Christian leaders in Pakistan have called for peace following the bombing of two churches in Lahore. Immediately following the bombings on Sunday, Christians in Lahore took to the streets in protest, which quickly turned violent. Christians in Pakistan are often targeted by extremist groups because of the lack of security given to their places of worship. Justice is rarely given to the Christian community following incidents like this. Please pray for peace in Pakistan.
3/17/2015 Pakistan (Asia News) – The Catholic and Protestant communities of Pakistan are holding a day of fasting and prayer today for the victims of the Taliban attacks in Lahore. Religious leaders of both denominations have invited civil society as a whole to join the observance as a sign of solidarity and to stop any violent reaction to the attacks of March 15, which killed 17 people and wounded more than 70. Msgr. Rufin Anthony, bishop of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, told Asia News that, “Today, we kneel before the Almighty in fasting and prayer for peace, forgiveness, mercy, grace, patience and tolerance.”
Fr. John Nisar, the Diocese of Lahore, told Asia News, “We must be humble. Damaging public property is not the right way to make [our] protest. We are in Lent, a time for practicing forgiveness and sacrifice. We strongly condemn the Sunday attacks, we stand alongside the suffering families and also condemn the destruction of public property. We must remain peaceful and witness Christ with our own lives.”
On March 15, two militants of Jamaat-ul-Arhar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, blew themselves up outside the churches St. John (Catholic) and Christ Church (Protestant) in Youhanabad, a predominantly Christian neighborhood in Lahore (Punjab). The attacks have sparked the wrath of the Christian community, which reacted in a violent way.
The same day a crowd of people lynched and burned alive two other suspects. Yesterday all over the country there were several protests. In Karachi, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan protesters blocked main roads. A group of people blocked the Jati Umra Raiwind residence of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, demanding justice. The Prime Minister announced a detailed investigation into the Sunday attacks.