Pak Christian group demands separate province

A Pakistani Christian organisation has demanded a separate province for the minority community in view of the growing sense of insecurity among Christians following the arrest of a minor girl for allegedly desecrating the Quran.

Younus Masih Bhatti, president of the Pakistan United Christian Welfare Association, said the formation of a commission to work on creating new provinces by the Pakistan People's Party-led government "reflected the need to make new provinces in Pakistan".

"So, keeping in view the two million Christians in the country and a sense of insecurity among them, there is a requirement for a separate province for them so that they can enjoy equal rights like the majority," he said.

Bhatti appealed to all political parties to support the "just demand" of the Christians.He said his organisation would gather all Christian bodies under one umbrella and launch a struggle for a separate province.

His remarks came in the wake of the arrest of Rimsha Masih in the federal capital on August 16 on charges of burning pages of the Quran.

A medical board has determined that Rimsha is aged between 12 and 14 years and suffers from some form of mental impairment.

A court in Islamabad is expected to take up a petition seeking bail for Rimsha tomorrow.Bhatti said minority communities had "serious issues" in Pakistan as they were being exploited and persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Citing the case of Rimsha, he said it was time to review the country's controversial blasphemy law, which is being used only against minorities. 

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