Crucial time for Christians in Pakistan after the Churches attacked in Youhanabad Lahore. By Katherine Sapna

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On March 15, 2015 two suicide bombs blasted in two main big churches, Catholic Church and a Church of Pakistan at Youhanabad Lahore, 15 Christians killed at the spot and several injured who were taken to the hospitals for emergency medical treatment. More died in the hospitals and the total number of causalities increased to 30.while a number of people were in ICU in a critical situation, dying after one another. There are about 10 injured of the incident still under observation in the General Hospital Lahore.
It is fact that after terrorist attack on Churches, Christians became aggressive and they staged protest demonstration against the government administration held them responsible for attacks and blamed for not providing proper security to the church when they worship. Christian community was still in mourning because they lost their love ones in the bomb attack at All Saints Church Peshawar 2 years ago. The survivors of Peshawar attack are still under medical treatment and many of them become paralyze because of fractures.
When Christians heard about the bomb attack on churches in Youhanabad they came out on the roads. The eye witnesses told that there were four attackers two of them were suicide bombers while other two were armed with deadly weapons. They append fire over the church security as helping to the suicide bombers to make possible entry in the churches. Because of the resistance of church youth security the bombers could not entered in to the church and they had to blast themselves outside otherwise they get arrested by the police. Church youth security saved thousands of people inside the churches but could not protect those killed outside while they sacrifice themselves.
Police squad of different police stations in Lahore and Rangers police reached the spot within 20 to 30 minutes. Christian youth helped police to arrest two terrorists armed with weapon who opened fire on church security. Later the angry mob snatched those two culprits from police and killed them at the spot and then burns their bodies. Not only this but they locked the roads, beat the common people passing through on the roads, break the vehicles, damaged public transport stations and also broke the windows of public buses which seems a wrongful and condemned able act of Christian community.
To control the mob SSP investigation Lahore, CPO, DPO’s and some politicians of present government including Federal Minister Kamran Michael and Tahir Khalil Sindhu Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs also visited the occurrence place. But the angry mob showed their grievance to Kamran and Tahir Khalil and did not allowed them to enter in to Youhanabad as they are government touts not community representatives.
The news of killing Muslims spread like fire and was an open threat by the Muslims that they will attack Christian and burns them alive to take revenge of those two Muslims (terrorist) killed by Christians. Extremists groups have warned Christians for attack, they waiting for the chance to attack Christians, presently security forces of Rangers’ Police protecting Christians in Youhanabad. This incident has turned in to cool war among Christians and Muslims. To keep control on Muslims sentiments Punjab government has ordered for the possible arrest of all Christian youth at Youhanabad and surroundings involved in the killing of 2 Muslims. Kamran Michael said that it is a policy of Government to arrest Christians to calm down Muslim’s aggression. He assured the community that soon the matter would be clearer after the formal investigation of Christians in Youhanabad.
But we see that Intelligence Agency (CIA police) arresting innocent young Christian boys of 15 to 30 age by raiding at the houses on daily bases. They are arresting them after seen mobile photage, movie clips and other evidences and torture them in the torture cells. Many of Christian families left to safe places after they threatened for attack on the houses by the Muslim extremists. People belong to Christian NGOs and Christian leaders are also on list to arrest, for instigating the mob to kill Muslims and burn them at occurrence place. Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) helping poor Christians in this regard by filling writ petitions in the High Court against the CIA police severe torture to the arrested. In this regard some young boys were released in terrible and pity condition. Their nails were pulled out and their ribs broken, they hardly stand, could not speak and seem mentally disturbed after severe torture by CIA. Police operation to arrest Christians is still on work. Christians are afraid and helpless; their Christian political representatives in present government are not ready to help them in this hard time. Helpless Christians are facing hurdles by the police and the other hand big Christian colonies in Lahore are on threat by the extremists groups for another brutal attack. In this context on Tuesday March 24, 2015 two motorcyclists opened fire at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church Township, Lahore to threat and harass local Christians.
As CTS got the info and team including Ms. Nomee Coordinator, Mr. Suneel Karamat Field Officer and Qaiser Yousaf Assistant Field Officer rushed towards the place on March 25, 2015 to collect the real facts as there are many roamer news these days. Team met with the Parish Priest St. Peter’s Catholic Church Township and a few locals as well to investigate the matter.
Fr. Clarnes informed the team that he was appointed as Parish Priest Saint Peter’s Catholic Church Township about four months ago. The said Church established in 1973 and probably more than 700 families are regular members.
He enjoyed good environment for four months as he did not receive any threat. After Youhanabad incident on March 24, 2015 at about 2 p.m. two armed unknown motorcyclists (bike no. LEM 3494 model 2013) entered the Christians colony and opened firing at the main gate of St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
There were two policemen engaged for security of the Church opened fire in answer and they also tried to catch them but the culprits managed to escape.
Due to firing two men Imran and Majeed got injured while passing through. Fr, showed his concern for the school students who were in the school and could be injured because of firing. Though it was not a big incident but the local Christians are worried and curious about their safety.
CTS team met Muhammad Shahid (Police constable) said that he is deputed for church security in second shift; he came to the place after the incident. He happily said that positive and on time response of the police security worked. It is the duty of police to save civilians without care their own lives; they protected Church as they are on duty he added.
There was a workshop (Motorbike repairing) in Township near the church, Muhammad Shakeel (Motor Mechanic) resident of Fatteh Garh, is the owner. He informed CTS team that he was afraid when culprits opened fire on the church; he put the shutter down of his workshop to save his life. Later about 15 minutes it was quite outside, attackers escaped, then he came out of his shop and saw two familiar people from locality were injured.
Team visited Aziz Sahotra a local Christian, lives close to St. Peter’s Church. He said that he was at home; he rushed out when he heard firing. He saw two unknown between ages 22 - 23 aggressively firing on the cross fixed on the Church. They disappeared when police security at Church opened cross firing. Police tried to get them arrested but they ran away he added.
Aslam alias Kami is President of Christian Youth and permanent resident of Township, Lahore. He is a regular member of St. Peter’s Church, he informed CTS team that he is not the eye witness but he reached at occurrence place in 5 to 10 minutes and saw two injured with firing, and took them to Jinnah Hospital for emergency treatment.
John Karamat aged 19, shared that he was at the main Church gate along with his elder brother Aslam when suddenly two unknown appeared on motorbike, they suddenly opened fire on the Church. John and his brother saved them in a small shop closed to the church whereas two other were injured who passing through.
It is crucial time for Christians’ in Pakistan, after the killing of Muslim terrorist Christians facing a lot. Young boys are physically tortured, families are disturbed and in pain due to their children. They have to flee for their safety to safe places. Those students who have final examinations can’t appear in the exams, as they fled or they are arrested by the police. Severe physical torture has made them unable to leave a normal life.
CTS strongly ask your continue prayers and moral support to Christians in Pakistan especially those who live in Lahore as this incident has made them miserable life.

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