Faction of Taliban that carried out an attack in Lahore outside Punjab Assembly has issued a warning to the Christians, Hindus and other minorities stating that they will not be touched if they maintain distance from the government. In a video, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which had previously claimed responsibility for the attack against the pharmacists protest at Charing Cross, in Lahore has stated that minorities’ places of worship will not be targeted if they comply with their demands.
In the video, the group warned: “Churches, (Hindu) temples, Gurdawaras (Sikh temples) and all the religious places of non-Muslims are not included in our targets until and unless these places are used by our enemies.” The group named Government of Pakistan and Army as its enemies who had carried out military operation in 2007 at Lal Masjid in Islamabad.
While remarking about this warning, Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts, said that the it is hard to understand terrorists. “It depends on what they think, how they in interpret the enemy and link things. They are very slippery like a snake in the grass.”
“They can make anything out of a visiting army officer in a Church or a police guard on duty during Sunday Mass. It is a different kind of guerrilla warfare and we have to learn to protect ourselves,” he said.
Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, Director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistani Bishops’ Conference, says that the terrorists may use social media to “influence many viewers,” and cause hysteria.
“We can only speak of peace and call on such groups to leave terrorism,” he said while adding, “We are not demanding exclusive security but it is the government’s duty to protect all Pakistani citizens, irrespective of their faith.”
Saeeda Deep, Founder of the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies, has expressed concerns regarding security of minority religious places.”Churches and similar buildings are soft targets compared to highly secured government buildings,” she said. “The terrorists know they will have public support for attacking religious minorities. The most important thing is that they are only trained to kill and simply find a justification.”