Christians in Pakistan are seeking government protection after pro-Taliban militants sent letters to Christians, telling them convert to Islam or face violence, reported The Associated Press.
The letters were sent to about 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan. The letters told them to close their churches and convert by May 17 or be the target of "bomb explosions."
Some Christians have responded by fleeing. Others continue to live in fear, saying police are not taking the threat seriously.
Chaudhry Salim, a Charsadda Christian leader, said during a news conference in Islamabad that police have deployed only two officers at local churches. “This is the kind of security we are getting now," he said.
Shahbaz Bhatti, a prominent Christian leader and head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, urged Muslim religious scholars to condemn the threats and said the federal government should take "concrete steps to provide protection," reported the AP.
Asif Daudzai, a spokesman for the provincial government, asked Christians not to panic, saying authorities were doing all they could to ensure their protection. “Christians are our brothers and sisters, and we will not allow any one to harm them," he told The Associated Press.
Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other religious minorities make up about 3 percent of Pakistan's 160 million residents.