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March 16, 2015
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Major attacks on minorities in Pakistan

National

March 16, 2015

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LAHORE: Ever since October 28, 2011, when an attack on a Protestant church in Bahawalpur had resulted in 16 deaths- to the sheer dismay of the Christian community in Pakistan- over 2.9 million followers of seven different faiths and their places of worship have also been targeted by terrorists fairly regularly as compared with their compatriot Pakistanis during this about last decade-and-a-half, writes Sabir Shah.
Here follows the chronology of a few major post-9/11 terrorism incidents against Christians and other non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan:
On February 22, 2002, an American journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered in Karachi. This incident had no link with religious narrow mindedness though.
On March 17 of the same year, an attack on a Protestant church in Islamabad’s Diplomatic Enclave had killed five people, including the wife of a US diplomat and their daughter.
On May 8, 2002, a bomb in Karachi killed 11 Frenchmen and three Pakistanis near the Sheraton Hotel, though this incident cannot be linked to religious bigotry.
On June 14, 2002, a car bomb exploded near the US Consulate in Karachi, killing 12. The outer wall of the consulate was blown apart. This, of course, was a backlash of the US-led war on terror.
On August 9, 2002, three nurses-and an attacker-were killed in an attack on a church in Taxila’s Christian Hospital.
In August 2002, gunmen had stormed a Christian missionary school for foreigners in Islamabad, killing six.
On September 25, 2002, a Christian welfare organization “Peace and Justice Institute” was attacked in Karachi. The attackers tied seven office workers to their chairs before shooting each in the head.
On December 25, 2002, a grenade thrown at a Presbyterian church near Sialkot had killed three young girls on Christmas.
On February 28, 2003, two cops were shot dead outside the United States Consulate in Karachi.
On October 7, 2005, eight Ahmadis were killed inside their Mandi

Bahauddin place of worship.
In November 2005, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and United Presbyterian churches were attacked at Sangla Hill (near Lahore). The attack was over allegations of violation of blasphemy laws by a local Christian, Yousaf Masih.
On March 2, 2006, a car bomb attack near the US Consulate in Karachi killed four people including a US diplomat, a day before President George Bush was to reach Pakistan.
On June 5, 2006, a Pakistani Christian, Nasir Ashraf, was working near Lahore when he drank water from a public facility. He was assaulted by the locals for his ‘sin.’ A mob gathered in no time and Ashraf was thrashed black and blue.
In August 2007, a Christian missionary couple, Reverend Arif and Kathleen Khan, were gunned down in Islamabad.
On March 15, 2008, a bomb was hurled at a wall of an Islamabad restaurant. It killed a Turkish woman. Four of the 12 people wounded in the bombing were reportedly FBI agents.
On June 2, 2008, the Danish embassy in Islamabad was attacked with a car bomb, killing six people. A post purportedly from al-Qaeda appeared on the Internet a day after the attack and mentioned the publication of “insulting drawings” by a Danish newspaper and its refusal to “apologise for publishing them.”
On August 1, 2009, eight Christians were burnt alive and a church set ablaze in Gojra for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran. Non-fatal injuries were 19.
On February 22, 2010, two Sikhs were kidnapped in the tribal belt. They were later beheaded by their abductors.
On May 28, 2010, two Ahmadi worship places in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu and Model Town localities were attacked, killing around 100 people.
On September 3, 2010, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an Ahmadi place of worship in Mardan, killing himself and an Ahmadi.
On April 29, 2011, at least 20 people, including police officials, were wounded as 500 Muslim demonstrators had attacked the Christian community in Gujranwala city.
On March 2, 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian minister in the Pakistan government was mowed down for opposing the blasphemy law.
On October 12, 2012, Ryan Stanton, a 16-year old Christian boy, accused of blasphemy, had gone into hiding after his home was ransacked by a crowd. Stanton stated that he had been targeted because he had rebuffed pressures to convert to Islam
On September 23, 2012, a mob of angry protesters in Mardan reportedly set on fire a local church, St Paul’s High School, a library, a computer laboratory and houses of four clergymen, including Bishop Peter Majeed. The protestors were furious over the making of an anti Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” in the West.
On September 3, 2012, the BBC reported: ‘a suicide bomber killed himself and two others when he rammed his car into a US consular vehicle in Peshawar.’ Though the US State Department spokesperson said that no consulate staff had been killed, the then provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain had told AFP earlier that two Americans had been killed in the attack.
On June 23, 2013, an attack on foreign tourists in Nanga Parbart had killed 10 foreign tourists.
On September 22, 2013, twin explosions at All Saint’s Church in Peshawar’s Kohati gate area killed over 80 people and wounded nearly 150 others. The attack was the second largest in Peshawar in terms of casualties. The largest was an explosion in the city’s Meena Bazaar on October 28, 2009, in which 137 persons lost their lives and some 200 were wounded.
Media had reported that around 400 members of the Christian community were coming out of the church after attending the Sunday service when two suicide bombers, who had sneaked into the crowd of worshippers, blew themselves up in quick succession at around 11:50 am.
On March 9, 2013, an enraged mob had torched at least 150 houses and two churches located in Lahore’s Christian-dominated neighbourhood of Joseph Colony (near Badami Bagh, following allegations of blasphemy against a Christian man. Cases of massive arson and looting in the area were reported. After the colony was attacked and vandalized, it took the traumatised families of the colony many months to struggle and lead normal lives.

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