World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay expressed shock at receiving reports of violent attacks against churches and Christians in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
“The reports received indicate that six churches have been burnt in a Christian colony of Punjab province, after two Christians were accused of blasphemy,” said Pillay. “A Presbyterian church, a Catholic Church, a Full Gospel Assembly Church, and a Salvation Army centre have reportedly been burnt, and Christian clergy threatened and harassed.”
These reports, Pillay added, illustrate yet again the extremist threats faced by members of the Christian community in Pakistan. “The WCC calls on the Pakistani authorities to act urgently and consistently to prevent further such violent attacks and violations of the human rights of Christians in Punjab province or elsewhere in Pakistan,” Pillay said. “The WCC has long expressed grave concerns regarding the impact of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws on Christians and members of other religious communities, as these latest reports once again indicate.”
All Pakistanis are entitled to respect and recognition of their equal rights as citizens of the country regardless of their religious affiliation, urged Pillay. “We invite all WCC member churches and ecumenical and inter-religious partners around the world to join in raising their voices against this violence and oppression, and in prayer for equal human rights, justice, and peace in Pakistan.”