ucanews.com reporter, Karachi
Updated: March 05, 2018 10:50 AM GMT
Rescue services attend a church in Punjab's Sahiwal district after worshippers were beaten up by men with sticks on March 3. (Photo courtesy of Mubarak Masih)
Tension and fear gripped a Christian village in Pakistan's Punjab province after an attack on worshippers at a Pakistan Gospel Assembly church.
The assault took place at Village 77/4R in Sahiwal district on March 3.
"More than two dozen men carrying sticks forced their way into the church and beat up Christian worshippers," Pastor Cecil Daniel told ucanews.com.
"Women and children are among those who have been injured in the attack."
Mubarak Masih, a Christian human rights activist, said police had yet to take action against the attackers.
"Although this was a matter of personal enmity, the attackers found it convenient to enter the church and beat up worshippers," Masih told ucanews.com.
"The village has around 200 Christian families who are confined to their homes over fear of further violence."
The attack came a week after supporters of a hard-line Islamist group attacked the minority Christian community in Faisalabad, the second largest city in the eastern province.
Tension began when activists of Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLY) painted the wall of a Christian house adjacent to Good News Church with pro-Islam slogans.
This led to a day-long violent clash between Christians and Muslims with both sides using firearms.
"Police have booked five Christians under anti-terror laws while no action has been taken against TLY activists for instigating the violence," Masih said.
Massiha Millat, a Christian political party, has strongly condemned the rise in attacks on religious minorities.
"The attacks have become so frequent that it has become difficult to keep count," general secretary Aftab Gill told ucanews.com.
"The Punjab government has failed in its constitutional duty to protect the rights of Christians living in the province."