04/28/2011, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Anti-Christian violence in Punjab, young woman raped, Protestant pastor attacked

Two members of an extremist group open fire at the car of Rev Ashraf Paul in Lahore. His 24-year-old son is critically wounded but is now out of danger. In Faisalabad, a police officer rapes a 24-year-old woman over four days.
Lahore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Anti-Christian violence continues in Pakistan, after Easter was celebrated in memory of Shahbaz Bhatti, the country’s Minority Affairs minister assassinated in March. Yesterday, an extremist group ambushed a Protestant clergyman travelling with his family, seriously wounding his 24-year-old son. A few days ago, a young Christian woman was abducted and raped over several days by a man claiming to be a police officer. After she was let go, he fled without leaving a trace.

Two members of Tehreek-e-Ghazi Bin Shaheed (TGBS), an extremist Muslim group, attacked a Protestant clergyman and his family. The incident occurred near the town of Hamza, near Lahore (Punjab). The pastor’s 24-year-old son sustained serious injuries. The clergyman himself had received threats and demands for money a few weeks earlier.

Rev Ashraf Paul, 55, and his family were driving down Ferozepur Road. At one point, two men on motorbikes intercepted the vehicle, firing at the clergyman’s car, which was hit at least five times. His 24-year-old son, Sarfaz, was critically wounded.

The two suspects, aged 19 to 21, fled the scene right after the attack. Their identity is unknown, but in addition to police, activists from the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) are on the case.

Sarfaz Paul was rushed to the Mayo Hospital, in central Lahore, where he underwent emergency surgery. Doctors removed three bullets, from the young man’s jaw, waist and public area. The latest medical bulletin said that he was “out of danger” but still under close observation.

In Faisalabad, 24-year-old Sehar Naz, was abducted and repeatedly rape by a man claiming to be a police officer.

After sexually assaulting her several times, in Lahore and Faisalabad, the man, who claimed to be a Major Rana Atif, left the woman at the Faisalabad Railway Station.

The sexual assault, which occurred in mid-April, was confirmed by doctors at Faisalabad’s Civil Hospital.

Police opened a file against the accused rapist, who has since disappeared without leaving a trace.

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