Six martyrs buried as Pakistani Christians mourn their dead once again
Quetta: December 18, 2017. (PCP) Today Thousands of Pakistani Christians gathered to say their last respects to six of the Christian martyrs killed in the Islamist Attack on Methodist Memorial Church in Quetta yesterday. The funeral service was presided over by Bishop Daniel Sadiq and at least 2000 Christians man who had come from as far afield as Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Karachi were in attendance.
During the ceremony the following victims were buried; Akash s/o Naseem, Fazal Masih S/O Siraj Masih
Gulzar Masih, Sultan Masih S/O Siraj Masih, Sonia Nazaf D/O Noaf Hameed and Madeeha Barkat D/O Barkat Ali
Pastor Adil lead BPCA officer in Quetta met with the families of the deceased and many of the survivors of the bomb attack over the last two days, he offered prayers and counselling and will be meeting with them all again over the next few days to begin our aid programme. BPCA will be providing grants for ongoing medical assistance and we will also be reimbursing families for the money spent on the funerals of those who were killed.
Late last night Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Islamist attack on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church through a broadcast via its Amaq news agency. BPCA had forewarned the Pakistani Government of the rise of IS in Pakistan but our persistent calls for better protection of churches fell on deaf ears. We had been receiving information from churches reporting groups who had sent threatening letters calling for Christians to convert or face Iraq and Syria-like beheadings back in March 2015. We instructed them to contact their local army officials to see if any help would be forthcoming. Sadly the response form the army was pathetic and puerile.
The Army began to write to local churches warning them that attacks form IS were imminent and that they were purging IS sympathisers from their ranks. An article made it into Christian Today (click here)our original report can be found (here).
Instead of offering protection the army in their tacit recognition of the utterly vulnerable state of Christians and Christian institutions in Pakistan, the Army caused great panic and anxiety amongst Christian groups and churches in Pakistan, causing them all to bury their heads in the sand hoping the problem would go away. However, the problem did not desist but the community silence allowed IS to build a network in Pakistan that now probably exceeds the Taliban in size and influence. The Government of Pakistan in normal fashion simply dismissed our report as an outright fabrication of no consequence. Moreover, whereas the Taliban recently warned Minorities of Pakistan to stay out of their way and not support the government of Pakistan, so as not to be targeted (click here), for IS minorities are anathema and the number one target for their brutal machinations.
In a further recent report after a seven year old Christian boy was killed after a timed explosive was placed in a vehicle outside a Christian village in Quetta (click here). When the mother of the Isaac Masih the slain 7 year old ask for better security she was ignored (click here). Mr Chowdhry warned the Pakistani Government of potential further attacks, fearful that the overt displays of Christian faith during the celebrations of Easter and Christmas,cause a rise in animosity towards Christians. He challenged the Pakistani Government not to block media groups from reporting on this particular small scale attack on Christians. Mr Chowdhry feared that covering up these crimes only created a sense of impunity for perpetrators and meant that the Christian community would not prepare their security arrangements well enough to offset their enhanced targeting during Christmas. Mr Chowdhry wrote several letters to the High Commission imploring them to increase security provision at churches but not one of them received a response.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said: The Government of Pakistan have now promised better protection for Christian establishments and communities over the Christmas period. Yet any palpable response is yet to manifest.
Nothing short of military personnel deployed at the entrances to these locations, armed with loaded semi-automatic weapons will suffice.
Our communities are without a shred of doubt the number targets for extremist violence during the Christmas period in Pakistan. Their very presence in the nation of Pakistan is regarded as a contamination of the nations purity.
"When Pak-Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus they are viewed as demons. I fear for them, I pray for them I will no doubt weep some more for them."