Rallies held to condemn anti-Christian violence
KARACHI, March 10: Protest demonstrations were held in several cities of Sindh on Sunday to condemn the violence against the Christian community in Lahore’s Badami Bagh area.
A big rally staged by the minorities’ wing of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Karachi demanded that the Punjab government resign immediately for failing to protect the life and property of the Christian community.
A large number of workers of the MQM’s minorities’ wing gathered in front of the Karachi Press Club on Sunday and staged a peaceful protest demonstration to condemn the Badami Bagh incident.
Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar termed the incident a bid to defame Pakistan and demanded that the Punjab government resign immediately.
He said while the Christian community was being targeted in Punjab, the provincial government acted like a silent spectator.
Criticising the Shahbaz Sharif-led Punjab government, Dr Sattar alleged that the provincial government in connivance with terrorists was destablising other provinces of the country. He said that these ‘shameful’ activities were being conducted just to weaken Pakistan. He said that the MQM had always supported the rights of minorities and would continue to do so.
Dr Sattar appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the incident.
He demanded President Asif Zardari, Prime Miniser Raja Pervez Ashraf and Interior Minister Rehman Malik take action against the perpetrators of the attack.
Participants of the protest demonstration were carrying placards and posters inscribed with demands regarding immediate action against those who targeted the Christian community.
They chanted slogans against the Punjab government’s inaction, which they said failed to provide security to their life and property.
MQM leader Raza Haroon, Bishop Sadiq Daniel and others also spoke.
Hyderabad: A large number of members of the Christian community, including women and children, staged a rally, blocked Meeran Mohammad Shah Road outside the local press club and raised slogans to condemn the violence against their community in Badami Bagh, Lahore.
The rally was taken out from St Bonaventure Chowk and culminated at the local press club.
The protest was organised by the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, Hyderabad, and the Strengthening Participatory Organisation, the Progressive Hindu Alliance, the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz.
Participants of the demonstration lit candles for the Badami Bagh victims as well as those killed in the Abbas Town bomb blast.
They demanded that the government give a compensation amount of Rs1 million to each victim and ensure punishment to those who had burnt homes.
They said that the Lahore police and provincial administration remained silent spectator when miscreants were busy torching Christians’ houses.
A protest rally was taken out by members of the Christian community from Joti Centre, Tando Adam Road, from the platform of the Christian Perish Council, Mirpurkhas, on Sunday in protest over the Badami Bagh incident.
They called upon the government to immediately arrest those involved in the incident and provide justice and compensation to the affected Christian people.
They said that the peaceful minority people were being targeted and they were feeling themselves insecure.
They demanded that the president, the prime minister and Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry take immediate notice of the incident.
PPP condemns tragedy
PPP leader Waqar Mehdi said in a statement on Sunday that the Badami Bagh incident reflected a biased mindset that was consequent to a deliberate policy of dividing citizens on the basis of their religious belief, adds APP.
He said that the Saturday incident was a cause of deep anxiety and demanded catharsis of the promoters of the mindset perpetrated to seek petty political gains against larger national interest.
He appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the unfortunate incident during which residents of Joseph Colony were subjected to vandalism.
Mr Mehdi on behalf of the PPP extended heartfelt sympathy to the victims and assured that all PPP workers of the country were with them.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz also condemned the Badami Bagh incident.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the secretary-general of the PML-N’s Sindh chapter, Salim Zia, said that there was a need to ascertain the exact cause that triggered the trouble.
He said that the PML-N strongly believed that the life and property of minority communities were equally sacred and precious.
Meanwhile, the president of the PML-N’s minority wing, MNA Dr Darshan Laal met Bishop Sadiq Daniel and expressed his party’s solidarity with the Christian community of the country.
He assured Bishop Daniel that their party leadership was committed to bring to task the perpetrators of the crime and for measures to prevent such instances in future.
In a statement issued in Hyderabad, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan chief Sahibzada Zubair condemned a blasphemy incident in Lahore and said that the Christians were targeted to tarnish the image of Islam.
It appeared that a conspiracy was at work behind the incident, he said, adding that homes were got vacated so that miscreants could torch them and bring a bad name to Islam.
He said that police and administration of Lahore acted like silent spectators and due to their negligence properties of Christians were burnt.
In a statement, Hyderabad chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami Sheikh Shaukat said that the Badami Bagh tragedy was a result of negligence of police and administration.
He said that it was highly regrettable and no religious party was involved in it yet some leaders of what he said anti-religious parties were issuing statements to malign parties.
He said that punishment for any case was to be given by courts and no one could take law into his hands and the government should punish those who had torched the houses of Christian community in Lahore.