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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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Pax Christi recognises rights groups in Pakistan

GENEVA (SE): The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan were jointly awarded the Pax Christi International Peace Award for 2016 at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 17.

Cecil Chaudhry, from the Justice and Peace Commission, accepted the award from Greet Vanaerschot, the secretary general of Pax Christi International, on behalf of both groups.

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Putting Christmas back on the rails

LAHORE (UCAN): The Railways and Human Rights Ministries in Pakistan ran a special train over the Christmas period to express solidarity with the minority Christian community and promote interfaith harmony.

State-run Associated Press Pakistan quoted unnamed officials as saying what they termed a special human rights train was the first rail service to celebrate a minority festival.

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Web around Pakistan’s blasphemy laws

HONG KONG (SE): A petition sponsored by the American Centre for Law and Justice calling for the release of Asia Bibi (Asia Noreen), a Catholic mother of five who has been sitting on Pakistan’s death row since 2010 on charges under the nation’s controversial blasphemy law, has to date collected 540,000 signatures.

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Pakistan again baulks on blasphemy case

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): The long awaited appeal against the death sentence and conviction for blasphemy of Pakistani Catholic woman, Asia Bibi, was again postponed by the Supreme Court in Islamabad on October 13, when one of the three judges stepped down from the case.

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Pakistan clamp on unlicensed media

LAHORE (AsiaNews): The Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority has closed 11 unlicensed Christian television channels in a communiqué that orders them to take the necessary measures to stop their listed programmes.

They include Catholic TV, run by the archdiocese of Lahore. The director, Father Morris Jalal, claims it is the first time that a formal notification of authorities has targeted channels with Christian content.

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