Pakistan Bishops' head calls bombing 'shameful act of cowardice'

Pakistani Christians protest

The president of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference called Sunday's suicide bomb attack in Peshawar a "shameful act of cowardice," reports CNS.

He added that all Christian educational institutions in the country would be closed until today in mourning and protest.

Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi also demanded that the Pakistani government take immediate steps to apprehend those responsible for the attack and to take measures to protect the worship sites of all religious minorities in Pakistan.


"We condemn this act in strongest terms," Archbishop Coutts said in a statement. The death toll in the bombing had reached 85 by Monday. Authorities expected it to increase because many of the 150 who were injured were in critical condition.

Police said two suicide bombers, each wearing more than 13 pounds of explosives, detonated themselves following a Sunday service as 600 members of the Protestant church gathered on the church lawn for food distribution.

Jundallah, a group linked to the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to US drone strikes, the latest of which Sept. 22 reportedly killed seven people in the tribal area of North Waziristan.

"Until and unless the drone strikes are stopped, we will continue to strike wherever we find an opportunity against non-Muslims," said a Jundallah spokesman.

"This tragedy of unprecedented scale saddens us all," said a Sept. 23 statement from Peter Jacob, head of the Catholic bishops' National Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan.

FULL COVERAGE

Pakistani bishops' head calls attack 'shameful act of cowardice' (CNS)

Christian reaction to Peshawar bloodbath (Vatican Insider)

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