Half of the targeted churches are situated in Essa Nagri in Karachi which has a relatively large Christian population.
Philadelphia Pentecostal Church of Pakistan, situated in a congested lane of Karachi’s Essa Nagri locality was attacked for the second time this year, on 18 October, 2012, when armed men broke into the church from a graveyard situated next to it during a power outage. The rampaging Muslim mob broke the windows, threw the Bibles on the floor and took away cash donations worth Rs 40, 000.
A group of people praying in a mosque were so irked by the voices of children singing carols at a nearby church that they decided to silence them by attacking their house of worship. Muslim men stormed into the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in New Mianwali Colony in Manghopir on 11 January, 2012, slapped the children, wrecked the furniture, smashed the microphone and kicked the altar stating that the children’s singing was disturbing their prayer.
A property of the Catholic Church in Garhi Shahu worth billions of rupees was razed by the Punjab government on 10 January, 2012. The property housed a home for elderly people, a girls’ school, a convent and a Chapel which were all demolished with no notice of eviction or transfer served on the legal holders of the property, the Catholic Church, Gosha-e-Aman.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church, also located in Essa Nagri was attacked on 19 May, 2012, when armed men barged into the church compound seeking illegal electricity connection from a pole, just before the evening mass was about to commence. Resistance by the worshippers resulted in firing which injured Aftab Bhatti Khairat Masih, 40, Khurram Afzal, 20, and Khurram Ishaq, 15.
St Luke’s Church, situated opposite the house of minority parliamentarian Saleem Khokhar, was also attacked in May 2012.
Nasir Masih, 24, and Rafi Masih, 25, were shot dead on September 15, 2012 when five gunmen entered their homes in Karachi’s Essa Nagri neighborhood and shot and killed them at close range.
Christians in Pakistan are a small and vulnerable minority with no political or economic power. There is an urgent need to protect them from violence and atrocities, propaganda and prejudice, which are being fuelled by fanatic clerics and anti-Christian groups. The Pakistani civil society and the media should stand up boldly for the safety and security of the peaceful Christian community who live in fear in their own country even though their contributions to the educational and social progress of the Pakistani nation are un-matched.