Pastor Nathaniel Barkat seeks protection after church attack in Mian Channu


MULTAN - A local priest on Saturday appealed to police for protection for minority Christians after intruders broke into his small church in a remote area of eastern Pakistan and set fire to the furniture.

Police have been searching for the intruders since Thursday night, when they torched furniture inside the church in Mian Channu, a town about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Multan, said Sajjad Khan, a local police chief. Nathaniel Barkat, a priest at the church, said they had asked for police protection because they were still shaken by the attack. "We were sleeping in our room near the church at the time. We don't know who did it," he told The Associated Press by phone. Khan confirmed the incident, and said police are still investigating. "So far, we have made no arrests, but officers are seriously investigating this incident, and we will soon find those who did this shameful act," he said. Although minorities in the predominantly Muslim nation mostly live together peacefully, there have been several attacks on churches since President Gen. Pervez Musharraf made Pakistan a key ally of the United States in its war on terror. Authorities have blamed small Islamic militant groups for the attacks.

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