Pakistani president concerned over situation in Christian-dominated town
www.chinaview.cn 2009-08-02 21:02:25   Print

    ISLAMABAD, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered the concerned authorities to ensure restoration of law and order in the Christian-dominated town of Gojra in eastern Pakistan, said a spokesman of the president on Sunday.

A Muslim boy stands in front of the burnt homes of his neighbours in Pakistan's Punjab province July 31, 2009, after a group of Christian residents were attacked in Gririan Village near Faisalabad district the previous night. (Xinhua/Reuters, File Photo)
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    President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar told reporters that Zardari had expressed grave concern over the incidents of Gojra in which at least seven people, including four women and two children, were burned to death and dozens of others received critical injuries following the second incident of violence against Christians in the Punjab province in one month.

    The latest riots, which started almost a week ago following allegations that a copy of the holy Quran was defiled, escalated Saturday as locals, shouting slogans against Christians, took to the streets in the Christian town.

    Pointing out that nobody would be allowed to take law in hand, Zardari directed federal minister for minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti to remain in Gojra until the situation becomes normal and also asked him to take steps for the security of people's life and property.

    Following the escalation, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, on the directions of President Zardari, ordered the Punjab Rangers, the paramilitary force, to reach Gojra and help the civil administration maintain law and order.

    Rangers, who took control of the city, have started patrolling in Gojra. Spokesman of the Rangers has said that the situation is now totally under control.

Muslim men are framed by the destroyed homes of their neighbours in Pakistan's Punjab province on July 31, 2009, after a group of Christian residents were attacked in Gririan Village near Faisalabad district the previous night. (Xinhua/Reuters, File Photo)
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    Meanwhile, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that police, launching a crackdown, had arrested over 100 people with Abdul Khalid, member of a banned organization, among the arrested.

    Sanaullah said that authorities had investigated the allegation of a Holy Quran being defiled "and our initial reports said that there has not been any incident of desecration".

    He said that the situation calmed down Friday, but extremists entered the city Saturday and pushed people toward armed clashes.

    Sanaullah said that the Gojra incidents are not religious clashes between Christians and Muslims and are created by terrorists who have their own agenda.

At least 8 killed in Muslim-Christian clashes in E Pakistan

    ISLAMABAD, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- At least eight people were burned alive in religious clashes between Muslims and the minority Christian community in Gojra of eastern Pakistan's Punjab province, local TV reports said Saturday.

    Two houses have also been torched with the clashes still in progress unabated with armed people on rooftops firing gunshots in a colony in front of a railway station in Gojra. Full story

Editor: Li Shuncheng
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