Authorities say six Christians, including four women and a child, have
been killed in clashes with Muslims in Pakistan's eastern province of
The provincial minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti,
said a group of radical Muslims burned the homes of Christians in the
city of Gojra Saturday, after accusing them of desecrating Islam's holy
book, the Koran.
Bhatti said there was no truth to the allegations.
footage from the scene showed houses burning and streets strewn with
blackened debris. There were also reports of gunfights.
Provincial officials urged both the Muslim and Christian communities to show restraint.
police said Saturday they had arrested a member of an al-Qaida linked
group, suspected of involvement in several attacks including last
year's suicide bombing of Islamabad's Marriott Hotel.
Authorities detained Rao Shakir, a suspected member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, on the outskirts of Islamabad this week.
In other news, schools in Pakistan's northwest re-opened Saturday, for the first time in three months.
were closed during intense fighting between Taliban militants and the
Pakistan military that erupted after the collapse of a peace deal.
students said Saturday they were happy to be back in class, although
many were still absent. Most of the nearly two million people who fled
the fighting have yet to return to the area, which includes Swat
Valley, Lower and Upper Dir and other areas of Malakand district.
militants, who fought to impose strict Islamic law (Sharia) in parts of
northwest Pakistan, targeted schools, especially those that taught
girls. More than 350 schools were damaged or destroyed.
Students from the damaged schools learned lessons in tents Saturday.
government began allowing the displaced to return, after saying it had
cleared parts of the northwest of Taliban militants.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.