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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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Eucharistic Congress a first for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): Pakistan held its first Eucharistic Congress in Islamabad during July, ending in an appeal to Catholics who have fallen away from their Church to come home.

“People say that prayer counts most, whatever Church you attend,” Father Yousaf Amanat, from the host parish, said. “Protestant pastors are attracting many Catholics. We hope to counter this trend through greater awareness.”

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Young Christian singer impresses with Eid song

Lahore (UCAN): As Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr, a young Pakistani Christian, Ammon Alishah, made waves in the country with his special Eid song.

The song, Eid ke nazare (Scenes of Eid) was composed by Alishah’s father, a pastor. The video, now on YouTube, was filmed in Karachi and Sukkur. 

“This is my first official song and I wanted to release it on the eve of Eid,” Alishah said.

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Pakistan mourns national treasure

KARACHI (SE): The victim of an assassination in Karachi, Pakistan, on June 22, renowned qawwal, Amjad Farid Sabri, was described as the loss of a national treasure in a statement from the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

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Dispersing fear after Lahore bomb attack

Lahore (UCAN): Dispersing fear in the wake of the bomb attack that shattered the peace of Easter Sunday on March 27 in the  Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, is a major part of the support work being done by Caritas for the victims (Sunday Examiner, April 10).

A Caritas programme is providing trauma counselling to those affected by the bombing.

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Two-year old shot in job dispute in Pakistan

Faisalabad (SE): A Muslim landowner in Nazimabad, Pakistan allegedly shot and killed a two-year-old Christian boy according to a May 11 report the Fides news agency.

A dispute arose when the child’s father, Samsoon Masih, refused to do further work at the home of Haji Rasheed, without first getting paid for painting his house.

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Pakistan postage stamp honours Christian leader

Islamabad (AsiaNews): Dewan Bahadur S.P. Singha, a Christian leader who, as a member of the Punjab Assembly, supported the partition of British India and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, has been honoured with a commemorative postage stamp issued by the Pakistan Post Office.

Christian and Muslim leaders welcomed the initiative, calling it an important step toward recognising the role played by minorities in nation building.

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