Christian Feeling insecure in Pakistan. By Abbas Kassar, PCP Report.
HYDERABAD, February 25, 2006. The Bishops of Christian Churches have expressed feelings of insecurity after the burning of two Churches in Sukkur and said they feel that the Christian community living in Pakistan is being treated as foreigners especi
Addressing joint news conference at Diocese Church Hyderabad Bishop Max Rodriquez, Bishop of Catholic Diocese and Bishop Rafiq Masih Diocese of Hyderabad Church of Pakistan said that in their position as religious leaders of Christians, they state that the Christians living in Pakistan were loyal to Pakistan and were always ready to offer any sacrifice for the honor and prestige of county. They said they have already condemned publication of sacrilegious publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Denmark and other European countries and even today raise voice against it because they said they think that publication has tarnished the religious sentiments of Muslims all over the world. They said they also demand action against those responsible for the publication. They said they record their protest over the cartoon and hope Muslim brothers to reciprocate in same way. They said that Christians are also citizens of this country and were striving for prosperity and development of country. They said that places of their worship and other properties were assets of country and deplored that their places of worship and properties were destroyed considering them as Westerners. They said there were many incidents which could be counted but main among them were Shanti Nagar and Sangla Hill and now Sukkur where 2 Churches, home of Priest, home of another employee of Church and St. Mary School, hundreds of volumes of Holy Bible, Prayer Books, and other religious books were burnt to ashes and that 150 years old heritage which was asset of Pakistan was erased from its original identity. They said after such incidents the religious sentiments of people were naturally to arise but we have asked Christians to follow teachings of Jesus Christ Who had taught us for patience. They said in Sukkur a Muslim to take revenge from his Christian father in law wanted to implicate him and for that matter he desecrated the pages of Holy Quran and involved his father in law in it. This was causeof attack on Church and destroying its properties.
They said the Priest informed the police officers about mob approaching to Church for causing damage but police did not help to prevent the violent mob. They said had police acted immediately the burning of another Church could have been averted. They also lamented that had Fire extinguisher reached on time it could have saved lot of property from total destruction. They said government has assured of compensation of damages but nothing was done as yet.
They asked leaders of all religions to come forward and sit together for inter religion harmony. They criticized the role of few newspapers which they said were publishing unfounded news about Christians aimed to provoke people. They said in Khariprur city of Sindh also some people threw stones on Christian properties. They said majority of people of Pakistan was peace loving except few who wanted to foment hate.
To a question by this correspondent about printing of Cross in football manufactured in Sialkot city of Pakistan, Rafiq Masih avoiding to reply the question directly said that here in Hyderabad too the people have erected flags on various places inscribed with Cross with purpose to desecrate the Cross. Priest Ishaq Mashi John Murad priest of Tilk Chari Hyderabad Church and Priest Daniel Fayaz were also present during the press conference. To another question about the comments of Bishops on report that Pope has appointed new 15 Cardinals but none was appointed from Pakistan, they said Cardinals are appointed on basis of population. Last Cardinal in Pakistan was Jozeph and since his death 2 years back no Cardinal was appointed from Pakistan. They said that some one senior Bishop of Pakistan may qualify in next 2 years for post of Cardinal.