Pakistan’s Muslims and Christians celebrate the day together

Special Pakistan’s Muslims and Christians celebrate the day together
Celebrations in St. Mary Magdalene Church in Lahore. (AN photo)
Updated 26 December 2017

Pakistan’s Muslims and Christians celebrate the day together

Pakistan’s Muslims and Christians celebrate the day together

ISLAMABAD: Muslims throughout Pakistan not only took part in Christmas festivities on Monday, but also hosted celebrations for their Christian friends and neighbors.
“We have planned a small function for the Christian family that has been living in our area for many years,” said Mohammed Manzoor, from the Attock district of Punjab province.
Shaukat Chaudhry a member of All Saints Church in the old walled city of Peshawar, told Arab News: “Our Muslim friends are sending Christmas messages … this is our country and we share our pain and happy moments together.”
Two suicide bombers attacked the church in 2013, when 87 people died, and authorities made security a high priority over the Christmas period this year. Additional police officers were deployed outside churches, and there was extra security on streets leading toward places of worship.
“We increased patrols and upgraded church protection to ensure security over Christmas,” said Balochistan’s home minister Sarfaz Bugti. In Peshawar, Chaudhry told Arab News: “We are happy with the security arrangements.”
Throughout the country, Christian residential areas were bedecked with Christmas trees, stars and baubles. The bazaars in major cities, adorned with festive wreaths, were buzzing with last-minute shoppers.
Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership congratulated their Christian countrymen on the occasion. President Mamnoon Hussain extended his greetings to the Christian community in Pakistan and across the globe, and said the day underscored the teachings of patience, tolerance and kindness.
“The lesson that we learn from the teachings of Jesus Christ is that the life and property of all people living on this planet should be given equal respect and protection without discriminating on the basis of color, caste, religion and belief,” he said.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi praised the contribution of Pakistan’s Christian community to the socio-economic development of their homeland.
“We are proud of our Christian brethren. They are an integral part of our multicultural polity, and I am confident that their patriotic contributions will continue to accelerate the pace of Pakistan’s progress,” he said.
Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa joined the Christian community at Christ Church in the garrison city of Rawalpindi to take part in Christmas festivities. He wished a merry Christmas to Christians in Pakistan, and praised their role Pakistan’s defense as well as in the fields of education, health and public welfare.