President Alvi lauds Christian community’s sacrifices for Pakistan

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Children wearing Santa Claus costumes sing in a choir during a Christmas service at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi on Dec. 22, 2018. (AFP/File)
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Joseph Cardinal Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, kisses the Bible during a Christmas Eve service at the St. Patrick Cathedral in Karachi, Pakistan on Dec. 25, 2018. (REUTERS)
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A Pakistani policeman stands guard in front of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi on Dec. 23, 2018. (AFP/File)
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Pakistani Christian devotees attend a special service ahead of Christmas at the St. John’s Church in Peshawar on Dec. 23, 2018. (AFP/File)
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Pakistani Christian devotees attend a special service ahead of Christmas at the St. John’s Church in Peshawar on Dec. 23, 2018. (AFP/File)
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Pakistani Christians attend a Christmas Day service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Karachi on Dec. 25, 2018. (AFP/File)
Updated 25 December 2018
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President Alvi lauds Christian community’s sacrifices for Pakistan

  • Vows to build a society that respects differences and celebrates diversity
  • Authorities deploy additional law enforcement personnel for tighter security around Christmas

ISLAMABAD: As Christians celebrated Christmas on Tuesday in Pakistan with zeal and zest, the country’s top political leadership extended their good wishes to the community and vowed to provide equal rights and opportunities to all citizens.
Authorities, on their part, deployed additional law enforcement personnel to ensure tighter security for the occasion.
President Arif Alvi in his message extended his “warmest greetings” to the community in a statement released by his office. “Much more than festivity and celebration, the spirit of Christmas is to share, to reach out, and to love all humanity,” it read.
He commended the sincere efforts of the Christian community toward the socio-economic development of the country. “I also take this opportunity to pay a rich tribute to the sacrifices made by our Christian brethren in Pakistan’s fight against terrorism,” he said.
In his message, President Alvi added that the government of Pakistan upholds the principle of equal rights and freedom for all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed, or religion.
“We are committed to building a society that respects differences and finds strength in diversity; a nation that is tolerant and cohesive; and a state that provides equal rights and opportunities to all citizens,” he said, adding that “our Christian brethren are an integral part of our multicultural polity; and together we are building a strong and prosperous Pakistan, for ourselves and our children.”


Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

Updated 16 September 2019

Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

  • The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: A crowd in Pakistan ransacked a school and Hindu temple after a Hindu principal was accused of blasphemy, police said on Monday, the latest case to raise concern about the fate of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.
The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy in comments about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The enraged crowd ransacked the school and damaged a nearby temple, a district police chief said.
The principal had been taken into protective custody and police were investigating both the alleged blasphemy and the rioters, he added.
“It seems the principal had not done anything intentionally,” the district police chief, Furrukh Ali, told Reuters.
Insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.
No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but enraged mobs sometimes kill people accused of it.
Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often exploited by religious hard-liners as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle scores.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the weekend violence, footage of which was recorded in a video and circulated on social media. It called on authorities should take prompt action.
“The video ... is chilling: mob violence against a member of a religious minority is barbaric, unacceptable,” the commission said in a post on Twitter.
Hindus make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian women who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in a case that had drawn alarm from religious and human rights advocates.
In March, Pakistan’s government sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus as tension between Pakistan and Hindu-majority neighbor India ran high after a militant attack in the Indian-controlled portion of the contested Kashmir region.