Source: MSN and Associated Press
BY KATHY GANNON
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — It’s been a tough month for religious minorities in Pakistan, and observers warn of even tougher times ahead as Prime Minister Imran Khan vacillates between trying to forge a pluralistic nation and his conservative Islamic beliefs.
A Christian was gunned down because he rented in a Muslim neighborhood in northwest Peshawar, not far from the border with Afghanistan.
Another Christian, pastor Haroon Sadiq Cheeda, his wife and 12-year-old son were beaten by their Muslim neighbors in eastern Punjab and told to leave their village. The attackers screamed “you are infidels.”
An opposition politician was charged this week with blasphemy after declaring all religions were equal. A senior political figure, allied with the government and backed by Islamic extremists, stopped construction of a Hindu temple in the capital Islamabad.
Analysts and activists blame an increase in attacks on an indecisive Khan. They say he preaches a vision of a tolerant Pakistan where its religious minorities thrive as equals among an overwhelming Muslim majority. They say that at the same time he cedes power to extreme Islamic clerics, bowing to their demands and turning to them for the final say, even on matters of state.