London march protests murder of Pakistani Christians

Pakistani Christians living in the UK will today hold a peaceful rally to protest the murder of two Christian brothers outside a courthouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, last week.

The rally, organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association and supported by the South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance, will condemn the recent killings and demand the repeal of blasphemy laws that have led to violence against minorities in the Muslim-majority country.

Christian leaders, rights activists and representatives of other religion will join the rally led by the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir Ali.

"We want to raise voice for those that have no voice. We are joining with people of all faiths to bring pressure for cultural and social change in Pakistan," said Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

"We hope for greater western government intervention towards peace in Pakistan, where the volatile political and cultural climate is making life so much worse for minority groups," he added.

Ram Gidoomal CBE, Chairman of the South Asian Forum, said: "Continuing incidents like these threaten the stability and well being of Pakistan. We urge the Government of Pakistan to act for justice. And we call on the churches in the UK to join us in praying for the peace of Pakistan."

Brothers Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel, both pastors, were assassinated by a group of unknown gunman outside a Pakistani court where they were being tried after being falsely accused of committing blasphemy against Islam – a crime punishable by death in Pakistan.

Christians, including the World Council of Churches, have repeatedly called upon the Pakistani government to repeal the controversial blasphemy laws, which they say are being used to attack and intimidate Christian minorities.

That call will be repeated on Saturday by marchers.

“We seek reform and repeal of the blasphemy law; we urge the Pakistan government to uphold the rule of law; and we pray for our country at this time of instability," said Chowdhry.

Petitions supporting the repeal of the blasphemy law will be handed over to the High Commission and at Downing Street.

Saturday's rally coincides with the first anniversary of a deadly attack on the Christian town of Gojra in which seven Christians were burnt to death by a Muslim mob. Nearly 70 Christian houses and two Protestant churches were damaged on August 1 last year.

An online petition to 10 Downing Street can be accessed at

And a petition to the Pakistan Government at