demonstrators in Islamabad
Hundreds of Christian families lost everything on 16 August when the Christian girl Rimsha was arrested for blasphemy. The community turned on them destroying their homes. The girl has since been freed and a local Imam has been charged with falsifying evidence against her. But the families are still homeless and afraid to return their village.
On Tuesday, 18 September, they held a rally calling for the resignation of Dr Paul Bhatti, Chairman All Pakistan Minority Alliance (APMA) and advisor to the President of Pakistan. They claim Bhatti had raised huge funds for the community and had promised to help people resettle but all his reassurance have failed to materialise.
Protesters set out from St Thomas Church and walked to the government offices in Islamabad, demanding a substitute place to live.
A local man said: "We have become aware that APMA arranged fund raising events in different countries for their rehabilitation, but has failed to deliver any assistance to us. We want the whole world to know!"
Protesters held banners and called for Mr Bhatti's resignation. Hundreds of men, woman and children staged a sit in protest outside the National Harmony ministry building. Mr Bhatti did not come out to speak to them but remained in his office for the duration of the protest. When contacted by Shamim Masih by telephone Minister Bhatti said he was not answerable to the crowd and denied the charges against him.
Christian families who are sleeping out in the open say they have lost everything and are surviving on one meal a day.
Source: British Pakistani Christian Association