Minorities in Pakistan ‘under siege’: Anglican leader
LAHORE: The spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans urged Pakistan to treat all people equally on Wednesday during a trip designed to show his support for the Christian community, saying many felt ‘under siege’.
“There is a considerable sense of anxiety, of being under siege,” Justin Welby, a former oil executive, told Reuters outside a church in Lahore.
“There was a very clear sense that people were nervous about the misuse of the blasphemy law, as a sort of a tool of politics, a way of gaining attention, or as a mob thing,” he added, flanked by two Pakistani bishops.
He earlier told reporters, “Equality under the law is very important.”
“Christians, historically, have given tremendous services to this country and I hope they can be given the scale of freedom and equal rights under the law,” he told AFP.
“Christians have been a powerful force for good in this country over a very long time indeed, in schooling, in hospitals.”
He added his message to the people and government of this country was to respect and safeguard the rights of all minorities.
Talking to media, he said he met many Muslim religious leaders and government fumitories including Punjab governor Muhammad Sarwar.
“Everybody is concerned about the private use of blasphemy laws, which is a sensitive matter in Pakistan,” he said. “However, they don’t suggest a way forward and mechanism how to stop it.”