By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: It was sunny morning when I reached in Lahore on 22nd September, 2013; I received the phone call from my friend, he told that All Saints Church Peshawar is under the attack. As soon as I switched on the TV there was breaking news saying there was two suicide attackers struck at the end of the services at All Saints Church Peshawar. It was the deadliest attack that the Christian community had ever experienced in the history of the country. This attack had left the Christian community shocked and shattered which left 127 people dead and hundreds injured.
After one year Christian community around the country gathered there to offer special prayer and paid tributes to the victims of the twine suicide bombing who had lost their lives at All Saints Church Peshawar. People are the country gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of the horrible suicide bombings at All Saints Church, Peshawar.
Bishop Azad Marshal, Bishop of Iran and Gulf went to All Saints Church Peshawar to stand along with the survivors. According to Shahzad Gill the chaplain to Rt. Rev Dr Azad Marshall, there were gathering of 4000 people who joined hands in sharing the body of Christ at All Saints Church, Peshawar. Talking to the gathering Bishop Azad Marshal said that after one year of the incident that pain and agony hangs on; souls have scarred for life but we have hope in Christ. The attack was not on the Christians of the Peshawar but also attack on humanity. We will continue our struggle for a just and equitable Pakistan, he added. He demanded the authorities to ensure the safety and protection of the religious minorities as enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan.
Observing the first anniversary of the Peshawar church attack; chairman PUCM Albert David said all political parties are united in the war against terrorism and supportive to promote peace building in the country. Speaking at the Remembrance service followed by the candlelight vigil he said we as PUCM stress for a collective effort to promote the soft image of Pakistan through a peaceful and harmonized co-existence at home. Expressing solidarity with families of the victims, he said that though wounds have healed however the scars remain and remind us of the tragic incident even.
Muslim Christians Unity forum also arranged candle light vigil to pay tribute to the martyrs of the September 22, 2013 bomb blast at the All Saints Church Peshawar. Basharat Khokhar, a social activist said that federal and provincial government made many promises but nothing is being delivered so far. He targeted the Christian leadership and said political leadership is the representative of their political mother parties. They do not represent Christian minority but to their Muslim mother party.
The small and largely impoverished Christian community suffers discrimination in intolerably Muslim majority Pakistan. And nobody cares about it.