Letter to President Bush on Violence in Bahawalpur, November 2, 2001
November 2, 2001
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
On Sunday, October 28th, as a group of worshipers of the Church of Pakistan were finishing morning services at the Catholic church in Bahawalpur in South Punjab, armed men stormed the building and mercilessly killed the guard and some fifteen helpless men, women and children.
Threats against Pakistani Christians had been widely publicized in the days preceding the first air strikes against the Taliban forces in Afghanistan. The Catholic Bishops of Pakistan, writing to President Musharraf, both expressed their support for his "courageous decision in cooperating with the American Government and the United Nations Charter," and warned that extremist elements "are bound to indulge in acts of terrorism within Pakistan," singling out as the most likely targets the Christian communities.
In your forthcoming meeting with President Musharraf, may I ask that you stress with him the absolute necessity for his government's security forces to ensure complete and effective protection for the vulnerable Christian minorities of his country.
With thanks and assurances of my prayers for you, I am
Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston