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Pakistan mourns much-loved bishop

MULTAN (SE): Bishop Andrew Francis, the former bishop of Multan in Pakistan, is being mourned across the country as a man of great determination to achieve peace and harmony in society through the promotion of interfaith dialogue and relations.
 
In acknowledging the life of Bishop Francis, the National Justice and Peace Commission says, “His selflessness, generosity and charitable nature are prominent symbols of peace and love in accordance with the teaching of Jesus Christ.”
 

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Chapel in Pakistani university

FAISALABAD (UCAN): The University of Agriculture Faisalabad has become the first government educational institute in the country to open a chapel on campus for its Christian students and staff.
 
A large banner at the entrance to the area is emblazoned with a picture of the local bishop, as well as St. Peter’s Catholic church. A script reads, “Let us make a house for the Lord.”
 
While most Pakistani universities host mosques, Faisalabad will be the first to allow a chapel on its campus.

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Convert to Islam and walk free

 

LAHORE (UCAN): A large group of some 60 Christians facing charges over their involvement in the lynching of two people in Pakistan was told by the prosecuting lawyer, Syed Anees Shah, that if they would agree to convert to Islam he would have all charges against them dropped.

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Only minorities need apply for dirty jobs

MULTAN (UCAN): A government job advertisement in Pakistan singling out Christians, Hindus and Shia Muslims for sweeper jobs have drawn the ire of the Church, as well as human rights advocates.

The advertisement for sweepers, a designation put on people who clean the streets, public areas, do waste removal and sanitation work, was placed by local government officials in Bannu district in northwestern Pakistan in a local Urdu daily on March 17.

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Put downs in Pakistan census

LAHORE (AsiaNews): Christians and Sikh religious leaders have issued an appeal to the Pakistani government to ensure that the first census in 19 years is accurate and complete.

Some prominent minority group leaders point to errors in the census’ religious and demographic categories.

There is no separate entry for Sikhs, Baha’is and Parsees, and Sikh leaders are organising demonstrations and protests in several districts.

Although recognised, Christians are referred to under a derogatory term dating back to British rule.

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Two eyes for a tooth

KARACHI (AsiaNews): The government in Pakistan set about taking two eyes for a tooth when it launched a bloody crackdown on Islamist terror groups in retaliation for the February 16 attack on a Sufi temple in the Sindh, which left 80 people dead.

Police have been rampaging around Karachi and other major cities in the country, reporting that they have flushed out and killed over 100 people suspected of terrorist activities. Islamabad is also pressuring Kabul to return 76 more that are in hiding in Afghanistan.

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Mob acquitted of attack on Christian village

LAHORE (UCAN): An anti-terrorism court acquitted 106 people accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on the Christian village of Joseph Colony, Lahore, Pakistan.

On 9 March 2013, thousands of people armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Masih, a Christian.

Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the raging mob.

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Mob acquitted of attack on Christian village

LAHORE (UCAN): An anti-terrorism court acquitted 106 people accused of being involved in a 2013 arson attack on the Christian village of Joseph Colony, Lahore, Pakistan.

On 9 March 2013, thousands of people armed with sticks and stones stormed Joseph Colony and set about 150 houses ablaze over allegations of blasphemy against Sawan Masih, a Christian.

Hundreds of homes, shops, vehicles and three churches were torched by the raging mob.

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Ecumenism is needed

LAHORE (AsiaNews): “Unity must be a visible thing in Pakistan. Instead of meeting only when a church is attacked or in crisis situations, we should meet in times of peace,” Father Inayat Bernard, from St. Mary’s Seminary, said in the run up to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

He said, “Church leaders still have many reservations about other denominations and not everyone feels comfortable in going to another Church.”

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Protection order is serious

KARACHI (UCAN): It has been two years since the Supreme Court in Pakistan ordered the state to protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, but the response from the government has been lacklustre and Church leaders have expressed concern.

The court ruling on 19 June 2014 ordered the federal government to create a national council for the rights of minorities and provincial governments to set up task forces for religious tolerance, protect places of worship and crack down on hate speech.

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