In a letter to Pakistani churches, World Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has strongly condemned attacks on Christians in Badami Bagh, Lahore, on Saturday 10 March 2013.
More than a hundred houses were burned to the ground, displacing a large number of people, following allegations of blasphemy.
Christians and other minority groups, including some Muslim minorities, now feel under attack in the country, with human rights groups expressing increasing alarm at a worsening situation.
In faithfulness to the Christian message, the WCC is careful to condemn all such violence and abuses, irrespective of the ethnic or religious origins of the people involved, but feels a particular need to support hard-pressed fellow Christians at this time.
“We share the pain of hundreds of innocent families who have become victims of atrocious acts, and we deplore such actions. We view this targeting of Christians within the context of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, frequently used to persecute religious minorities or settle personal disputes,” said Dr Tveit.
He implied that these incidents were part of the series of attacks against Pakistan's Christian minority, which has often been victimised by the blasphemy laws.
Dr Tveit said that “Pakistan’s federal and provincial authorities should take a firm decision to undertake actions that introduce effective law enforcement mechanisms to protect all religious minorities.”
The world churches' chief assured the churches of “continuous prayers and solidarity with the Christians of the Badami Bagh community in Lahore” and recalled his visit to Lahore one year ago.