Before we get into the details regarding violent incidences against the Christian community, let’s have a look at a timeline of events in which innocent Christians were targeted.
- On 28th October 2001, an an armed group attacked a church in Bahawalpur, slaughtering a total of 16 people, children inclusive.
- On 17th March 2002, a grenade attack claimed the life of five people, an American woman and her daughter included among them. The attack took place in Islamabad at the diplomatic enclave.
- In 2002 August, a Christian hospital in Taxila was attacked, killing 4 women.
- January 2004, a car bomb explodes outside the Christian Bible Society in Karachi, injuring 12 people.
- A church’s central door was exploded in 2010 which resulted in the church being damaged but no casualties were reported.
Pakistan is a state that adheres to rules which respect and recognize laws guaranteeing freedom of religion to various minorities that reside in the country. However, during the recent years, minorities and religious sects have been subjected to inhumane terrorist attacks which have claimed lives and injured thousands. These attacks have not only highlighted the plight of minorities in Pakistan but have also embarrassed the country in front of the international community. One such minority which has braved and suffered many a countless attacks in Pakistan, is the Christian community. Facing a multitude of blasphemy charges (which remain controversial to this date) as well as various attacks on Christian places of worship, followers of Christ have suffered heavy casualties at the hands of terrorists. Here’s a few examples of the various attacks that took place against Christian community:-
1. Jafakash attack (September 25, 2002)
Seven innocent Christian welfare workers were tragically murdered in Pakistan on September 25, 2002. The Idaara-e-Amn-o-Insaf (Institute for Peace and Security) was a Christian charitable organization which also ran a magazine titled ‘Jafakash’ (the hard worker). A latest edition of the magazine reportedly focused on the issue of blasphemy laws which have been used to persecute and blackmail members of the Christian community. According to eye witnesses, two men dressed in western clothes stormed the office of the welfare organization and tied up seven Christian workers to their chairs. After taping their mouths shut and tying them to their chairs, the helpless charity workers were shot in the head, at point blank range. Security agencies and experts termed the attack as a reaction to the Jafakash issue that was published.
2. Joseph Colony incident (March 9, 2013)
Lahore has been quite unfortunate for Christian residents as far as violence is concerned. After a Christian man was accused by a young Muslim of having committed blasphemy, things tensed up in Joseph Colony, Lahore. Christian residents of the area, citing a possible backlash, fled Joseph Colony during the night. Police filed a blasphemy case against the Christian man in order to pacify the crowd but to no avail. The following morning, an enraged mob burnt down Christian houses and pelted stones at their places of worship.
“At least 160 houses, 18 shops and two small churches were burnt by protesters,” Raza, who was busy in rescue operations in the area, told AFP.
3. Shadbagh Colony (July 28th 2013)
According to reports, a cable operator named Faisal Butt was charging the Christian community extra cable fees, at Shad Bagh Colony in Lahore. Upon an argument between the cable operator and a Christian man, the issue heightened. Within an hour, about 4 pm, the cable operator showed up with around 30-35 men laced with dangerous weapons. The enraged mob shot up the entire block and also vandalized Christian houses, places of worship. Bricks were thrown at a Christian church and windows of houses were smashed. Several Christians were injured in the unfortunate incident.
4. All Saints Church (September 2013)
The unfortunate attack claimed more than 80 lives and injured 100 Christians on a Sunday, in Peshawar. According to police and eye witnesses, two twin blasts occurred in a span of thirty seconds when two suicide bombers detonated themselves. On bomber was unsuccessful in entering the Church, the other however, blew himself up inside the Church. The incident drew strong condemnation from every major political party leader in Paksitan. The injured and deceased were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
5. Youhanabad blast (15th March, 2015)
Yesterday, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in two separate churches located at half a kilometer’s distance from each other in the Youhanabad district in Lahore. Around 15 people were killed and 70 injured. Enraged Christians took to the streets and killed two men suspected of being militants involved in the terrorist attack. Some 4,000 Christians vented their anger by smashing vehicles with clubs and attacking the Metro bus stands in Lahore.