A Catholic and a Protestant church in Youhanabad were attacked on Sunday, 15th March. The two blasts occurred minutes and metres apart from each other.

It is believed a police guard spotted one of the suicide bombers trying to enter the Catholic church and stepped in to stop him. This forced the terrorist to detonate the bomb where he stood and prevented him from entering the church.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistan Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

According to some media reports, the church bombings sparked mob violence as 4,000 people, armed with clubs, took to the streets in anger. The enraged crowd lynched two people suspected of being accomplices in the bombings.

The attack was the worst display of violence against Christians in Pakistan for more than a year.

Hours after the attacks, the Pope, speaking to an audience in St Peter’s Square, said: ‘Our brothers’ and sisters’ blood is shed only because they are Christians. I implore God that this persecution against Christians – that the world seeks to hide – comes to an end, and that there is peace.’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke via mobile phone to mourners at the funeral of two of the Christians who were killed.

Archbishop Welby later held a private meeting with Tony Blair at Lambeth Palace. It is reported the two leaders discussed the plight of Anglican communities around the world, including in Pakistan.

The South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance has joined with the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) to demand swift action from the Pakistani government, following the most recent attacks.

They are calling for the Pakistani government to provide protection for Christians against these attacks, and for the UK government to use its influence to bring an end to the violence.

Manoj Raithatha, national coordinator for the Evangelical Alliance’s South Asian Forum, said: ‘These attacks are becoming more and more frequent and the Pakistani government must protect Christians. The UK and the international community need to wake up to the violence that is being perpetrated and take decisive steps immediately to put pressure on Pakistan to stop these attacks.’