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Pakistan bans Christian TV stations

Friday 14 October 2016, by SIGNIS

Lahore, October 13th, 2016 (MattersIndia). Pakistani officials have banned 11 Christian television channels, leaving the country’s 2.8 million Christians with no public media presence for the first time in nearly two decades.

According to India Today, the Pakistani Media Regulatory Authority banned the religious stations after accusing them of being “illegal” and “not having permission” to broadcast.

Father Morris Jalal, the founder of Catholic TV, one of the banned channel, said: “As citizens, Christians have the right to practice their religion, but if they block you, it means not all citizens are equal.” He condemned the ban and urged the international community to speak out against what he referred to as a “sweeping attack on religious freedom”.

In addition to implementing laws intended to restrict the freedom of believers, Pakistan enforces severe blasphemy laws, which have led to the lynching and jailing of increasing numbers of falsely accused Christians. Recently, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore said that Christians were being wrongly accused of blasphemy at a rate of about one every two weeks.

“The blasphemy law is being misused against Christians and that must stop,” he said, and emphasized that Christians should not repay “evil with evil,” and that the solution to the ongoing persecution against believers was dialogue with the Muslim majority.

Speaking at an Oct. 11 meeting, hosted by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the Archbishop revealed that he and other Christians recently met with senior Muslim scholars and imams in the hope of achieving change. “We explained that they were not to convert anybody and it was not about a Western agenda, but to learn from one another – what you believe and what we believe,” Archbishop Shaw said, according to The Catholic Register.

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