17-January-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pakistani Christians Call on Interior Minister to Apologize For Inflammatory Remarks

Director of National Commission for Justice and Peace Calls Statements 'Useless and Wrong'

ISLAMABAD, January 17, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Pakistani Christians have called for Rehman Malik, Interior Minister, to apologize for words that have offended the Pope.

Political tensions have arisen due to an anti-corruption movement in Pakistan led by Islamic leader Tahirul Qadri. Qadri has led a protest with thousands of people swarming the streets of Islamabad against the government.

Interior Minister Malik compared the Islamic cleric saying that Qadri was acting "like a semi-Pope."

In an interview with Fides News Agency, Fr. Emmanuel Yousaf, Director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace denounced the remarks made by Malik. "The link is useless and wrong: the Pope has no political ambitions," he said.

"These statements defame the [office of the Papacy]. We demand an official apology from Rehman Malik, who has a task of great institutional responsibility."

Fr. Yousaf also pointed out that "Christians in Pakistan have always been known for the support of democracy and human rights."

In a note sent to Fides, Senator Kamran Michael, who is also a Christian, condemned the words of the Minister who "hurt the feelings of the Christian community" and asked for an immediate clarification. According to the senator, such words "are disrespectful and can undermine efforts for religious harmony and brotherhood in the country."

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