Church leader urges Pakistan to protect people from terrorism

(AP)Pakistani Christians chant slogans during a protest to condemn a suicide bombing on a church, in Peshawar, Pakistan, the deadliest attack ever in the country against members of the Christian faith.

The head of the World Council of Churches has written to the prime minister of Pakistan urging him to take steps to prevent further terrorist attacks.

In his letter to Nawaz Sharif, WCC general secretary Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed his "profound distress" over several bomb attacks that have occurred in Pakistan in the last week.

They include a devastating twin suicide bomb attack on All Saints church in Peshawar, in which at least 42 people were killed.

Dr Tveit wrote: "By expressing our strong condemnation of these acts of terrorism, we express our sincere condolences and sympathy, especially to the families of those who were killed and injured.

"We hold all people of Pakistan in our thoughts and prayers."

Dr Tveit visited Pakistan in 2011 and heard firsthand accounts from members of the minority Christian community there about the difficulty of life in the midst of "insecurity and the lack of adequate protection".

He reiterated serious concern about the safety and security of the religious minorities in Pakistan in the facing of the growing threat of religious extremism.

He concluded in his letter: "We urge your Excellency that all necessary measures be undertaken to provide safety and security of the vulnerable communities, especially the religious communities who are facing constant threat to their lives."