Pakistan bishop concerned over alleged poisoning of Christians

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Archishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi. Credit: ACN.

The possible poisoning of nine Christian trainee nurses in Karachi has caused concern that they were targeted because of their faith, the local archbishop says.

Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi said it was unclear whether the poisoning was accidental or had a religious or criminal motive.

“Whatever the truth, it is definitely a cause for concern and we are hoping to get a clearer picture of what really did happen as soon as possible,” he told Aid to the Church in Need Aug. 1.

Nine nurses who work at a Karachi hospital became sick on Sunday night at their hostel after drinking tea that might have been poisoned. Some rumors claimed that the poisoning took place during Ramadan’s daytime fast, but the incident took place at night, the Pakistan Express Tribune reports.

Most of the women were released from the hospital, though some developed complications.

Christian leaders condemned the alleged poisoning while parliamentarians called for a government attention to the issue.

Police are currently investigating the incident.

Archbishop Coutts said many extremists have threatened Karachi residents for allegedly “un-Islamic” activity like breaking the Ramadan fast during which daytime eating and drinking are banned.

However, he added that although there are “some extremist elements” there is “a very diverse community including a large number of Hindus but also many others of different faiths.”

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