Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Archbishop Joseph Arshad met with Pope Francis in the papal library as part of the periodic ad limina visits made by Pakistani bishops to Vatican City in order to reaffirm religious and social bonds with the pope.
He was also accompanied by other bishops from Pakistan, including Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore, and Bishop Benny Mario Travas of Multan.
Speaking to Vatican News after the meeting, Archbishop Arshad said that the problems being faced by the Catholic Christian community in Pakistan were serious in nature. Nevertheless, problems like discrimination and becoming victims of Pakistan’s blasphemy law was harming other groups as well, including adherents of the Muslim faith, he added.
Arshad further said, “The government is taking all necessary steps to curtail the abuse of this particular law.” He also said that Catholic leaders in Pakistan continued holding dialogues with their Muslim counterparts, terming the practice as “very important”.
He also invited Pope Francis to visit Pakistan at his own discretion.