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    » 09/09/2011, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Pakistani Christian killed during pilgrimage to the town of Mary



    Sunil Masih, 25, left the group travelling to Mariamabad and never returned. The corpse showed signs of injury. Police deny possibility of his being run over by a truck. Identity of the perpetrators of the murder still unknown. The pain of the family, who lost their only son.
    Mariamabad (AsiaNews) - Sunil Masih, a 25 year old Pakistani Christian, was kidnapped and killed as he walked on a pilgrimage to the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Mariamabad, the "city of Mary," in the province of Punjab. The Pakistan Christian Post (PCP) reports that during the journey the young man left the group for a few minutes, heading for the fields for physiological needs, and his body was found shortly after, with visible signs of injuries (see photo). The boy was run over by a truck, to make it appear an accident. However, police investigating the body and the dynamics of episode, strongly denyi the possibility of it being an accident.

    Sunil Masih was an only child and sole source of income for the family, because his father suffers from serious kidney problems. At the news of the death of the young man, the mother fainted from the pain. Human rights activists and Pakistani Christians denounce repeated deaths, thefts and robberies perpetrated against the religious minority. They demand greater protection from police and government authorities.

    For 60 years now, September 4 marks the beginning of the traditional pilgrimage to the Grotto of Our Lady, Daman E Mariam, located in one of the oldest Christian places of Pakistan, about 115 km from Lahore. The culmination of the festival coincides with September 8, the day the Church celebrates the Nativity of Mary, Mother of Jesus.

    The faithful from around the country are travelling on country roads on foot or by bicycle. Some groups are moving by train, those who have them, by car. All embellish their means of transport with streamers or banners to signal that they are travelling to the village of Mary. Catholics are moving along with Christians of other confessions, but also Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Our Lady of Marialabad has many devotees and over the years has called to her a growing number of pilgrims.

    The construction of the grotto dates back to 1927, built by a missionary, Fr Ostar. Years later, in 1949, Fr. Emmanuel Asi promoted the first pilgrimage over three days, starting then as now on September 4th, the faithful throughout the country make their journey to pay homage to the Virgin and ask for her intercession.
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    See also

    18/09/2009 PAKISTAN
    Governor of Punjab; the law on blasphemy should be abolished
    Salman Taseer: "exploited" by extremists to target religious minorities, who instead should be "protected". Christian leaders: “important statements”. The cancellation of the norm is decided by the central government which must "inform" the citizens of the violence. The list of anti-Christian persecution in the Punjab.

    20/06/2013 PAKISTAN
    Christian minister in Islamabad: Economics and minority rights, here are my challenges
    From 8 June Kamran Michael is Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping in the PML-N-led government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For 10 years a member of the provincial assembly of Punjab, he is the second Christian (after Shahbaz Bhatti) to play a leading role in the executive. A plan for development and the goal of peace.

    29/10/2009 PAKISTAN
    Save Christians and Pakistan from the blasphemy law
    The blasphemy law - prison and death sentences for those who offend the Koran or Muhammad - is a tool to eliminate religious minorities. AsiaNews launches an awareness campaign for its repeal. Because of this law, since 2001 at least 50 Christians have been killed, families and entire villages destroyed. In the country Islamic and Christian voices appeal for its cancellation.

    29/10/2009 PAKISTAN
    The Catholic Church in Pakistan (An overview)
    Catholics are less than 1% of a total of over 160 million inhabitants. There are two archdiocese in the country, four dioceses and an apostolic prefecture. A small minority but active and appreciated for efforts in education, helping the poor, health care and emergency interventions.

    27/02/2010 PAKISTAN
    Karachi, a Christian sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy
    Qamar David was in prison since 2006. In the weeks after his arrest police failed to find any concrete evidence against him. Muslim co-defendant acquitted, for lack of evidence. Christian activists: verdict result of "influences and prejudices” and motivated by “ external pressures ".



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