Pakistan: 'The anger of extremists is boiling over', church leader warns, as Christians on 'high alert' for Easter attacks

Supporters of a religious political party shout slogans to protest against Qadri's execution.Reuters

Christians in Pakistan are on high alert in the run-up to Easter following the execution of the man who murdered the reforming Punjab governor Salman Taseer, according to Release International.

Mumtaz Qadri shot Taseer 28 times near his home in Islamabad in 2011 because the governor had spoken out against Pakistan's blasphemy law, saying it was being misused and should be reformed.

After his arrest, Qadri told police he killed Taseer for championing the cause of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in a blasphemy case that arose out of a personal dispute.

He told his lawyer he had no regrets about what he had done.

Street protests broke out hours after he was hanged and tens of thousands of supporters then gave him a martyr's funeral. He is considered a hero for defending the faith by Muslim hardliners.

A church leader in Pakistan told Release International: "The situation is still tense and we are concerned for our Easter services. Once again the situation is very alarming for all the Christian leadership in Pakistan and for the Muslim leaders who speak up for Christians. They are on high alert."

He added: "The anger of extremists is boiling over towards Christian communities across the country. Please pray for this very serious issue."

Release urged prayer for Christian communities and churches especially around Easter and for Muslim leaders who are speaking up for justice and for changes to the blasphemy laws.