SHAFAQNA- Leaders of Christian churches in Pakistan announced that they are in solidarity with the Shia Muslims.
Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, national director of the Pakistani Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace, urged government leaders to “protect all religious minorities.”
“The government must take notice of Shia killings. Nobody has the right to force their beliefs upon others,” Mani told UCA News.
Mani also addressed the leaders of Sunni Muslims and told them to condemn violence against the Shia Muslims.
An estimated 95 percent of the country’s population are Muslim. The other five percent belong to other religious minorities including Christians and Hindus.
Shias are a minority among the Pakistani Muslims, comprising only 20 percent of the total Muslim population in the country. Sunni Muslims consider them as heretics. Thus, they are often persecuted and harassed.
“We always blamed terrorists for the bloodshed but now a state institution has proven to be biased against us,” said Syed Muhammad Raza, a spokesman for the Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen party, which represents Shia Muslims, UCA News reported.
Since 1986, around 80,000 Shias have been killed because of persecution, Raza said.
“Leaders of religious minorities and opposition parties have visited our camps because they believe our demands are genuine,” Raza shared, adding, “But the federal government is still silent.”