The fire that erupted in Gawahi TV office burned 15,000 newly published booklets. (Credit: Gawahi TV via The Express Tribune)

The fire that erupted in Gawahi TV office burned 15,000 newly published booklets. (Credit: Gawahi TV via The Express Tribune)

A television station in Pakistan with a mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ was burned to the ground by a group of masked men believed to be radical Muslims.

The Gawahi TV building was completely destroyed in the arson attack by several masked men, who then fled the scene, Breitbart reported.

The station, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, was founded in 2013 in a Catholic-Protestant collaborative effort to “spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to people of all religions living in Pakistan,” Breitbart reported.

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Among its programming including religious hymns, sermons and various evangelistic efforts of Christian youth. Staffers say they’ve been hounded and threatened by Muslim radicals for years, and have even asked for special security protections from local forces.

“We have halted our mission for the time being but we will not let our hopes die down,” said Javed Williams, who heads up the Gawahi Mission Trust, the entity that operates the station, Breitbart reported.

Roughly 12 million watched the station’s broadcast on a regular basis.

Catholics visiting the scene of the destruction expressed dismay.

Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea have collaborated to create “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians,” which confirms that groups like Pew Research, Newsweek and The Economist also identify Christians as “the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.”

“It was disheartening to see the entire building and all the equipment burned,” said John Arif, with the diocese of Karachi, Breitbart reported. “The channel was activated to communicate the word of God. There have been threats and now the matter is under investigation. We hope to see the channel again. We pray for peace and tolerance.”

The president of the Pakistan Christian Congress, Nazir Bhatti, denounced the attack and expressed outrage that government-run media failed to cover the attack.

“It is surprising that Pakistani Electronic media owned by Muslims have again not bothered to cover [the] … fire incident of Gawahi TV when minor issues are taken as breaking news by it,” Bhatti said, Breitbart reported.

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