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Suicide bombing: Catholic forum urges govt to raise the case with Pakistan

Sept. 25, 2013

Mumbai-based activist community organization, the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), has urged the Pakistani high commissioner Salman Basheer in New Delhi to assist in organizing a delegation of Indian Christians to Peshawar to express solidarity with the victims of the blasts that killed over 80 Christians and others on Sunday. The CSF has called upon the international community and human rights NGOs not to remain silent and take up the issue with the Pakistan government, as there is no guarantee that the situation will not be repeated in the future.

Joseph Dias, CSF general secretary, said: "Christians in Pakistan are soft targets and get caught in the political and fanatical crossfire. Pakistani Christians are not only targeted by fundamentalists, but also by local Pakistanis under blasphemy laws, with the government not acting effectively against such human rights violations. Hundreds of CSF activists have in an e-mail protest called upon the Pakistan government to punish the fanatics and deal with Islamic terrorism with a firm hand." Dias has also called upon the UPA government to take up the case with Pakistan, since many of the Christians are of Indian origin and either migrated or were forced to stay back after 1947 partition and hence, the government cannot absolve its responsibility.

The CSF has sent an SOS memorandum to the Prime Minister and the foreign minister too. The Christian community in Pakistan has contributed in a big way, rendering educational, medical and social services to mainly the Muslim community. "The burning of a church and St Paul's High School in Mardan, near Peshawar proves that the Pakistan government has no control over the fundamentalists,'' Dias said. The CSF has called upon the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan to immediately announce monetary dispensation to the next of kin of those dead and adequate compensation to rebuild the burnt down and destroyed institutions.

Source: Times of India

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