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Suicide bombers attack worshipers at All Saints Church, Peshawar

Suicide bombers attack worshipers at All Saints Church, Peshawar

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Published by PTI Official
Suicide bombers attack worshipers at All Saints Church, Peshawar
Suicide bombers attack worshipers at All Saints Church, Peshawar

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Published by: PTI Official on Oct 06, 2013
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12/29/2013

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(Suicide bombers attack worshipers at All Saints Church, Peshawar)
By Shunila RuthMPA (Tehreek-e-Insaf)President Minorities (Punjab)THE peaceful Pakistani Christian community has always been proud to have playeda significant role in the creation and development of Pakistan in various fields,such as education, health, social welfare, media, and the armed forces to name afew.But, in spite of their contributions, they have suffered discrimination (visible andinvisible), lack of opportunities, forced conversions and marriages (especially of women), false implications in blasphemy cases and innumerable attacks on thepeople and their places of worship.Needless to say, Pakistan is in the grip of religious extremism and terrorism. Manyinternal/external forces are fiercely working against the peaceful existence of Pakistan causing death of over 40,000 people through suicide attacks.All major and some minor political parties are seriously looking for ways to endthis menace in the country. One is to initiate a dialogue with the militant groups(whoever is willing). An All Parties Conference (APC) was held in this connectionon September 9 this year.Sadly, less than two weeks of the APC, a devastating attack was brought uponChristian worshippers at the All Saints Church, Kohati Gate, Peshawar (Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa Province) on 22
nd
September 2013. Two suicide bombers blewthemselves up as worshipers poured out of the church on that Sunday morning.More than 80 died and mover 150 were injured, some of them seriously.
 
The vibrations of the attack were felt internationally even at the recent UnitedNations Assembly. In Pakistan, the media gave round-the-clock coverage to thetragedy for almost 24 hours. The politicians, the civil society and religious groups(Muslims and non-Muslims) issued joint and independent statements condemningthe massacre.On the day of the fatal attack on All Saint’s Church, Peshawar I was travelling fromKhanewal to Lahore when I started receiving phone calls from friends and well-wishers of Christians and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (of which I am an MPA inthe Punjab Assembly). As soon as I reached Lahore I switched on the TV and sawpeople in great pain crying for their loved ones.I immediately contacted the leadership of the Church of Pakistan including theBishop of Peshawar, Bishop Humphrey Peters and hierarchy of the PakistanTehreek-e-Insaf. I called Ejaz Chaudhary (President PTI Punjab), and sent messagesof concern to Chairman Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Javed Hashmi,Shafqat Mehmood, Andleeb Abbas and Dr. Yasmin Rashid.The leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was in a Central Executive Committeemeeting in Islamabad when the attack took place in Peshawar.The Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhary and Dr. Yasmin Rashid presented a truepicture of the carnage to the Chairman who immediately left for Peshawar alongwith Chief Minister of KPK Pervez Khattak. Chairman PTI Imran Khan appeared onthe media and assured the Christian community of PTI’s support in the hour of great pain. He called the Bishop of Peshawar and met him along with the KPK CMPervez Khattak.Hina Manzoor (General Secretary NorthernRegion) and I too left for Peshawar.As per instructions received from BishopHumphrey of Peshawar, we went straight tothe Lady Reading Hospital and prayed withand for the injured and conveyed Chairman
 
PTI’s message. Later we went over to Bishop Humphrey’s residence and offeredcondolence on behalf of the PTI.The next day, I and Munazza Hassan (MNA) met with the Health Minister ShaukatYousafzai, Medical Superintended & Chief Executive of Lady Reading Hospital,senior doctors, surgeon and nurses at the administrator’s office.We, along with the Health Minister KPK alsovisited the ICU, prayed for the seriouslyinjured and held a joint press conference atthe hospital premises.We also visited the All Saint Church at KohatiGate and offered condolences to the Rt. Rev.Munawar Rumal Shah and Bishop HumphreyPeters.On the evening of 24
th
, a candle light vigilwas held at Liberty Chowk, Lahore largelyattended by the Christian community, PTIPunjab Leadership, District Lahore leadershipled by Bishop Samuel Azariah (Moderator,Church of Pakistan), Shunila Ruth (MPA,Punjab), Rev. Amjad and Dr. Bhatti(Administrator UCH hospital)On 25
th
September 2013, an interdenominational thanksgiving service was held atthe Cathedral Church of Resurrection, The Mall, Lahore. Together with Bishop S.Azariah (Moderator, Church of Pakistan), Bishop Irfan Jamil and Dr. Massey I laid a

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