Newly appointed Pakistani Cardinal Joseph Coutts (centre) cuts a cake during a welcoming ceremony at Saint Patrick Church in Karachi. Image Credit: AFP

KARACHI: Christians, a tiny minority in Islamic Pakistan, have given a warm welcome to newly appointed Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Coutts in the southern port city of Karachi.

Coutts was heralded Tuesday at the Karachi airport. The 73-year-old former archbishop was among 14 new cardinals appointed by Pope Francis at a ceremony in Vatican City this month.

Coutts, born in India, is only the second cardinal from Pakistan after Cardinal Joseph Cordero who died in 1994.

Coutts attended a ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi, where he prayed for interfaith harmony, prosperity and peace in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government welcomed Coutts’ promotion, saying it was an honour for Pakistan, where Christians face discrimination and have been targeted by Islamist militants.

Christians make up about 2 per cent of Pakistan’s population.