Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - During the days immediately preceding Christmas, Pakistani Christians across the country gather for prayer vigils and peace demonstrations in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack that struck the Quetta Methodist Church on December 17. In the Masses and liturgies of Christmas, the Christian communities of all confessions will pray for the victims and will have special prayer intentions for peace. Contacted by Fides, Msgr. Sadiq Daniel, Anglican Bishop of Sindh-Beluchistan urged the faithful to celebrate Christmas with simplicity and to continue to pray for the victims of the Quetta Church attack. Bishop Daniel continues to visit the families of the victims and the wounded, to bring comfort in this moment of pain. "We can not feel the same pain - he observes to Fides - but at least I can stay here to share suffering, to listen to them, bring spiritual comfort".
In Hyderabad, members of the "Christian Peace Alliance Pakistan" (CPAP), a forum of faithful committed to promoting peace and harmony in society, organized last days a peaceful march that has crossed the city. Naveed Bhatti, CPAP Secretary, asked the government to guarantee greater security during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The Dominican Fr. Nadeem Joseph OP led a prayer vigil in which the faithful brought burning candles into the Catholic church of San Dominic in Bahawalpur, and some of them posted signs demanding justice for the victims and peace in the country.
In Karachi, the Council of Bishops of Pakistan (representative body of over 40 Protestant Christian communities of various confessions) led a group of people, including Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, in a peaceful demonstration in memory of the victims of Quetta's attack. Bishop Khadim Bhutto, president of the Council of Bishops, told Fides: "Minorities in Pakistan have always contributed to the development of the country and have worked to promote peace and harmony in the country. It is time for the government to recognize it , guarantee its rights and full protection ".
The provincial governments issued some special ordinances: as learned by Fides, in Karachi, the government of the province of Sindh arranged the allocation of police agents and special forces near the churches on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year liturgies. In Karachi there are 62 Christian neighborhoods and over one thousand churches. (AG) (Agenzia Fides 23/12/2017)