A Pakistani official dismissed reports of Christian persecution, comparing them to knife crimes in the UK.
During a two-day visit in Brussels, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said accusations of Christians being treated harshly in Pakistan are nothing more but exaggerations. He claimed that these were only “individual incidents” and were an example of “western interests” which “want to paint Pakistan in a particular way,” according to The Guardian.
We respect them [Christians] and we want them to be there. We will do everything possible to protect them and we are. —Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Reports say there are 2.5 million Christians in Pakistan who endure persecution on a daily basis because of the country’s blasphemy laws.
Qureshi belittled these reports and pointed out that these shouldn’t be called as a ‘trend.’ “Individual incidents can be quoted anywhere, [of] minorities being mistreated here, in Europe, in Britain.”
Qureshi argued that in first world countries such as the UK, isolated incidents of crimes are not treated as persecution. He mentioned the four fatal knife crimes in four days in London, which put the city in international news recently.
“I can quote you examples of how knife crime has gone up in Britain that is a clear reflection of an increased intolerance within a society which has been so tolerant, so accommodating. So there are examples over here, and there could be some examples over there,” said the foreign minister.
Qureshi maintained that Christians are a very much welcomed part of the community in the predominantly Muslim country. “We respect them and we want them to be there. We will do everything possible to protect them and we are.”
Christians in Pakistan only comprise 2.5% of the country’s 220 million population. In recent news, rights activists criticized the Pakistan army for running a controversial advertisement looking for Christians in its job vacancies in the sanitation department. The June 23 ad specifically wanted Christians for the post of sanitation workers, reports Uganda Christian News.
“Why should Christians in Pakistan be janitors only? Why does a janitor have to be a Christian? How would we react if U.K. or U.S. armed forces advertised janitor jobs only for Muslims? Please end this behavior with minorities in Pakistan,” demanded rights activist, Shama Junejo.
The Pakistan army since has withdrawn the Christian-only sanitation job advertisement.