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Minorities fear mounting violence

Wave of violence which has claimed more than 400 lives since last month claims Christians

Grave of a Christian victim of the Karachi violence Grave of a Christian victim of the Karachi violence
  • Sunny Gill, Karachi
  • Pakistan
  • August 11, 2011
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Church groups have expressed concerns for vulnerable minorities amid daily killings in a southern archdiocese.

More than 1,200 attended the memorial mass for Arnold Archie Dass, a Christian businessman on August 9 at the Methodist Christ Church in Karachi. Daas, 38, was shot dead on August 6 at a busy crossroads in an attempted carjack.

“We are tired of funerals. The government should step up to stop those who kill the innocent”, said Alma Spanley (one of Daas’ five sisters) after prayers for her brother.

Daas was one of two Christians caught in the wave of violence which has claimed more than 400 lives since last month. Most of the victims are activists of rival political parties in the seaport. A recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 1,138 people were killed in Karachi in the first six months this year.

Sunday congregation has been shrinking in Karachi churches as law enforcement agencies continue search operations around the city. The archdiocese also cancelled a gathering of Sunday school children last month. Last year a priest lost six close relatives including his sister in a bomb blast at a hospital in Karachi.

Father Nazar Nawab also expressed grief at the government inaction. “People are crying but nobody is listening. Continual strikes and exchanges of gun shots are affecting the attendance of the congregation”, said the parish priest of St John’s Church located on Drigh Road.

Franciscan Bishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore said the financial hub is being ripped apart on a linguistic basis. “Even a comment from a Punjabi bishop can be dangerous for Karachi locals who have been in the grip of ethnic and sectarian violence for years. We are praying for peace and harmony in the troubled archdiocese”, he said.

Related reports:

Church promotes peace amid escalating violence
Community shocked as killings continue

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