Christians close schools across Pakistan in protest

LAHORE: Christians closed missionary schools on Monday in protest after a mob torched more than 100 Christian homes in Lahore’s Joseph Colony following allegations of blasphemy.

More than 3,000 protesters rampaged through the colony on March 9 after allegations that a Christian had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) three days earlier.

The incident triggered protests around the country from Christians demanding better protection.

“Missionary schools of Lahore will remain closed on Monday on account of massacre in Joseph colony,” Bishop Sebastian Shaw, chairman of the Catholic board, told reporters.

Sadiq Daniel, bishop of the church of Pakistan in Sindh said all missionary schools in the province, including those in Karachi, would be closed on Monday.

In Punjab, where many Christians live in Multan and many others are settled in villages to work in agriculture, the local bishop also announced the closure of missionary schools.

“All educational institutions of Christian community will remain closed on Monday to express solidarity with the affectees of Joseph Colony,” Bishop Leo Rodrick Paul said.

Police in Multan said they have deployed officers to protect sensitive Christian places including churches and schools.

Authorities in Lahore arrested 150 people on charges of riot and arson over the rampage.