Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - The young Christian Faisal Masih was killed two days ago in shots fired in the attack of an Islamic extremist group in the Christian suburb of Essa Nagri, on the outskirts of Karachi. This is confirmed by Fr. Mario Rodrigues, a priest in Karachi and Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan. As he explains to Fides, in the area, densely populated, there are about 50,000 Christians, in conditions of extreme poverty and lack of basic services. In the suburb of Essa Nagri there are about 15 churches of various denominations and various NGOs working with projects of education, social and economic support to the community. Among these, the NGO "Mission and Action for Social Services" (MASS), reported to Fides the latest attack against the community, already in past months subject to terrible violence and abuse (see Fides 27/3 and 14/1/2012). After the attack, which occurred on the night of August 29, a crowd of Christians staged a peaceful protest, but the police intervened to disperse the protesters, firing tear gas and seriously injuring Pastor Cornelius and another young Christian man, Shahzad Riaz, both in hospital.
As stated by MASS, "the police, instead of arresting the perpetrators of the attack, arrested dozens of Christian demonstrators." In Essa Nagri Christians are harassed by criminal gangs and Islamic terrorist groups of ethnic Pashtuns: armed to the teeth, the militants enter the area to collect the "Jizya" (the tax imposed, according to the sharia, on the non-Muslim minorities), and extort money from the Christian merchants. MASS activists have been denouncing for a long time continuous robberies, violence and abuses committed under the cover of some Police officials. Militants raid houses, steal and abuse women and children for fun. The local population is terrorized and residents, exasperated, have decided to form their militia of security to defend themselves. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 31/08/2012)