From the Revd David Haslam
Sir, — The report from Pat Ashworth about the work of the Church in Pakistan (Features, 31 July) was very informative. It did, however, miss out one vital element: the caste system is alive and well in Pakistan, and many Christians are from the former “untouchables”, or Dalits. This adds to the difficulties they face.
The Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network (PDSN) has just sent details of clashes badly affecting Dalit Christians in the Punjab. It has urged the government there to take immediate action against the people involved in acts of violence, and requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to initiate a judicial inquiry, and to ensure the safety of minorities and low-caste poor communities.
Pressure should be brought on the Pakistani authorities to act much more vigorously against violence. Recent experience suggests that Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, despite their many shortcomings, were more sympathetic to minorities than the present regime. That needs to change.
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