Published in The News on Aug. 19 ::
In a joint press conference here Monday, members of Pakistan Christian National Party and Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement demanded the government to condemn the killings of Christians in Iraq, on all international fora.
Addressing the conference, vice-chairman of Pakistan Christian National Party Martin Javed Michael said the situation in Iraqi city of Mosul, which has been captured by ISIS activists, had come to a critical stage. Since last month, a group affiliated with ISIS had killed numerous Iraqi Christians in Mosul Dam, said Michael. He said they were killing Christians in a gruesome manner by cutting the necks and hanging them on a cross for public display. He said Iraqi Christian children had been killed by militants using deadly weapons, and women and girls were raped in front of their parents.
The Pakistan Christian National Party leader said Christians were helpless and hopeless due to this endless violence in Iraq. Dozens of them have migrated to other countries for safety, he said. Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement Director, Joseph Francis said Christians in Pakistan were grieved over the open violation of human rights in Iraq and hoped that their concerns over this deteriorating situation were taken into consideration by the government. He said Christians in Pakistan had raised their voice in the past against human rights violations not only in Pakistan but in other parts of the world.
Leaders of Pakistan Christian National Party said the bombing and killing of innocent Palestinians by Israel was condemnable. They said Palestine was home to not only Muslims but a large number of Christians as well who had been living there for centuries. The representatives said Christian Palestinian leader George Habash and a Christian Mujahida Laila Khalid had played a historic role in the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. They said it was a drawback that Pakistani media, government representatives and human rights champions in Pakistan were silent over the killings in Iraq. Groups such as Muslim Christian Federation and groups in favour of international religious freedom were silent, neither they released statements nor arranged protest demonstrations to condemn the killings of Christians in Iraq, said Javed Michael. The Pakistan Christian National Party and Centre for Legal Aid and Assistance demanded the immediate action of United Nations against terrorism, brutality, and inhuman act of faith-based killings. It declared that it would hold protest demonstrations in solidarity with Christians in Iraq in the country and Pakistani Christians would offer special prayers in churches for the restoration of peace in Iraq.