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Pakistani government letting down Christians, says charity

The Pakistani Government's being accused of failing Christians after a mob of Muslims destroyed over a hundred homes and two churches.

It's reported they set fire to a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore after a Christian man was accused of blasphemy. Most Christians fled their homes in Badami Bagh before the attack and there were no reports of deaths.

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to give financial support to all those who've been made homeless.

Nasir Saeed is the Director of CLAAS - an organisation working to protect Pakistani Christians. He told Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour compensation isn't enough:

On Sunday, Christians marched in the streets of Islamabad and other cities calling for justice but there's concern they are now being arrested. Wilson Chowdhry from the British Pakistani Christian Association tells Premier's Marcus Jones more.

The Catholic Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore said the attack was "well organised" and could have been averted by adequate police protection.

He told Aid to the Church in Need:

"The Government are to blame; they are responsible. They knew two days before about the threat of this attack happening.

"People are very, very angry and sad. They are sad because they have lived together with the rest of the community for a long, long time. Now they are asking: 'Why is this happening to us?'.

"The situation is very, very pathetic. It is difficult to even look at the people when you see them in a state such as this."

Bishop Shaw went on to urge the international community to renew calls to amend Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws.

Blasphemy against Mohammed is a serious crime in Pakistan and carries the death penalty.

Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of three, is facing a death sentence since her blasphemy conviction three years ago. And, Christian and Pakistan's Minister for Minorities Shabaz Bhatti was murdered after protesting Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

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