Closed House Churches in Pakistan Reopened After Dialogue with Pastors

ICC Note:

Unregistered house churches in Abbottabad, Pakistan have been reopened after a successful dialogue between the government and pastors of these churches. Last week, many house churches were closed down due to security threats posed by terrorists targeting churches in Pakistan. According to security forces, the churches had to be closed down because they were not able to provide proper security for them. Thankfully, these closures were not permanent and the All Pastor Association of Abbottabad was able to negotiate the reopening of these closed churches.

01/22/2018 Pakistan (Christians in Pakistan) – According to a social media report, Ravi Kumar, the advisor to chief minister of KPK (Khyberpakhtun Khawa) on minority affairs of PTI (Pakistan Tehreek – e Insaaf) at Civil Secretariat Peshawar, had a successful dialogue with Home Department of Hazara Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Divisional Police officer on January 19 regarding the reopening of closed churches in Abbottabad.

From January 20, no church will remain close for worship in KPK. Ravi Kumar was thankful to all pastors and their efforts in reopening the churches which were earlier closed due to a security alert and for being unregistered. In Abbottabad, Ravi Kumar met with pastors at the All Pastor Association Abbottabad. He acknowledged Pastor A.R Hashmat’s struggle for the close churches being reopened in Abbottabad.

In the second week of January, many churches which were unregistered were closed since it was difficult for police to provide security to them all. After the Quetta church attack, all churches across Pakistan were asked to provide security by the authorities but there were many ‘house churches’ which were not registered. Such unregistered house churches were established in the rental houses, therefore they remained out of the sight of security forces and could be victim of any terror attack.

After the discussion with the pastor and complete survey these churches were issued warning letters for either to close these churches or get them registered in the time allocated by Home Department.

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