Pakistan promises to rebuild Christian homes, but ...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

pakistan-map2LAHORE, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- Although the government of Pakistan promised to rebuild nearly 200 Christian homes destroyed by a Muslim mob in Lahore on March 9, many doubt it will bring the rioters to justice because anti-Christian violence perpetrated in Pakistan often operates with impunity.

Many Christian families living in the Joseph Colony of Lahore became homeless after thousands of Muslims burned and looted all their possessions; the Muslims were motivated by false accusations that a Christian living in the Colony had blasphemed their prophet, Muhammad.

As of press time, many homeless Christians are still living in tents courtesy of local NGOs; many have also received checks from the Pakistani government, though some have had difficulty redeeming them, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).

"Some families are complaining that repairs in their houses were overlooked, but generally speaking, the government has taken a strong and rapid response to this issue," the director of a human rights NGO in Lahore told ICC. "In fact, the government has done much more for these families than other communities in the past ..."

However, that government's ability to protect its Christian communities is another story; just last week Pakistan's top court ordered Lahore law officials to explain why they failed to stop the Muslim mob from repeatedly destroying Christian property in the Joseph Colony.

"Law-enforcement agencies are shy of taking action against extremists," said Joseph Francis, Director of the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance, and Settlement, "and some of them even have sympathies for outfits promoting extremist culture."

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, "While ICC commends the Pakistani government's effort to meet the immediate needs of the suffering Christian community in Joseph Colony, Lahore, we also strongly urge the government to carry out a thorough investigation of the incident and punish those responsible. Financial assistance alone will do little to ease the minds of victims or to put an end to the rising attacks by Muslim extremists on religious minority communities ..."