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ICC Note: 

Christians across Pakistan have toned down their Christmas celebrations in respect of the victims of the Peshawar school attack. As Christmas approached, the nation was still in morning over the 146 children and teachers that were killed by the Taliban. In light of this, the Christian community of Pakistan decided this season was to be a season of morning and remembrance. Please continue to pray for Pakistan. 

12/27/2014 Pakistan (Express Tribune) – Prayers for the students and teachers who lost their lives in the militant attack on the Army Public School echoed in churches across the city on Thursday as the Christians of Karachi gathered for midnight and morning mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Pastors and priests from different churches prayed for the victims, survivors of the Peshawar attack and their families. They added that they needed to celebrate Christmas modestly this year.

At the Holy Trinity Cathedral, a minute of silence was observed as Bishop Sadiq Daniel said that these deaths were an unforgettable loss.

“The bishop prayed for the families and said that it was our responsibility to offer solace to them,” said Reverend Shahid Sabir, adding that prayers were offered in English and Urdu. “We are celebrating a modest Christmas this year. All musical programs have been cancelled and we are not lighting up our neighborhoods either.”

In Essa Nagri, Reverend Rafaqat Sadiq of the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan held special prayers at midnight. “Like the Quran, our Bible does not allow violence,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune. “In fact, it teaches us to forgive our enemies.”

Along with the victims of the Peshawar attack, people also prayed for the Christian couple that was killed in Kot Radha Kishan, Aasia Bibi and those killed in twin bombings at the All Saints Church in Peshawar last year.

The annual mela in Essa Nagri was also cancelled this year. “We cancelled all major events which take place at schools and churches this Christmas,” he said. “There will be no Christmas mela this year.”

Azam Basti’s Father Nazar Nawab from the St Paul’s Church gave references from Bible calling for world peace. “Because of this incident [Peshawar attack], the whole world is in pain,” he said during mass on Christmas Eve. “How can we be joyous?”

Asif Ghani, who goes to the St Gabriel Church in Old Golimar, said the Father prayed for God to grant patience and tolerance to the families of the victims. He also prayed for extremism and militancy to be eliminated from the country.

Zahid Farooq who attends the St Mary Church in Pahar Gunj which is headed by Pastor Pervaiz Gill said that their service was about Jesus and his message of peace and love. He added that this year, due to the security situation, they had the police and Rangers monitoring the area.

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