Christians Are at the Receiving End in Pakistan
Article115.pngThe suicide bomber of Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of Pakistani Taliban, carried out bomb blasts in a park in Lahore on March 27 where Christians were celebrating Easter. The powerful bomb explosion in which more than 20 kgs of explosives was used killed more than 72 persons and caused injuries to about 340 others, mainly Christians. The spokesman of the terrorist outfit not only took the responsibility of the heinous act but also threatened of more such attacks against Christians. The ghastly act was condemned by Pakistani Prime Minister, Pakistani Chief of Army staff as well as by several other local leaders. Indian Prime Minister as well as leaders of United States, Australia and other countries also condemned the blast.
Both Pakistani Prime Minister and Chief of Staff chaired separate meetings to deal terrorism especially in Punjab. Nawaz Sharif promised to take stringent action and the police also arrested few persons suspected to be involved in the blast. Pakistani civil as well as military leadership project Punjab as a peaceful state hence terrorist activities in the province are kept underground instead of dealing with them severely. At present military operations against terrorists are going on in North Waziristan and Karachi while Punjab is publicized as a safe province. The Islamic Jihadists attacked Christians, whose population is about 2.5 million in Pakistan. In the past too, two blasts in Lahore in March 2015 killed 14 persons and injured 80. In 2013 more than 80 persons lost their lives in bomb blasts that shook Peshawar.
The Islamic extremism is increasing in Pakistan rapidly. Christians are badly treated in the country and face inequity, abhorrence and constant maltreatment by the Muslim majority. There were reports of destroying dwelling places, villages, churches and even the religious books of Christians without provocation. The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are grossly misused against the minorities to settle their personal feuds. The minorities have to face mob fury even on false allegations of blasphemy. Both civil and military leadership made tall claims to prevent such occurrences but no worthwhile effort were made to protect the Christian minorities.
Pakistan administration claimed that bomb blasts were not against Christians and more Muslims were killed in the explosion than the Christians but it was a distortion of facts as Christians were celebrating Easter with their families and in the blast more women and children were killed. Not only this spokesman of Jamat-ul-Ahrar the terrorist outfit took responsibility of the blast and unambiguously mentioned that the blast was against Christians and they would carry out more such terrorist attacks. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who wanted to avoid attending 4th and final Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington cancelled his visit under the pretext of Lahore bomb explosion. The summit was expected to converse about the safety and security of nuclear and other radiological weapons in view of terrorist threat.
Pakistan Army is the real custodian of nuclear warheads and the civilian government headed by Nawaz Sharif has a little sway over it. Besides this Pakistan is also a breeding ground of terrorists and the world community is worried about the safety and security of the nuclear weapons especially of âNasrâ missile which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads up to 60 kilometers. There are umpteen number of press reports that Islamic State (IS), the most powerful and resourceful terrorist organization, is trying to procure nuclear warheads from Pakistan. Several Islamic terrorist organizations active in Pakistan also claim that they would procure nuclear warheads through some Islamic fanatic who can lay hands on the nuclear weapons. The cohorts of Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer surrounded Islamabad and demanded the execution of Aasia Bibi who was guilty of blasphemy. The administration is unable to take stringent action against the protesters who were supporting a murderer of a governor who was against blasphemy law.
Pakistani administration should take stringent action against the perpetrators of terror on Christian minority. The security agencies are taking half-hearted action against the terrorists especially in Punjab hence terrorist outfits are strengthening. There are also reports that Christians are migrating to other countries especially Sri Lanka, Thailand as migrating to Europe and America is difficult from Pakistan. The Pakistani administration must take corrective measures as migration of Christian community would send out wrong signals. The administration must understand that extremism and terrorism have no limits. The Islamic extremists first eliminate non-Muslims and then to Shia Muslims and afterwards various Sunnis groups like Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Hanafi, Wahabis, Shafi, Barelvi, Deobandis would fight among themselves. According to an estimate more than 44 percent Madrassas of Pakistan are in Punjab and they are propagating extremism in the province. These Madrassas are financed by various terrorist outfits as well as by few Mid-East countries hence controlling of these Madrassas is essential.
(Jai Kumar Verma is an independent security analyst based in Delhi.)"