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British Asian Christian Association
Manchester Pakistan protest.jpg
British Asian Christian Association
World News

Pakistani-Christians protest in Manchester as thousands flee violence

by Sophie Drew

Protestors have taken to the streets of Manchester to rally politicians in Pakistan as thousands of Christians flee their homes.

Following allegations of blasphemy, Imams in Jaranwala encouraged Muslims to seek revenge against Christians.

The ensuing violence saw Christians running away in their multitudes – some, even forced to sleep in fields as they hid amongst the crops.

It comes after two Christian brothers were accused of desecrating the Qur'an. Their names, addresses and identity numbers were found inside the destroyed holy book.

Two men have been arrested under Pakistan's infamously strict blasphemy laws. The punishment for insulting Islam can be death, but many don't reach sentencing before being lynched by mobs.

Churches have been razed to the ground, and many Christians say they cannot return to their homes.

To protest government inaction, 150 people – predominantly Pakistani Christians - took to the streets of Manchester on Sunday, 20th August, calling for an end to the persecution of Christians.

Believers have long suffered under Pakistan's blasphemy laws – often due to false allegations.

Attendees appeared outside the Manchester Consulate General of Pakistan. They each signed a petition, addressed to the Consular General, Muhammad Tariq Wazir.

Church leaders across the globe continue to call for government support for Christians in Pakistan and an end to the blasphemy laws.

Bishop Azad Marshall has returned from Jaranwala in recent days. Speaking to Premier Christian News, he said: "The situation is very bad. We met women and children and men who were absolutely lost. Women crying, children without food after losing their homes, women without clothes, the same clothes they'd been wearing when they were driven out of their homes..."

Christians that have lost their homes in the riot are now being offered 2 million rupees in compensation for the violence they experienced, in an initiative from the Pakistani government, AP News reports. 

Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar says those behind the attacks are "enemies of humanity" and will be punished for their actions. 

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