Church bombings: Delegation leaves for Lahore to condole with bereaved families

Protesters across K-P demand investigation on war footing.


People protest Lahore blasts outside Peshawar Press Club. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

NOWSHERA/ HANGU/ PESHAWAR/ MARDAN/ DI KHAN: A delegation of civil society and minorities’ representatives left for Lahore to condole with families of victims of Lahore’s twin church bombings, amid widespread protests across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on Monday.

The deputation comprises 20 members including Adviser to Chief Minister on Minority Affairs Sardar Soran Singh, All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairman Haroon Sarbdiyal, and Churches of Pakistan Secretary Asif Nawaz.

While talking to The Express Tribune, Singh said the people of K-P stand in solidarity with those who lost their loved ones in the brazen attacks. He urged the government to investigate the incident on a war footing and make an example out of the perpetrators so that trust in the government’s writ is restored.

Sarbdiyal said the announced compensation of Rs0.5 million for every deceased victim’s family and Rs75,000 for every wounded person is insufficient and it should be doubled. “If the government does not accept the demands of the bereaved families, we will start nationwide protests,” he told The Express Tribune.

“We strongly condemn the attacks on St John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church which resulted in the killing of many innocent Christians,” said Advocate Shaukat Ghulam, legal advisor of Saint Paul’s Education Society. The deadly blasts in Youhanabad, Lahore on Sunday left 16 dead and over 75 injured.

Rallies were held in different areas of the city including University Town, Tehkal, Kohat Road and Sher Shah Suri Road. “Religious minorities are being butchered for their faith while the government has maintained criminal silence,” said activist Mushtaq Masih. He added Christians working in government, non-government offices boycotted their duties in order to express solidarity with the Youhanabad victims.

Meanwhile, Awami National Party-Wali (ANP-W) chief Begum Nasim Wali Khan condemned the attacks and declared them part of a larger conspiracy against Pakistan. According to a press release issued by the party, Nasim said the attackers want to tarnish Pakistan’s image and portray us as intolerant people. “Religious pluralism is an integral value of our society,” she said. Nasim lashed out at the Punjab government and said the attack is evidence of its failure.

DI Khan

Christians also demonstrated in DI Khan city against the bombings.

A rally started from St John’s Church and culminated at Dr Qadir Khan Chowk. A large number of people participated and chanted slogans against government’s apathy towards minorities. While addressing the protesters, Padre Robin said it is the state’s responsibility to provide protection to all citizens. “The persecution of Christians should stop,” he said.

Nowshera

While addressing the media in Pabbi, Awami National Party minority wing leader Sajid Pervez said the Constitution guarantees the freedom of practice to all religious minorities. He demanded immediate arrests of the culprits. A demonstration was also organised at Cantonment Board Chowk where protesters led by Larez John, Dr Shaukat, Nasir Bhatti blocked the road for several hours.

Mardan

A rally was organised outside Mardan Press Club where attendees lit candles in memory of those who lost their lives in the attacks. The protest was led by Bishop of Northern Diocese Jimmy Mathew.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2015.

COMMENTS (1)

Paki | 6 years ago | Reply Good to show solidarity with the grieved. We all should stand united against the attack anywhere and against any segment of our beloved country. Christian elders and leaders should also trace the terrorists on their side, who burned two innocent Pakistanis alive. The barbarians harming civilians on road and destroying public property must be brought to justice.
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