From Fides Service
Christian churches and schools in Pakistan are closed and tightly guarded after the killing of Osama Bin Laden by American special forces at Abbottabad, 60km from Islamabad.
Local Fides sources report that even civil authorities have provided security measures at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Multan and other cities, because they fear violent attacks against Christian targets and reactions by Taliban groups.
Christians are seen in Taliban propaganda as being responsible complicit in the death of their leader.
Paul Bhatti, special adviser to the Government for religious minorities, confirms to Fides: "The situation is tense. There are, in fact, strong reactions of fear among Christian minorities. The government is paying close attention to preventive measures ".
Fr. Mario Rodrigues, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Pakistan who lives in Karachi, told Fides after a meeting with the civil authorities: "They have put us on alert, calling for the closure of our institutions and placing more police personnel in front of churches.
"Christians in Pakistan are innocent victims, even in this situation: any excuse is good to threaten or to attack".
Fr. Rodrigues was more optimistic, however, about the long-term consequences of Osama bin Laden's death. "In coming months the persecution against Christians could decrease and the Taliban ideological struggle might weaken. But radical Islamic groups are flourishing in the country, and other extremist leaders could establish themselves and continue terrorist actions.
"Unfortunately, in recent days there have been massive attacks in Christian neighborhoods of Gujranwala. We urgently need a serious policy to combat Islamic extremism by the state at all levels: in culture and education, but also on a political and legislative level".