ASIA/PAKISTAN - Churches in Pakistan tighten security measures as Christmas approaches

Thursday, 21 December 2017


Karachi (Agenzia Fides) – Following the suicide bombing at Quetta Methodist church, all Christian churches in Pakistan are tightening security measures in view of Christmas, enlisting on local young volunteers to cooperate with the police force. In the meantime the number of dead after the mentioned attack has risen to 14 dead and 56 injured. According to the police, the two suicide bombers were aged between16 and 20
Fr. Saleh Diego, Vicar general of the Catholic archdiocese of Karachi, told Fides: “the safety of our churches during the imminent Christmas festivities is our main priority. We are doing our best to help the security forces to protect our churches and our assemblies during the Christmas services and gatherings and also new year celebrations”.
After his meeting with representatives of the security forces, Saleem Michael, legal adviser to the Catholic archdiocese of Karachi told Fides: “We hope to convince more volunteers to take part, but we are careful to choose young people who identify themselves with the faithful, and are regular church goers; they will be given instructions take care to check any strangers”. Pervaiz Gill, in charge of security for the Catholic archdiocese of Karachi told Fides: “We already have a trained diocesan security group of young citizens, men and women. Our next step will be to form more groups and give them the necessary and training”
Bishop Khadim Bhutto, president of the Pakistan Bishops' Council – comprising 40 bishops of various denominations Pentecostal, Evangelical, Adventists, Methodists and others, has addressed a message to all Christians in the country asking them to form groups of young community members to guarantee safety, and advising them to install short circuit TV for major security. Talking to Fides, Bishop Khadim Bhutto explained that the young people are selected in cooperation with the police. Our Christian communities, the Bishop said, welcome the initiative to cooperate with the Pakistan Rangers (paramilitary law enforcement in Pakistan internal security operations), and assisting the police. The country’s Christians look forward to a Christmas of peace; in spite of tension and fear they will not be deterred from taking part in Christmas services in church. (AG) (Agenzia Fides 21/12/2017)