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Pak Christian blast victims push for justice

Islamabad, Jan. 20 (Reuters): Victims of a Christmas Day grenade attack on a church in Pakistan that killed three girls demanded justice and protection today from Islamic militants they said were trying to intimidate people not to press the case.

Christian leaders and activists said that Pakistan had failed to act against the culprits in the attack in a village situated 20 km from the industrial town of Daska.

“We have been receiving calls from people harassing us with a message... shut your mouth or we will shut your mouth,” said Bishop Jonathan Rehmat Gill, a rights activist from the area.

The children killed in the attack were aged 12, 10 and eight. Thirteen people were wounded. Pakistani police say they have detained a local Muslim cleric and a few associates for questioning following complaints from the Christians. They are still investigating, they say.

The government promised to take quick and stern action against the perpetrators, but no charges have yet been brought.

Christians have identified a few suspects and blamed the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (Army of Mohammad) Islamic militant group for the attack. The group was outlawed by Pakistan after Washington included it in a list of terrorist groups last year.

Gill said that cars usually followed him when he travelled in the Daska area and that he had been warned that Christians should not press the police to carry on with the investigation.

Shahbaz Bhatti, leader of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, told the news conference that 40 Christians had been killed and more than 100 injured in attacks in Pakistan last year and that the government had done nothing to protect them.

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