Real Time Reflection Question: Are we this committed?
Pakistan Christian burnt alive for refusal to convert
Published: March 24, 2010
Pakistan’s bishops have condemned recent incidents of violence against Christians including a case of a man burned alive by his employer for refusing to convert to Islam. “We condemn the recent incidents and violence against Christians,” Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, President of the Pakistani Bishops’ Conference, told Fides.
“We ask the government for justice and legality, so that such acts do not go unpunished. We demand that the rights of Christians are respected, as they should be for all other citizens,” he continued.
Arshed Masih, a Christian of Rawalpindi was burnt alive by his employer and died last night in Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, where he was hospitalized.
Fides sources present at the site tell of “the immense grief of the family, a tragic and heartbreaking scene, especially for the two sons of Arshed Masih.
While the date of the funeral is determined, “there are fears that political authorities will prevent the police investigation and the case will be thrown out”, the Fides source said.
“The political authorities, the media of Pakistan, the international community, civil society: all are called to do more to create awareness on the situation of suffering and insecurity of Christians and religious minorities, who should be protected in their dignity and fundamental human rights,” Archbishop Saldanha said.
Responding to the announcement of the “direct hotline” number to the office of President Ali Zardari to report anti-Christian violence, Archbishop Saldanha described it as “an important step”
“We support it strongly. It is often difficult for Christians to have contact with the authorities and this could be an effective instrument. We insist and hope that this will soon be established, without delay of any kind,” he concluded.
Bishops’ Conference President tells Fides: action, not words, from the government in defending Pakistani Christians (Fides)