Aftermath of Pakistan Bombing

Barbara Glasson is in Pakistan on visit as part of the link between the West Yorkshire District and the Diocese of Multan in our Partner Church the Church of Pakistan, so she is about 400 miles from Peshawar.

Here is some of what she has to say of her experience over the last few days, which have been so distressing for the Christian community in Pakistan, which is of course a small, vulnerable and mostly poor minority, little more than 1% of the country's population; a minority which values any interest that is shown by the Church in Europe and earnestly requests our prayers.

 Friends,

....The news of the bomb blasts came in gradually, first reports ten dead - the total is now feared to be over 100 as more of the casualties have become fatalities. One pastor here has a member of his congregation that has lost 11 family members and a youth worker[well known to colleagues through the partnership with Methodist Church in Britain]has lost his two children and his mother, his wife being in intensive care. So there is shock and devastation and also anger in parts.

There is a 'strike' for 3 days with Christian schools shut etc in protest. The complaint is that minorities are not being adequately protected. There have been more protests in Lahore and Karachi. In Multan the Bishop has taken a very firm stand and said there is to be no protest in the street but tonight led a candlelit vigil in the cathedral. The church was packed and there were also Muslims present as well as a member of the government. Many Muslims are shocked and condemn the action, which is clearly a fanatical act. But there is fear of 'soft targets'. As a consequence we[visitors]are being accompanied everywhere by security police, who also call every night at the Bishop's house...

It is good to hear of these steps being taken on both 'sides' to condemn terrorism and resist violence. The atmosphere is tense, but there are clear voices working for peace - before all this happened we attended a peace rally with Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, on International Peace Day. We are surrounded by courageous people whose faith leads them to nonviolence. Please continue to hold these people in your prayers.

Barbara

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