Lahore (Fides Service) – “I condemn all forms of terrorism in Pakistan and in the rest of the world”. This statement was made by Archbishop Lawrence Saldhana when he addressed Muslims and Christians at recent meeting in Kasur, south of Islamabad. The Archbishop was speaking a few days after the second anniversary of his ordination as Bishop on 11 September 2001. “My consecration will be linked forever with the memory of the episode of the Twin Towers. I remember that we heard the news of the attack in New York just after the Mass was over. It was a moment of shock and intense prayer.”
The Archbishop said emphatically “Terrorism is foreign to every form of religion: we firmly condemn it as the enemy of humanity”. Mgr Saldhana thanked the present government, led by President Pervez Musharraf for de-nationalising the school and abolishing voting system based on the voter’s religion and he added: “This means that members of ethnic or religious minority groups no longer feel they are second class citizens”. Recalling the Interreligious Days of Prayer in Assisi convoked by Pope John Paul II, the Archbishop of Lahore said that today dialogue and common prayer among all believers, Muslims, Christian, Hindus Sikhs and Bahai is of the utmost importance.
Thanking the Archbishop for what he said, the Mayor of Kasur Mr Malik Rashid stated “in Pakistan Christians play an important role in promoting the country’s development and prosperity, working in education and health care” describing Pakistan’s Christians as “exemplary citizens”.
Father Inayat Bernard, organiser of the meeting, recalled that situations of discrimination against minorities including Christian communities still exist in various parts of Pakistan. Many Muslims present affirmed that “social harmony is a priority necessity for Pakistan”. PA (Fides Service 19/9/2003 EM lines 29 Words: 293)