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Fourteen armed men attack Christian school in Pakistan's Punjab province

by Alex Collett

It's been reported by Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA) that fourteen armed men attacked a Christian school in Sheikhupura city in Pakistan's Punjab province.

The incident took place on April 29 at Global Passion School, which is managed by Presbyterians and has been providing free education and food to Christian students from Brick Kiln families since 2018.

The men tortured school staff, damaged vehicles and demanded exortion of money from the principal of the school Simon Peter Kaleem and issued death threats if the school authorities failed to make payment.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's South Asia Deputy Team Leader, whose identity cannot be revealed for safety reasons, spoke to Premier about whether he was surprised by this attack: "I would say that it 
doesn't come as a surprise, because time and again, in Pakistan, we have seen and witnessed such attacks taking place. 

"As you know, we've seen how the blasphemy laws have always been used to settle personal scores. 

"One of the reasons, stems from the fact that the minority community is economically marginalised. 

"So they become soft targets for such attacks that takes place. 

"The interior motive of trying to get the property or trying to extort money might be because they feel that a school that is trying to teach impoverished children or children from marginalised communities, that they're trying to excel extort that money, because they feel that they may be being funded from the outside, which sort of labels something like a Western agenda."

The armed men demanded 100,000 rupees (USD 536) in extortion money every month and threatened the school and said if the demand was not met they would forcibly stop Christian worship and the school's operations. 

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