Fr Mohan, curate, Saleem & Shamim
On Friday afternoon, after Muslim prayers, a 600 strong mob attacked and damaged a church in the old city area of Karachi. Earlier the same pillagers set fire to the belongings of Ryan Bryan a teenager now accused of blasphemy in the same town, Shamim Maish from the British Pakistani Christian Association, who is in the area, has reported on his blog.
On Saturday a large number of civil society activists and members of the Christian community held a demonstration, urging the authorities to protect them from the extremists who attacked and damaged a church and threatened to kill an innocent teenager caught up in a swarm of hatred. Literally hundreds of Christians braved the animosity directed towards then to vent their frustrations against the injustice meted out upon them. The protesters chanted slogans and demanded security for the minority communities and their places of worship. They demanded that the attackers should be punished under the law.
Father Mohan Victor of the local Catholic Parish Church of St Francis said: "There were two wedding ceremonies being held at our church when the attack commenced. 200 to 300 people were attending when suddenly without warning a big large vehement mob gathered outside the church. The rioters started pelting stones at the church and visitors and attacked us with sticks."
He added: "The mob entered the church compound and smashed the cars and motorcycles parked there. Flowerpots, windows and doors of the church were irreparably damaged."
Fr Mohan described how as soon as the mob entered the compound visitors and clergy sought refuge in the church building, hiding upstairs in the dark, ensuring all lights were turned off and no noise could be heard. The attack continued for more than 90 minutes and parishioners, clergy and visitors held silent prayers full of anxiety and fear.
"I called some friends and asked them to get the Police to our church, thankfully police arrived soon afterwards. Gunshots were heard from outside the church and the mob dispersed," said Fr Mohan.
He commented further: "There is no reason for the attack we have done nothing to warrant this".
Saleem Khokher a prominent member of the sindh assembly said: "When I received a call about the attack on the church, I immediately called the administration and soon after the police arrived there. They dispersed the mob in timely fashion and most effectively."
Police said they had registered a case against unknown people who had attacked the Catholic Church. Shamim will be issuing further reports.
For more information see: http://www.britishpakistanichristians.co.uk