Islamabad, Mar 11: Pakistan's minority community, which has been pushed into a corner after repeated attacks, is now fighting back, said a daily Monday.
"It is with deep sadness that one contemplates how 2013 is turning out to be one of the worst years for minorities in Pakistan's sordid history of sectarian violence," said an editorial in the Daily Times.
Militant ire has been directed at the Shias throughout the first three months of this year and now mob frenzy has bared its teeth at a Christian colony in Lahore.
On Friday, a rowdy and angry crowd spread terror at Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore. "This violent and obviously militant crowd made its way back to the colony the very next day, Saturday, with a mission even more sinister. They reached the Christian residential area and burned to the ground 150 homes, destroying in moments of irrational aggression the lives and assets of many Christian families."
"Just how these vigilantes were able to return to the scene of the crime the next day without any obstacle in their path is mindboggling. There was not a single law enforcement officer present in Joseph Colony - an area under obvious threat after Friday's events - which is why this mob found it easy to ransack the place and set ablaze the homes of so many Christians," said the daily.
The Christian minority has reacted.
"On Saturday, hundreds of protesters stormed Ferozepur Road in Lahore and different areas in Karachi, demanding that something be done about this unforgivable act. In Lahore, they attacked an office of the Metro Bus System and in Karachi, Rangers had to resort to aerial firing."
"...this was the first time one has really seen a minority in Pakistan fighting back. Pushed into a corner after repeated attacks ... the Christians turned to violent protests themselves, burning tyres, smashing bus windows, etc, to show that they had had enough," the editorial added.
The daily went on to seek adequate safeguards for the rights of minorities.
"The fact that any Tom, Dick or Harry can accuse anyone of blasphemy without any sort of evidence to back up the claim is what is leading to this insanity in the name of religion. It is so simple and the results are so murderous that the very suspicion of blasphemy is enough to make one cower in their boots," it said.
"Usually, this country's minorities are targeted and most of the time the accusations are bogus - revenge, hidden agendas and provocation are the only reasons blasphemy accusations are so common, and nothing is done to stop them," the daily added.