Youhanabad dead remembered as Pakistan Senate wants terrorism charges dropped

A candlelit vigil is held on March 17, 2015, to commemorate those killed in the suicide attacks on the Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church in Lahore's Youhanabad area. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Hundreds attended a commemoration service on Thursday, 15 March, for those killed and injured in the 2015 Easter suicide attacks on two churches in Youhanabad – the main Christian district in Lahore, Pakistan. The twin suicide bombings, which killed 17 and injured another 80, were claimed by a splinter group . . . Read More

Pakistan Christian still on death row, five years after his ‘blasphemy’ sparked Joseph Colony attack

Pakistan Christian still on death row, five years after his ‘blasphemy’ sparked Joseph Colony attack
At the fifth anniversary of the arson attack on a Christian neighbourhood in the Pakistani city of Lahore, the mother of the Christian man convicted of blaspheming against Islam – and so provoking the attack – says she still prays for his release. Sawan Masih*, a 30-year-old sanitation worker, was accused . . . Read More

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?
The US State Department last week placed Pakistan on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations of religious freedom”. The US did not, however, go as far as adding it to its ten ‘Countries of Particular Concern’* – for countries where “governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and . . . Read More

Blasphemy laws violate human rights in 1/3 nations – USCIRF

Over a third of the world’s countries have blasphemy laws that violate at least one internationally recognised human rights principle, according to a new report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Over a third of the world’s countries have blasphemy laws that violate at least one internationally recognised human rights principle, according to a new report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Most blasphemy laws are “embedded in criminal codes” and are “vaguely worded”, with “unduly harsh penalties . . . Read More

Pakistani Christians in Thailand face renewed pressure to return home

Pakistani Christians in Thailand face renewed pressure to return home
World Watch Monitor has heard from reliable sources that the Thai government is planning to cancel bail for all male asylum seekers in Bangkok. The move would require them to return to detention centres straight away. This would include many of the estimated 11,500 Pakistani Christians who complained in 2016 . . . Read More

Pakistan court grants bail to chief suspect in oven killings of Christian couple

Pakistan court grants bail to chief suspect in oven killings of Christian couple
A Pakistani court has granted bail to the lead suspect in the brutal 2014 killings of a young Christian couple, burned alive in a brick kiln where they worked as bonded labourers, itself illegal in Pakistan. National outrage over their deaths meant the case had moved to Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court . . . Read More

Pakistani Christians face eviction from Islamabad slums

Pakistani Christians face eviction from Islamabad slums
Over 1000 “katchi abadi” residents gather outside the National Press Club in April 2014 to protest against plans to demolish 12 Islamabad slums.Dawn   Christians in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, are facing eviction from their homes, after the Capital Development Authority went to the country’s highest court to request the . . . Read More

Pakistan: 23 unreported ‘blasphemy’ cases in 2 years

Pakistan: 23 unreported ‘blasphemy’ cases in 2 years
Since 2013, the All Pakistan Ulema Council (APUC) has intervened in 23 incidents involving Christians accused of blasphemy, preventing them from becoming major incidents, according to Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, the APUC Chairman. (The APUC, a representative group of senior Muslim clerics, is very influential in Pakistani public life.) It . . . Read More