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Calling for the protection of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan

Caritas Pakistan workers arrived quickly to aid and comfort the traumatized Christian community of Jaranwala. (Caritas Internationalis)

MONTREAL, August 25, 2023 ― Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada condemns the violence that was recently unleashed on Christian communities in Pakistan.

On Wednesday, August 16, hundreds of miscreants ransacked and torched at least five churches and attacked the homes of several Christians in Jaranwala, in Faisalabad District in eastern Pakistan. This violence came in the wake of unproven allegations of the desecration of the Holy Quran.

Development and Peace ― Caritas Canda’s executive director, Carl Hétu, said, “We strongly denounce these atrocities. Our thoughts and prayers are with our Christian sisters and brothers at this difficult time. Pakistan must put an end to this cycle of using baseless accusations of blasphemous acts to incite mobs against minorities for political ends.”

Caritas Pakistan mobilized quickly to provide food, emergency supplies, counselling and pastoral services to the 500 or so affected families, many of whose homes have been destroyed, damaged or looted. On August 20, the terrorized community rallied for Mass at the burned-out St. Paul Catholic Church in Jaranwala.

Many prominent officials, including Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, condemned the incident. Over 100 agitators have been arrested. Reports of isolated flare-ups continue, but police have been deployed to protect the Christian community.

Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada finds this response encouraging. It is in keeping with the tradition of Muslim societies protecting minorities―known as the dhimmi in Islamic jurisprudence―that goes back to the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

We have faith that the Government of Pakistan will fulfill the vision of the country’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that, “The minorities, to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion or their faith or belief will be protected in every way possible. Their life and property will be secure.”

Having worked with Caritas Pakistan on post-flood projects since last year, Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada will be able to send them any donations made for the violence-hit communities.

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About Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada

Development and Peace — Caritas Canada is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. It works in partnership with local organizations in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East to create greater justice in the world and to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable people.

For more information, contact:

Minaz Kerawala
Communications and Public Relations Advisor
Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada
514 257-8710 ext. 328 | mkerawala@devp.org

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