Thursday, September 9, 2010
ASIA: PAKISTAN: SHOOTING OF CATHOLIC IN FRONT OF CHURCH
UCAN report Church workers have condemned an armed attack on a lay Catholic in Karachi, saying that militants have now broadened their targets to include ordinary citizens.Asghar Bhatti, 61, was shot on Sept. 6 evening in front of St. Paul’s Church where he serves as president of the church committee. “We were waiting in the car for our daughter-in-law who was practicing for a performance for the feast of the Blessed Mother’s birth when a taxi stopped behind our car and three bearded men emerged,” Surraiya Asghar, Bhatti’s wife, told ucanews.com.
“They knocked at our window and failing to open the door, they shot him. We are still confused as to whether they wanted to take the vehicle or kill him.”
Bhatti underwent a two-hour operation on his left shoulder and is presently in hospital.
A dead body was found that same night in a street a few kilometers from the church building, opposite the excise and taxation office. Father Saleh Diego, pastor of St. Paul’s Church, has condemned the violence.
“Militants want to spread fear and disrupt law and order in a city where targeted killings have become an almost daily routine,” said the priest, who is director of the Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace.
“Until recently, victims were political party workers but now ordinary citizens are no longer safe.”
The violence shows the corruption within the political system, says Riaz Nawab, a Caritas worker.
“Opposing political parties have become blind in their pursuit of power and control,” he said. “All of them have their own strongholds in the metropolitan area and are engaged in settling scores. The Church urges peace but is helpless amid the failed security situation.”