Pakistani Christians appeal for protection

 More than 10,000 Pakistani Christians gathered outside St Patrick's Catholic cathedral in Karachi yesterday, calling on the government to provide better protection for their community. At least 36 Christians have been killed and more than 100 injured in six violent attacks this year. On Wednesday, two gunmen tied up and shot seven workers at the offices of the Catholic Institute for Peace and Justice. There was a heavy police presence in the area around the cathedral yesterday and paramilitary forces were patrolling the streets. Pakistan is predominantly a Moslem country. About 3.8 million people or just 2.5% of the population is Christian. Many Christians feel there has been an increase in attacks since September 11, and President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of support for America's 'war on terrorism'. Michael Javed, a Christian former Member of Parliament said: "Christians are paying the price for bombing in Afghanistan." Dozens of alleged Muslim extremists have been arrested in connection with the attacks. But police say that so far they have not found evidence to link them with recent events.

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