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Pakistani Christians Not Feeling Safe After The IS Attack

Pakistan's Christian community is terrified following the worst terrorist attacks on them

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Pakistani Christians at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore. VOA
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Pakistan’s Christian community has faced the brunt of some of the worst terrorist attack in the country in recent years, but now the community fears another looming danger.

During the last few months, the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, or Daesh, has claimed responsibility for two deadly attack on the Christian community in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan.

In Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, a Christian family was attacked on April 2, a day after Easter.

Gunmen killed four people, all members of one Christian family.

In December 2017, several days before Christmas, suicide bombers attacked a Christian church, killing at least nine people in the southwestern city of Quetta.

IS claimed responsibility for both attacks.

People mourning the death of a Pakistani Christian who was killeed on April 3, 2018. VOA
People mourning the death of a Pakistani Christian who was killed on April 3, 2018. VOA

Nadeem Anthony, a Christian rights activist, told VOA that IS has become a new danger for the community.

“The Christian community is scared and concerned after [the] deadly attacks by Daesh. It is not acceptable,” Anthony noted. “If Daesh is active and involved in the attacks on the Christian community, then we (Christians) can’t do anything against this militant outfit. It’s the responsibility of the state to act against such a group.”

 Also Read: US Shares List of 20 Terrorist Groups Operating In Pakistan And Afghanistan With Pakistani Authorities

Pakistan denies the organized presence of IS in the country and said the state is committed to cracking down on all militant groups that threaten any community or sect.

But some quarters have expressed concern that IS is emerging as a threat.

Dr. Mehdi Hassan, chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said IS’s presence cannot be completely denied.

“Attacks on the Christian community by Daesh is really a matter of concern, and this will worsen [the] religious extremism situation in Pakistan. In a country where extremism exists in so many forms, any outfit (including Daesh) can triumph,” Hassan said.

The conditions have got worsened for the Pakistani Christians after the IS attack.
Life is miserable in Pakistan.

Tariq Christopher Qaiser belongs to the Christian community and is a parliamentarian from Pakistan’s ruling Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) political party. He expressed serious concerns about the increasing number of targeted attacks on different Muslim sects and on Christians.

“It’s not only alarming but also shameful,” Qaiser said. It is the responsibility of the state to protect all its nationals without any discrimination as to from which sect of religion they belong to. I have been raising my voice on the floor of the parliament and will continue to do so.”

This story was written by Muhammad Ishtiaq. (VOA)

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Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares to speak at the opening of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighbouring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”

Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.

“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.

“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.

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Imran Khan, wikimedia commons

In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.

Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, surrounded by host country representatives and other participants, attends an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.

Also Read: Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project With China

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent. (VOA)