SUKKUR: The deteriorating law and order in the country has made the survival of minorities in Pakistan very difficult, said Father Yacoob Gill of St Mary's Church.
He was addressing a memorial service at the church on Friday night to remember the Kot Radha Kishan couple who were burnt alive by a mob on November 4. The couple used to work at a brick kiln.
Father Gill claimed that the couple were targeted merely because they belonged to a minority community, which has become very vulnerable in Pakistan. He also recalled past incidents in Lahore's Badami Bagh and Gojra where the minorities were persecuted. "I blame the authorities for failing to handle the situation," he said.
No religion allows the killing of innocent people so there is no justification for the unruly mob behaviour, he claimed, adding that the district administration should have sprung into action instead of playing the role of a silent spectator. He demanded the government punish the owner of the brick kiln and the people who burnt them alive to set an example.
According to Advocate David Lawrence, it has become a common practice that the powerful suppress the weaker sections of the society but, he added, that this is against the teachings of all religions. "Neither should you leave your religion nor should you interfere with others," he said, claiming that this is the best principle for peaceful co-existence.
St Mary's High School principal Sister Rosey Yacoob also felt that this incident ruined Pakistan's image in the world. Islam and the country's Constitution guarantee complete protection to the minorities but our rights are usurped mercilessly, she said.
A member of the Church Committee, Arshad Gill, also spoke at the memorial. The Constitution makes the government responsible for the rights of minorities, he said, adding that such brutal incidents take place often and the government seems indifferent. Giving an example of the torching of St Saviour's Church in Sukkur a couple of years ago, he claimed the law enforcers were present on duty but they failed to stop the mob.
Towards the end of the memorial, the participants offered prayers for the deceased couple and then lit candles in front of their photograph.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2014.
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