Pakistani religious scholars show solidarity with Christian community after priest murdered
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special adviser for religious affairs and religious harmony, Tahir Ashrafi, promised Pakistani Christians that the attackers would soon be apprehended and punished.
He visited St. John’s Church in Peshawar with a group of Muslim religious scholars to offer his condolences to the family and friends of the slain priest on behalf of the Pakistani Prime Minister who secured all possible cooperation in the attack.
“Pakistani ulema, scholars, religious leaders and Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder with their Christian community,” he said. “The whole nation shares the grief of the Christian community and we stand with the minorities living in Pakistan. We will not allow anyone to destroy the rights of Pakistani minorities or target them,” he said.
Expressing his grief over the incident, Ashrafi said the enemies were “targeting Muslim and non-Muslim religious leaders to create chaos” and fueling religious and sectarian differences in the country. “We must thwart these conspiracies through mutual harmony and unity with the same spirit that we defeated extremism and terrorism.”
The priest was laid to rest on Monday and his memorial service was attended by more than 3,000 mourners. Police said they widened the investigation and manhunt to find two unidentified assailants who shot and killed Father Siraj and injured Reverend Patrick Naeem.
The Pakistan Human Rights Commission condemned the killing and demanded urgent measures for the protection of minorities, in particular a prompt investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of violence against religious minorities.