World View: Christians Celebrate Christmas in Pakistan Under Tight Security

Pakistani policemen stand guard outside a church during a Christmas mass in Quetta on December 25, 2014. Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas Day, a holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. AFP PHOTO/ BANARAS KHAN (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

This morning’s key headlines from

  • India kills 3 Pakistani soldiers in Kashmir in revenge attack
  • Christians celebrate Christmas in Pakistan under tight security

India kills 3 Pakistani soldiers in Kashmir in revenge attack

Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, after a double suicide bombing on Dec 17 (Las Tampas)
Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, after a double suicide bombing on Dec 17 (La Stampas)

Indian officials are bragging about a “tit-for-tat” revenge attack on Monday evening, when Indian army troops crossed the Kashmir Line of Control (LoC) and crossed from the Indian-governed side to the Pakistani-governed side. There they conducted a “localized tactical operation,” first creating an explosion 100-300 meters across the LoC, and then ambushed a unit of Pakistani army troops, killing three and wounding one.

Indian officials call it a “tit-for-tat” response to an almost identical raid carried out by Pakistani troops on Saturday on Indian troops, killing one Major and three soldiers.

India adopted a policy of retaliatory revenge attacks after 19 Indian soldiers were killed when terrorists attacked an army camp in Uri on September 19, after which India’s army conducted “surgical strikes” into Pakistani territory in Kashmir.

However, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) is denying that Indian troops ever crossed the LoC into Pakistani soil. Instead, the FO said that the Pakistani soldiers were killed by the explosion. According to Pakistan, firing by Indian forces had “provided a cover for the planting of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] by non-state actors”, which resulted in the martyrdom of three soldiers. Daily Pioneer (India) and Dawn (Pakistan) and The Quint (India)

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Christians celebrate Christmas in Pakistan under tight security

After a brutal terror attack on a Methodist Church in Quetta, Afghanistan, on December 17, Christians in Pakistan celebrated Christmas under tight security, provided by Pakistan’s government in the form of commandos, snipers and plain-clothes policemen deployed across the country to protect Christians and Christian churches on Christmas.

On December 17, two suicide bombers attack a Methodist Church in the city of Quetta, the provincial capital of the restive province of Balochistan. Hundreds of worshippers were attending services when the attack occurred. Nine people were killed, and dozens wounded.

On March 26 of last year, at least 69 people, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 300 injured in a suicide bombing attack in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, crowded with Christians celebrating Easter Sunday. The suicide bomber was apparently targeting children, as the explosion took place in a children’s playground, near swings and other rides.

Christians and other religious minorities have regularly faced atrocities across Pakistan. Shia Muslims are targeted most often, along with Hindus, Ahmadis and Christians.

Christians have been systematically targeted by Pakistan’s perverse blasphemy laws, which prescribe a mandatory death sentence for any act purportedly bringing Islam and its Prophet to disrepute. Most recently, a Christian man, Nadeem James Masih, was sentenced to death on September 15, 2017, for blasphemy. Nadeem was arrested in July 2016, after his friend Yasir Bashir told the Police that he sent him a poem on WhatsApp that was insulting to Islam. Straits Times and AP and South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP – India) and La Stampa (Italy)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Line of Control, LoC, Uri, Quetta, Balochistan, Lahore, Nadeem James Masih, Yasir Bashir
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