Islamabad bishop calls for unity against terrorism
The bishop’s message underlines the patriotic nature of the minority community that has been threatened by extreme elements of the majority Muslim community over blasphemy laws and recent US attacks.
Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad/Rawalpindi has asked Christians to, “Work closely with our armed forces and the government of Pakistan”as “our country is a victim of terrorism.”
In recent weeks, media reports have focused on possible peace talks between Pakistani authorities and Islamists, a prospect that ended abruptly after the death of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mashud Hakim Ullah in a US attack on November 1.
For Washington, he was at the top of the world's most-wanted terrorists’ list. However, the Pakistani government had taken tentative steps in recent weeks towards talks with his group. For this reason, Islamabad strongly condemned the US drone attack.
American attack on terrorists have often seen the latter turn their ire on fellow Pakistani citizens belonging to the Christian community in revenge. The bishop’s message in this context seems to underline the patriotic nature of the minority community that has been threatened by extreme elements of the majority Muslim community over blasphemy laws as well as US attacks.
Mashud's death has also underscored divisions within Islamist ranks, with the Taliban going against other radical groups. Jamat-e-Islami leader Manwar Hassan not only wants an immediate end to drone attacks, but insists on calling the dead Taliban leader "a martyr," a view rejected by the head of Sunni Tehrik, a radical Sunni group. For the latter, describing the Taliban leader as a martyr is "treason" because he was "a terrorist" who caused the loss of "thousands of lives" and "fought against our army."