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Paul Batthi: Attack against Christians in Pakistan was because of government acts against radicals

2016-04-30

On Easter Sunday, a radical of the Pakistani branch of the Islamic State self-detonated himself in a public park in Lahore, where dozens of Christian families were celebrating the Resurrection of Christ.

PAUL BATTHI
Former Pakistani minorities minister
"This park was not protected because, for the authorities, the churches were the sensitive points and this is why the police were there. They did not think they would attack the parks. It has happened there because there were more Christians than usual.”

Paul Batthi's brother was Shahbaz Batthi, former Minister of minorities in Pakistan, who was assassinated in 2011 for being a Christian and defending Christians. Unfortunately, they are still second-class citizens in a country where they barely make 2 percent out of a population of 180 million.

PAUL BATTHI
Former Pakistani minorities minister
"It is something we are fighting alongside with political leaders, many of them Muslims. The day of the attack shocked me because many Muslims, including journalists, declared that moving forward the idea of a Pakistan branded as a second-class citizen would be no more.”

It further solidifies that the attack, like the one in Lahore, are a consequence of the incipient but effective way the Pakistani government is facing with radical extremists.

PAUL BATTHI
Former Pakistani minorities minister
"The attack took place because the government has taken steps against radicals: They have closed many religious schools, cut their funding, destroyed the factories where they produced explosives and hide weapons... The Prime Minister has said, and I share, that the attack was a desperate measure.”

Although even Christians in Pakistan are victims of discriminatory laws and the anti-blasphemy law, often used as a tool for personal vengeance rather than as a way to preserve respect for Islam. This happened to Asia Bibi, who was imprisoned for nearly six years. Paul Batthi says that soon there will be updated news about her case.

PAUL BATTHI
Former Pakistani politician
"My feeling, and I've said this repeatedly, is that her liberation is near.”

Paul Batthi participated in the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, on a series of lectures on the persecution of Christians. He called on the suffrage of many who immigrate, also from Pakistan, looking for a future of peace and prosperity, only to find indifference and neglect.


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