Threats to worshipers; Christian fear of attending Church Services in the Twin City, Pakistan

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(Photo credit should read ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images)

RAWALPINDI: Christians fear of attending ceremonial services and Sunday service due to the threats from Muslims living in the neighborhood. Muslims disrupted church services and wanted to eliminate the church building in the twin area of Rawalpindi, twin city of Pakistan. Police is reluctant to arrest Muslims even after the attack.

According to the reports, a group of 13 people in the town area of Rawalpindi district filed an application against the Pastor Patris Salamat at the office of the district administrator “City Police Officer” (CPO) to shut down the church. The CPO Israr Abbasi ordered the concerned officials to take stern action against the church administration, the report said. The document available with the “Covenant Communications” reads that Mohammad Sajid, Rashid Akhter, Mohammad Sadiq and others have filed an application against the Pastor Patris Salamat and James Allah Dita to stop the religious ceremony done by local the Christians  around their houses and also wrote a threatening statement between the lines. Number of 13 members of the locality write an application to the district administration with their signatures under and said that due their Sunday service and the religious ceremonial; the Muslim community living around feels irritated and itchy. Therefore they have requested the high ups to remove the church from their neighborhood. The city administrator (CPO) ordered the concerned officials to take action and stop these activities, the document reads.

copy of the application submitted to the local administration

Talking to the “Covenant TV” Pastor Patris Salamat said the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church is a registered body under the constitutions of the country and was established nineteen years ago at the same place when his father Pastor Salamat purchased the land and started with the small building. And with the passage of time as the church grow and he purchased the nearby land as well. Philadelphia Pentecostal Church is registered and the sitting priest claimed that he obtain the written approval for the said piece of land for Church building from the local administration. On every Sunday services the police chief also assign two police security at the venue. When the congregation gathered for the service, we also arrange our church volunteers to take care of the visitors and congregation as well.

Few weeks back, when the service was on and as soon as worshipers began worshipping, Mohammad Sajid and few other Muslims arrived armed themselves with guns and machetes to disrupt the Sunday service and shouted to stop the service. The church administration went to resolve the issue.  Later the local administration arranged a reconciliation meeting between the Muslims and members of the congregation. After few days the Muslims again filed application to the senior officials, he added.

Mr. Javed Youhana, a regular church-goer said that he used to attend the Sunday services since 1999 but he feels himself insecure while going to church since the Muslim in the neighborhood have threatened the Christians. Basharat Khokher, an activist said “I live nearby but attend the service on regular bases with my family, since the attack on church have created sense of insecurity in me and many others. We live under constant traumatized since the attacks begun on Pakistan on worship places by the extremists.” “For the most time, when I go to church I fear anything can happen anytime and I feel whether I will go back home (alive) or not.”

Taliban terrorists and extremist in Pakistan have been attacking worship places of the religious minorities across the country for the last two decades, killing hundreds and with thousands injured. Many of them are still living with their constant diseases and some are paralyzed due to these attacks while worshiping their God. There have been attacks on Shiite mosques and Imambargahs; Bohra worship places; Ahmadiya community worship places; Churches; and Hindu temples. Due to the situation, the minorities in general, live in the grip of fear even during the worship.

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