ASIA/PAKISTAN - Police Violence against Christians

Saturday, 18 June 2016 religious freedom   religious minorities   violence  

Paolo Affatato

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - Christians in Pakistan are abused also by the police. On Sunday, June 12 police officer Amir Abdullah raided the Protestant Christian Church in Fazalia district, Lahore, and hit and humiliated Pastor Riaz Rehmat, who was celebrating the liturgy, and addressed the faithful with offensive language.
As reported to Fides by the NGO CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement), the police officer then said he had received a call from someone who complained about the abuse of speakers on behalf of the church. The NGO, committed to the legal protection of Christians in Pakistan, filed a complaint to the Superintendent of the Police, demanding action against the policeman, also because apparently the complaint against the church was completely false and no speaker was disturbing.
The police officer has been suspended from duty and an investigation has been initiated against him. Nasir Saeed, CLAAS Director, said in a statement sent to Fides: "This is a shameful act committed by the police. It is not the first incident of this kind, and such incidents continue to occur. Last month, a similar incident happened in Faisalabad. The police hardly respects the religious feelings of Christians and often violates their right to religious freedom. We urge the authorities to give precise instructions to the police while they are on duty: they are called to protect Christian citizens, not to abuse their power". (PA) (18/06/2016)