This man who had preached against Christianity and the local Christian community, had openly declared "War on Christians" had already stoned the houses of Christians, And had given a "Fatwa" that "each Christian killed will ensure "Jannat" (paradise) for the killer. On of his son is reportedly fighting for the freedom of Kashmir in Indian occupied Kashmir. This man is the local Imam of the village mosque. He has two sons; both of them are "Hafiz". Some time ago, the local Christians tried to stop the "Imam" from preaching "Hate" through the local "Councilor". However as the story goes on, month of December came and the Christians started preparations to celebrate Christmas in their usual way. So did the small Presbyterian Community of village "Chianwali". They had midnight service and the main Christmas service and as they were preparing themselves for a "Sunday School" Christmas programme, so was the "Imam" planning some thing different. A little after 8 PM, 25th December, little children in their new Christmas dresses which they get once every year, young and elderly women and men both young and old were gathered in their small church. The Pastor was about to start the service, when a small sound of a fire cracker was heard, followed by a "big bang" and then "bigger bangs". A "hand grenade" exploded right in the middle of the Christian worshipers, followed by "home made" bombs. In matter of seconds, the living, happy, and joyful faces of small girls were bathing in their own blood. Young women were blown into pieces, men lost their eyes and limbs. The church was shattered and the Christian blood that has become so cheap in world these days especially in Mullah's Pakistan was all over the place. People saw the so-called terrorists, (I say it with authority that it was not a "terrorist attack" and the attackers were not terrorists. They were "teachers and preachers of hate". Hate against Christianity and its followers. They preached "Hate" openly.) Clothed in "Burkkas" Taliban type vail but the colour was black ( now it is said they did not hide their faces). They came to the entrance of the unguarded church used the deadly explosive devices in a flash and disappeared in the darkness on the Christmas night. The End. Final count is still awaited yet 3 young girls died at spot and the injured who have lost their eyes limbs or other parts of the body are laying in "different hospitals" 6 of them in serious condition. Rest are in good condition "according to the doctors". People are praying for the injured Christians and I am more worried for them than the dead girls. These people even if the survive (I hope they will) the life will not be the same again. It will be a very different life. They will not be able to live a normal life as long as they breath. The fearful families, the endangered community, what next and where. What magnitude and how many more dead and living dead? This question is haunting the Christian community of Pakistan since September 11th 2001 and there is no answer to this question or questions. Bahawalpur, Islamabad, Murree, Texilla, Karachi and now Chianwali "Hate Attacks" on Pakistani Christians have raised a very important question. Is it beginning of a broader conflict between "Cross and Crescent"? What we hear daily certainly directs all attention to a final showdown between the so-called Christian world and the Islamic world. The hatred that we experience every day may not be imaginable by the Christians of America and the West. We watch the Muslim religious leaders, the local Press and the common Muslim. All speak against the so-called Christian West and local Christians. Any action by the United States of America or the European countries against any Muslim state, group or person is taken as a "Crusade". Afghanistan or Iraq, every Muslim even in United States and other countries are ready to fight a "Holy War" against Christian world. We the people who live in cities can feel the hatred and the people who live in remote areas and small villages have much better understanding of the inevitable. I am afraid it is coming. It is very near and I will not be wrong if I say it is knocking at our doors. I have always supported Pakistan and loved Pakistan. I still support my country and love it. Yet the feelings of uncertainty is growing every day that passes. The Christians of Pakistan are cornered from all sides. In an open war between Christianity, we will certainly be killed. We have no where to escape the "hate" that surrounds us. In a similar situation with India, the Hindu and Sikh community of Pakistan will cross over to India. Shi'ites have safety in Iran and Sunnis can seek safety in Afghanistan. It is very disturbing that in any event of a "Holy war" against Christian world, the Christian community of Pakistan have no place to go. We the majority of Pakistani Christians believe that our so-called Christian friends in America and other so-called Christian states have never though of the fate of over Five Million Christians living in Pakistan. In any event we are "destined to die". I am ready so are many other fellow Christians who are mentally ready to die. Yet we do think, for what? We did not carry out the "terrorist attacks" on United States on September 11th. We are not involved any anti state or terrorist activity in Pakistan yet we are the ones who got the maximum punishment from both sides. The Americans and Europeans do not ask or care for an individual's "religion". The Muslims do not ask the "nationality". One side takes the Christians as "American or Europeans" and the other side as "Pakistani" and we have failed to make both sides to understand that we are both Pakistani and Christians. In any country in the West, at any official level, we are Pakistani people. In Muslim countries especially Pakistan we are Christians, thus linked with the West. For instant, the recent registration of Pakistani citizens in the United States, Christian immigrants have not been given any special status or privilege, yet we are being held responsible for what ever treatment Pakistani citizens are being given by the immigration authorities, by our Muslim neighbors and the Press. In this situation our Church leadership in Pakistan and abroad have closed their eyes.. This is because Pakistani Church leadership will fly off to America and Europe leaving their Christian flocks at the mercy of the "hate" and the Western Churches will forget that the Christians ever existed in Pakistan. The "hate" for us that has been building up ever since August 1998 when America first bombed Afghanistan. It has increased ever since and now it is almost at the peak. It will reach the peak if America attacks Iraq. It is in the interest of the West to dislodge Saddam Hussain, it is in the interest of Muslim world to save him and it is in the interest of the Christian community of Pakistan in particular to die. That is our destiny unless the West decides otherwise. Christmas killings at Chianwali is just a preview of what will happen in a few weeks time when the West and Islam clashes in Iraq, but out fate has already been sealed.
Rt. Rev Dr. Major Timotheus Nasir
Presbyterian Bishop of Pakistan.
The United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan.