Page 7 - Pakistan Link - December 22, 2017
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OPINION                                                                                                        DECEMBER 22, 2017 –  PAKISTAN LINK  –  P7

                 n By Dr Akbar Ahmed             Stop Killing the Christians of Pakistan                                 demned the attacks: “Th  is mean act of kill-
                  American University                                                                                    ing people intentionally during Christmas
                    Washington, DC                                                                                       is a heinous act against humanity, against
           t is perhaps one of the great ironies of   keep being brutally attacked. In March 2015,                       the Abrahamic faiths, and against what the
           Pakistan that the founder of the nation   twin bombings at two churches in Lahore                             fl ag of Pakistan stands for. During these cold
        Ispent his fi rst and fi nal Christmas in a   killed at least fi ft een. Last year, a bombing                    winter nights when the poor and wounded
        church with the Christian community to   in a crowded Lahore park on Easter Sun-                                 do not have enough, we need to reach out,
                    express his support for the   day killed 75. Th  e Quetta attack is a new low                        heal and pray. May God give human beings
                    minorities.               though for Pakistan. Could there be a worse                                the sense and wisdom to love, empathize and
                        Muhammad Ali Jinnah,   insult to the legacy of the Quaid than that of                            reach out to all human beings regardless of
                    the Quaid-i-Azam, was com-  a church bombing in the heart of Advent, one                             their religious and ethnic diff erences. Amin.”
                    mitted to ensuring that the   week before the treasured Christmas holiday                                International voices committed to pro-
                    minorities of Pakistan were   and his very own birthday?                                             moting dialogue among faiths and cultures
                    fully included as citizens and   What is encouraging is that this time                               are also reacting strongly to these heinous
                    treated as equals. In a speech   around, in a shift  in the national tone, many                      attacks. Patrick Burnett, a young Catholic
        he  gave  in  August  1947  to  the  Constituent   prominent Pakistani leaders roundly Stop                      American working to build bridges between
        Assembly, the Quaid famously remarked,   Killing the Christians of Pakistan and swift ly                         faith communities in the US and abroad, an-
        “You are free; you are free to go to your tem-  condemned what happened in Quetta. To                            guished in response to the church bombing:
        ples, you are free to go to your mosques or   cite some examples from the many at hand:                          “It breaks my heart that on the third Sunday
        to any other place of worship in this State of   Councilor Dr James Shera MBE, S.Pk,                             of Advent, when we in the Christian faith are
        Pakistan.... You may belong to any religion or   the former Mayor of Rugby, England, and a                       preparing to celebrate Christmas, a season of
        caste or creed - that has nothing to do with   prominent Pakistani Christian, stated in re-                      both great joy and deep refl ection, dozens of
        the business of the State.”           sponse, “I am deeply saddened and shocked                                  innocent Pakistani Christians are killed and
            It is ironic then that on Sunday, Decem-  to hear of the suicide attack in Quetta Meth-                      injured just for celebrating their faith. Th  e
        ber 17, just over a week prior to Christmas,   odist church with nine killed and over 50 in-                     Quaid would be deeply angered and heart-
        the day when Christians celebrate the birth   jured. My deepest sympathies for the families                      broken to witness this fundamental challenge
        of Jesus Christ and the same day Pakistanis   of the injured and whose loved ones lost their                     to his expansive and inclusive vision for Paki-
        celebrate the birth of the Quaid, two suicide   lives. May God bless the souls of the innocent   Councilor Dr James Shera, a leading Pakistani Christian, plants   stan. Building bridges of understanding and
        bombers attacked a crowded church in Quet-  people who gave their lives. I wholeheartedly   a friendship tree while wearing a Pakistani Jinnah cap in the   compassion between our faith communities
        ta, killing nine and injuring at least fi ft y-fi ve.  praise the security services for their brave act   English borough of Rugby, as he is conferred with the honor   could not be more important and urgent
            I have found this attack to be particu-  which stopped harm to many more people   “Freedom of the Borough of Rugby” in April 2017 for his   than in this global crisis of pluralism.”
        larly shocking, as I served as Commissioner   who were inside the church. Pakistan is go-  dedication to the borough and to building bridges between faith   On a note which inspires hope for the
                                                                                   communities. A prominent delegation, featuring such dignitaries
        in Quetta in the late 1980s and was thus in   ing through various challenges and trials   as former Pakistani High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan,   nation, in response to the attack in Quetta,
        charge of law and order in the division. My   and tribulations where the enemy of state is   joined for the celebration  the Regional Police Offi  cer in Gujranwala,
        role then was to protect citizens of all faiths.   determined to divide us under the name of   UK and Ireland, Syed Ibne Abbas, wrote to   Ashfaq A. Khan, visited a number of the
        Th  e idea of a church or any member of a mi-  religion or ethnic background. We must fi ght   James Shera in the aft ermath of the attack ex-  city’s churches to ensure their security infra-
        nority community being attacked so blatant-  together against this evil and not let them   pressing his condolences to the community:   structure and procedures were properly in
        ly is shocking to me and breaks my heart. As   succeed to dent the good name of our country   “James Sahib, Terror attack on a congrega-  place before the Christmas holiday. He also
        the Quaid expressed, it is the duty of every   and its people. I appeal to all Pakistanis from   tion at a Church in Quetta is truly appalling.   instructed all his police offi  cers to ensure the
        Pakistani to safeguard all citizens, but espe-  ordinary to good and great to unite together   Th  is cowardly act, especially during the Fes-  full protection of the Christian community
        cially the vulnerable, like the minorities. I am   and resurrect the Quaid’s Pakistan which is   tive season, is heartbreaking. Th  is is our col-  during their Christmas celebrations. And
        sorry to see this vision being decimated be-  based on equality, justice and freedom for all   lective loss. Our heart goes out to the families   alongside the deputy commissioners, Mr
        fore our very eyes.                   faiths to practice their faith without fear. We   of victims. Th  ese beasts who target places of   Khan broke bread and shared cake in the
            Pakistanis must stop killing Christians.   must bring a radical reform and not allow ex-  worship are against humanity.”  churches with the Christian community to
        Pakistan as a country claims to honor the   tremism in any shape or form to fl ourish and   Dr Amineh Hoti, who works tirelessly   ensure the strengthening of ties between the
        message of the Quaid and revere his found-  weaken Pakistan. God save Pakistan.”  within Pakistan and beyond to build bridges   community and the administration.
        ing of the nation. Yet, Pakistani Christians   Th  e Pakistan High Commissioner to the   between the faith communities, heartily con-  KILLING, P27

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