The police superintendent, Shahid Nizam Durani says that Sahifq-ur-Rahman, a member of the hard-liner Sipah-e-Sahaba is being believed to have provided support to the six masked gunmen who massacred 20 worshipers at the church. The local police in several raids have arrested 100 suspects but the sources say that the prime suspect is Shafiq-ur-Rahman. Though the six gunmen yet have to be arrested but the police authorities are hopeful that the riddle would be solved soon as to who was behind the bloodshed, some extremist religious party or the Indian Raw.
The terrorist attacks took place on October 28 at a Catholic Church in Bahawalpur which claimed 20 innocent lives among several wounded. The congregation of Church of Paksitan, Bahawalpur don't have their own church therefore they with permission of the Catholic church use the St. Dominic Church every Sunday as well on religious festivals. In the morning of every Sunday firstly church service of Pakistan church is held and then follows the Roman Catholic church service. The unfortunate death toll has claimed 13 persons from a single family. A wretched mother has lost two sons with their wives and children as well as her daughter's husband. Only two children of her elder son have survived. All members of her younger son's family have been martyred. What an agony! What a loss to the family! The community and the humanity at large!
In the history of Pakistan this is a first ferocious and heinous act of its own kind against Christians. According to some recent estimates there are around 10.7 million Christians living in Pakistan, which is 15% percent of the total population of 140 million. Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis and Parsis are people of other religions living as minorities in this country.Not only that Christians voted to Qaid-e-Azim Muhammad Ali Jinnah for the creation of Pakistan but also since the very creation of Pakistan Christians have been vigorously engaged in the development and uplift of Pakistan. Services and efforts of Christian Schools, Hospitals, scholars and charities all hold a vital place in the nation building process of the country. Muslims and Christian have lived in the country together peacefully for years save some miseries on the hands of illiterate and fanatics.
Who did this? What are the hands behind this terrorism? Is Lashkar-e-Umar involved in it? Who is going to benefit all this? To me only two kinds of people can commit this barbarism. One, the religious fanatics, the people who wrongly gather that what America is doing in Afghanistan is a Christian action because Americans are Christians. Second, yes! The Indian Intelligence Service - RAW? Intention of the first group for doing this could be passing a message of retaliation to Americans, if so this is related to their emotional turmoil and unrealistic shortsighted approach. But designs of the second group seem to be very deep-rooted. It's an approach to foment communal and civil war amongst the majority and minorities in Pakistan.
Here let me recall my meeting with the Second Secretary (Mr. Brent D. Byers) of the American Centre in Islamabad, some years ago. To my straightforward question that what policies does America have for Christians in Pakistan and other countries where Christians are living in minority, "We don't have any policies for Christians," came his blunt reply. To my astonishment I asked another question that whom do you have policies then for? He said,
"minorities." Yes, Americans have policies for the minorities living all over the world, which also includes Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and so on. People of every religion are living as minorities in some or the other part on the globe.
The American government does not represent a Christian rule nor they have exclusive policies for Christians living in minorities all over the world. Religion is not important for Americans but their nationality is. Our misfortune is that Pakistani Muslims, save the literate people, take us generally to be belonging to the West because we are Christians. On the other hand the West never owns us for the reason that we are not Americans but Pakistanis. Where do we belong? Here I ask, to the West or Pakistan? Let me forthrightly make it clear that we are Pakistani Christians we are not westerns. Nor we are American Christians. In the first place Christianity does not belong to the West it belongs to the East. Christ (PBUH) was not born in Washington DC he was born in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, His message was all-inclusive, therefore, he belongs to all.
We belong to this land. Our forefathers have belonged to this land from ancient times. We are Asians. We are Pakistanis. We are Pakistani Christians. We will live as Pakistanis and we will die as Pakistanis!
Neither we have asked Osama-bin-Laden to form the Al-Qaida, nor we urged him to plan the Black Tuesday happenings. Nor on our suggestion or instigation has America launched War against Terrorism in Afghanistan. We are as innocent as Afghanistan public, or the victims of the WTC attacks. We are innocent like masses of Pakistan are. Every time some terrorist attack or a bomb explodes in a public place or a place of worship belonging to any religion we feel immensely hurt and sorry for the loss of human lives both being Christians and being humans.
The involvement of RAW
Ironically, the terrorists shouted slogans of Muslim belief before opening up the fires. Just to register that they are Muslims.Conveying a message that Muslims have killed Christians - targeted at inciting communal wars between Muslims and Christians.Lushkar-e-Umar, beards, slogans all these things are covers of India's hired terrorists working in Pakistan.
Indian border from Bahawalpur is only miles away - 30-35 miles. All these facts point to the RAW conspiracies of terrorism in Pakistan. Even on Indian International News Televisions we see faces of clerics (maulanas) uttering extremist views against religious sects and minorities whom we have never known as Pakistanis. These are all paid for Indian men who pose themselves to be Muslims.
The message I want to convey to the hard-liner Muslims is that we are at our best Pakistanis and not westerns. We belong to this land and we will die on this land. We are never pleased at any terrorism or atrocity, be it anywhere in the world. Be it Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia or Afghanistan we always feel sorry for the innocent lives, but we are as helpless as they are, or a civilian of any country can be. The Christian churches even in the West have never supported their governments for wars or outrage. The Christians only stick to the teachings of Christ: "Love your neighbor as thyself. Love your enemies and pray for them who persecute you."
Secondly, we are not gullible to be incited by the inhuman and violent tricks of the Indian conspirators. We stand firm and together with our Muslim brethren and the Pakistan government. Pervez Musharraf government has rightly put Pakistan's integrity first before all things. At a very right time he has initiated action to nab and bring to justice the culprits of Bahawalpur massacre. We hold strong the standpoint that justice must prevail!