Churches and Rights Groups Call For Better Protection of Minorities in Pakistan

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Catholic Church’s human rights body in Pakistan, The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has called for better protection of minority groups amid renewed threats against them by Islamist militants.

The demand comes days after 45 members of the minority Shia Ismaili community were massacred in a gun attack on a bus in Karachi, claimed by several Sunni groups, including Islamic State.

The militants responsible for last week’s bloodshed also threatened to launch more attacks on minorities, including Christians.

In a joint statement condemning the attack, Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts and NCJP National Director Fr Saleh Diego said the May 13 “killing of innocent people on the basis of their faith is unacceptable”.

“We demand from both the federal government and provincial governments to take serious and effective measures to prevent such atrocities and also plead to increase security for all minority groups.”

Mehnaz ur Rehman, a women’s rights activist and the director of the Aurat Foundation, said the attack had shocked the nation.“Irrespective to our faith and religion, we should jointly fight for a terror-free Pakistan,” she said.
The NCJP also held a special service at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi on Friday to express solidarity with the Ismaili community and pray for the victims.