christian families hand down their faith, which enables young people to grow up in hope.
In March, there were two suicide bomb attacks on churches in Lahore, which claimed 17 lives. Pakistan’s Christian leaders have continued to urge the government to better protect religious minorities and have called on Christians to not react with violence.
In recent days, also in a Lahore suburb, new mass violence in the Christian area of Sanda broke out. The violence came after a Christian man, Humayun Masih, reportedly mentally unstable, allegedly burning pages of the Quran. Sources say that had police not intervened promptly, there would have been a massacre.
“Christians continue to be persecuted,” said Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement. “They are considered by some activists the main target of the blasphemy law, which is used as an excuse to kill, attack churches, homes and property.”
It is widely asserted by human rights organizations that many take advantage of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, particularly to unfairly settle property disputes or settle other personal scores.
The director of the NGO, which has offices in the UK and Pakistan, called for the Pakistani government to initiate an impartial investigation, and stressed that those who incite violence against Christians should be punished.
Christians make up less than two percent of Pakistan’s majority-Muslim population. (D.C.L.)