Two recent attacks on Christians in the Pakistani city of Quetta have been strongly condemned by the National Commission for Justice and Peace, an arm of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Four members of a Catholic family were killed in a militant attack in southern Pakistan on April 2, a day after the minority community celebrated Easter.
On April 15, unidentified gunmen on motorbikes opened fire at a group of Christians standing near a church in the city, killing two men.
Quetta is the capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan. The population is 96 percent Muslim, and 2.7 percent Christian.
The Christian minority is often targeted by Islamic State militants, and last December, nine people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a church in the city.
Balochistan separatist groups are also active in the city.
The National Commission for Justice and Peace issued a statement saying that it is the responsibility of the state to provide protection and security to its citizens.
Cecil Shane Chaudhry, the commission’s executive director, demanded that the government “immediately take serious notice of this dangerous trend emerging and properly inquire all these incidents and formulate an independent inquiry commission.”
“These incidents show the inability of national action plan to counter extremism and intolerance. Government must ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice,” he said.
The chairperson of the commission, Archbishop Joseph Arshad said he was deeply sorry due to “loss of precious lives and prayed for the souls of the deceased, the injured and their families.”