The chief bishop of the Anglican Church of Pakistan on Monday expressed outrage over the recent spate of targeted killings of members of minority communities, and called on the government to take immediate action to protect their citizens.
In a statement, Bishop Dr Azad Marshall, the president of the Church of Pakistan, expressed deep concern over the rising incidents of violence against minority groups, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the targeting of innocent civilians because of their religious beliefs or ethnicity,” Bishop Marshall said. “It is unacceptable and goes against the fundamental principles of humanity.”
The statement comes on the heels of attacks on a Christian and Sikh in Peshawar and a Hindu doctor in Karachi last week.
“The targeted killings of Kashif Masih and Diyal Singh in Peshawar and of Dr Birbal Genani in Karachi within a span of two days in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan have instilled shock and fear in all three communities. The government must get its act together and ensure safety and security of our people,” he said.
Bishop Marshall also condemned the recent hate speech made by a lawmaker in parliament, which he said had hurt the religious sentiments of the Christians.
“We call on the government to take strong action against Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of the Jamaat-e-Islami and all others who use hate speech and incite violence against innocent people,” he said.
Chitrali has drawn the ire of the Christian community for calling the Bible, Torah and Psalms “cancelled scriptures”, while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly last week against the policy of giving additional marks to medical students who can memorize Quran or Bible.
“The gospel, Torah and the psalms are canceled (scriptures). We believe in all of them and don’t reject them but Quran is permanent and will remain till the judgement day,” he said on March 28.
“We have also noted with concern how the Speaker of the National Assembly ignored Chitrali’s remarks and didn’t allow a Christian lawmaker to counter it. The floor of the House is not meant to demean any religion and we expect the Speaker will take cognizance of this fact and not allow any person to spew hatred against other faiths,” he said.