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Statement by Forum for Secular Pakistan re Attack on Christians in Badami Bagh, Lahore

11 March 2013

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PRESS RELEASE

FORUM FOR SECULAR PAKISTAN

Karachi, 10th March 2013

The Forum for Secular Pakistan strongly condemns the attack on the Christian Community of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh Lahore, in which 178 houses of the low-income community, as well as shops and 3 churches were looted and burnt to ashes, the Pastor was attacked and the father of Savan Masih, the youth falsely accused of blasphemy, was beaten up and subsequently arrested.

The Forum is outraged at the continuing misuse, abuse and exploitation of Section 295-B&C (the “blasphemy law”) for vested interests, personal vendettas and political gains. We demand that this mala fide law and its procedures be immediately revised to prevent any further false charges, killing, looting, burning and orchestrated attacks.

Hardy a week passes by that a Quetta Hazara Shia Carnage or Abbas Town Carnage occurs, targeting vulnerable Muslim and non-Muslim minorities, particularly Hazaras, Shias, Barelvis, Sufis, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus. Violating the Constitutional safeguards and guarantees, the State has failed to provide protection of life, liberty, honour, dignity, property and possessions. It has now reached a stage where the very existence of Pakistan is at stake.

Believing that we are witnessing the bitter fruit of decades of State and external sponsorship and promotion of the Jihadi groups, as well as the more recent appeasement policy towards the Taliban groups, the Forum calls for an immediate separation of religion from politics; a clear federal and provincial policy statement regarding concrete measures to protect vulnerable minorities; a substantive change in our school curricula to remove all hate materials; and an immediate revision of the law and section 295-B&C to prevent further exploitation falsely in the name of religion.

In their last few days, the federal and provincial governments must do nothing less than this, if they are to face voters in the general elections soon.

Javed Qazi
General Secretory