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Commission for minorities launched in Pakistan

LAHORE (UCAN): The Pakistan Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice, together with the Peace and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, gathered with human rights and religious organisations from across the country in Lahore to launch the Peoples’ Commission for Minorities’ Rights (PCMR).
 
The commission, which also includes representatives from Sikh, Hindu and Muslim communities, aims to press for the protection of religious minorities in the country.
 

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Turmoil as court sets aside Asia Bibi death sentence

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the submissive response of Pakistan’s government’s to protests by Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as well as its inability to preserve “the writ of the state” during protests that erupted after the acquittal of, Asia Bibi, a Catholic woman convicted of blasphemy, in a controversial blasphemy case. 
 

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Pakistan’s top judge to hear Asia Bibi’s death sentence appeal

KARACHI (UCAN): Pakistan’s chief justice, Saqib Nisar, has announced he will take up the appeal of Asia Bibi, the Catholic mother of five who has been on death row since 2010 for blasphemy (Sunday Examiner, 28 November 2010).
 
He told her chief counsel, Saif ul Malook to prepare her appeal.
 
“Be ready, Saif ul Malook. I am going to fix your case soon and I myself will preside over the bench,” Nisar told Malook on April 21.
 

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Weapons licenses for Pakistan churches

QUETTA (UCAN): The provincial government in Balochistan, southwest Pakistan, plans to issue churches in the region with weapons licenses and has donated millions of rupees to Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta to support victims and families of a suicide bombing that killed nine people on 17 December 2017.
 
“The Balochistan Home Department will issue weapon licenses in the name of the churches,” Samuel Pyara, chairperson of the Implementation Minority Rights Forum (IMRF), said.
 

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Churches in Pakistan reopened after outcry

ISLAMABAD (UCAN): Six Christian churches in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have been allowed to reopen some two weeks after their forced closure over alleged security threats, minority representatives said.
 
The house churches are located in the city of Abbottabad, where Al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, was found and killed in a raid by United States (US) Navy SEAL commandos in 2011.
 

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A protected Christmas in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): Christmas celebrations went off without a hitch in Pakistan as people in the cities of Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta marked the birth of Jesus under military protection.
 
Following the December 17 attack on a Methodist church in Quetta, authorities beefed up security around all Christian places of worship to prevent other terrorist attacks and allow Christian celebrations to go ahead without any problems.
 

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First Christian state funeral in Pakistan

KARACHI (SE): To the background boom of a 19-gun salute, members of the Pakistan army, navy and air force formed an guard of honour for the body of Sister Ruth Pfau, who died on August 10, as it was carried into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi for a state funeral.
 
The flag of the Vatican City flew at half-mast high above the cathedral, alongside the Pakistani national flag. The requiem Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Joseph Coutts.
 

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Terrorism is the problem not the young missionaries

WENZHOU (UCAN): Two young Chinese, Li Xinheng, from Hunan, and Meng Lisi, from Hubei in central China, were abducted by terrorists in Pakistan on May 24 and are believed to have been killed by their kidnappers.
 
The two, who were in their mid-20s, were working under the auspices of a Korean Christian missionary, Seo Jun-won, who together with his wife was running a small school in which Li and Meng were involved.
 

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Blasphemy law should cut both ways

KARACHI (UCAN): The Joint Christian Action Committee in Pakistan is petitioning the government to charge Zafar Ullah Khan, a leader in the ruling party, with blasphemy if he refuses to apologise for drawing an offensive parallel between the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and Jesus Christ.
 

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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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