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Pakistani terror group threatens to attack churches, Christians over Sweden Quran incident

Pakistan's numerous terror organisations (Photo: Twitter)

The Lahore-based Sunni terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) announced on Sunday that it will attack Christians and churches in Pakistan in retaliation for the Quran burning incident in Sweden last week.

The group said it will also initiate suicide bombings targeting members of the minority in Pakistan. It added that it will work with like-minded terror groups in the region to attack the Christian community to avenge the Quran incident that took place in Sweden on Eid.

In a statement, LeJ spokesperson Naseer Raisani threatened that, “no Church or a Christian will remain safe in Pakistan.” There was no comment by the Pakistani government or its agencies about the threat to the minority community from the terror organisations.

The terror organisation is widely known for its brutal campaign against the Shia Muslims in Pakistan since the 1990s. It not only violently attacked public places like mosques and Shia processions but also indulged in targeted killings of prominent Shia personalities.

It again came into prominence after the US initiated its war on terror with Pakistan as an ally in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda. The LeJ began supporting terrorists against Pakistan to punish it for joining the war on terror. In the 20-year-old flux in the Af-Pak region, LeJ built its network with almost all other terror groups operating in the region.

The LeJ is reported to have targeted not just the Christian community but also Western diplomats in Pakistan over the US and NATO invasion of Afghanistan.

The LeJ threat to the Christians, who are systematically discriminated against in Pakistan, comes on the heels of Eid attacks on the persecuted Ahmadi Muslim community. The Ahmadis, who are considered to be non-Muslims in Pakistan, spent their Eid in fear after the local policemen raided their homes to check if they were celebrating the festival.

Islamist radical group Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had complained to the police that the Ahmadi Muslims were celebrating Eid by sacrificing animals at their homes. The police warned the Ahmadi community members as well as raided their homes, taking several Ahmadi members into custody for celebrating Eid. The police in Pakistan’s Punjab also confiscated the meat and tools used in the sacrifice.

Pakistan has witnessed rising intolerance among its masses with quiet support from the mainstream political parties. Cases of blasphemy over spurious allegations of Quran burning, insulting the Prophet and disrespecting the religion have led to lynching of the countries religious minorities as well as foreigners. Some of the widely-reported cases of blasphemy include that of a Chinese engineer, working on a joint China-Pak project saved in the nick of time by the army, as well as the Sri Lankan factory manager who was beaten and burnt to death by workers of his own factory.

Also read: Targeted killing of Hindu doctor highlights systematic attacks on minorities in Pakistan