ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Christians here are demanding better government protection for Christians in response to Sunday’s suicide bomb attack on a church that killed 81 people in what is thought to be Pakistan's deadliest attack on members of the faith. Christians make up about four percent of Pakistan's population of 180 million.
The attack took place outside All Saints Church in the north western city of Peshawar. Thirty-four women and seven children were among the dead.
The explosion occurred as worshippers were leaving after services to get a free meal of rice offered on the front lawn also wounded 140.
A wing of the Pakistani Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the bombing at the 130-year-old church, saying they would continue to target non-Muslims until the U.S. stops drone attacks in the remote tribal region of Pakistan.
But on Monday the Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar said the group which has claimed the responsibility is not based in his country.
As the country’s government announced a three-day period of national mourning for the church attack, another bomb exploded near a police patrol in southwestern Baluchistan on Monday, the Associated Press reported.
Four people, including three policemen were killed in the Pashin district around 45 miles north of the provincial capital, Quetta, police officer Abdullah Khan told the agency.
Christians tend to keep a low profile in a country where Islamist militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical, including Christians and Shi'ites, Reuters reported.
In 2009, 40 houses and a church were set ablaze by a mob of 1,000 Muslims in the town of Gojra in Punjab province. At least seven Christians were burnt to death. The attacks were triggered by reports of the desecration of the Koran.