» 07/05/2013, 00.00
One person killed in Islamic fundamentalist attack against a Peshawar Protestant church
The victim is a police officer guarding the Assembly of God Church. A recent discriminatory statement by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister sparks outrage among minorities, fuelling tensions. He is a member of the Pakistan Movement for justice, a party that praises equality and respect for all. Catholic priest calls the matter, "Such a shame".
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - This morning two Islamic fundamentalists attacked a
Protestant church, the Assembly of God Church, in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province,
shooting at a policeman on guard several times. Before they fled the scene, they
took the dead officer's weapon and fired at the church. Two clergymen were
inside the building at the time of the incident. Civil society groups and the
Catholic Church condemned the action. Meanwhile, police have registered the
incident and are in pursuit of the gunmen.
Tensions had been running high in the area after Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief
Minister Pervez Kharrak said that Muslims could not be street cleaners or
janitors, who are in short supplies, "only minorities could do those jobs." Minority
groups reacted with outrage calling for his resignation.
Kharrak is a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI, Pakistan Movement
for justice), led by former cricket star Imran Khan.
Following this statement, the church that was attacked received threats
from Islamic extremists and asked for protection from local authorities, who
responded by deployed two police officers to guard the church.
This morning two fundamentalists tried to enter the church, which had two
clergymen inside. They opened fire when one of
police guards on duty tried to intercept them, hitting him in the neck, chest
and near the heart. He died immediately.
Contacted by AsiaNews, Fr Joseph
Edward, of the diocese of Lahore, condemned the chief minister for his
"His words are a clear sign of discrimination" he said, "something
shameful for the PTI, which ran a campaign based on change, peace, justice,
equality and respect for everyone, even for religious minorities ".
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has long been involved in the fight against
terrorism. It has been the scene of hundreds of attacks, which have claimed the
lives 22,000 people in the past five years.
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