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Christians fleeing Pakistan

Reader comment on item: Red Mosque in Rebellion
in response to reader comment: Christians begin crucified.

Submitted by Rizwan (India), Jul 25, 2007 at 15:11

Christians fleeing Pakistan

* Christian activists receive threatening calls
* Religious groups threaten to protest against arrest of colleagues

By Mohammed Rizwan

LAHORE: Panic has gripped the Christian community of Sangla Hill and several Christians have fled town after their community activists received threatening phone calls and religious organisations on Thursday threatened to demonstrate against the arrest of their colleagues after the November 12 incident.

Police had detained about 88 people after a mob attacked and burned down four churches, a Christian school and two pastor residences last month.

"There was lots of panic in the area from last night till today afternoon, as several Christians fled the locality after the threatening calls and demonstration plans," Father Samson Dilawar said on Friday. "But this time round police acted swiftly and cordoned off the area with the help of hundreds of security personnel and therefore the demonstration plans had to be abandoned," he added. "If the situation continues to remain calm, I think most Christians will return home tonight," he said.

Local religious organisations led by Malik Muhammad Azam, tehsil nazim, on Thursday threatened to demonstrate against the detention of their activists. The demonstration call was followed by a series of threatening calls to various Christian community activists in which the callers threatened to kill Christians if cases against their activists were not withdrawn.

Nasir Gill, a local, said the situation was tense amidst flaring tempers. "There were fears of another attack on the Christian community, as local religious leaders delivered fiery sermons during Friday prayers, but police did not allow them to demonstrate," he added.

Nankana Sahib District Police Officer (DPO) Zulfiqar Hameed said the situation in the town was under control. "We spoke to the tehsil nazim and other religious leaders of the area and told them that any attempt to demonstrate won't be tolerated," he said.

"We have deployed about 12 police platoons around the town and I don't see any violence taking place. We are also trying to trace the anonymous callers who are threatening Christians," he added.

Muslim Militants are threatening Christian Community to either leave Pakistan or convert to Islam immediately. Various Human Right Groups have expressed their concern over deterioting situation of law and order in Pakistan.

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