15,000 police on Christmas duty

More than 15,000 police will be deployed across the provincial metropolis to guard Churches and markets as Christian community gives final touches to preparation ahead of Christmas.  Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf on Friday told reporters that the police were taking unprecedented security measures to protect churches and public places.  The police department will put in place a comprehensive security strategy to guard churches, markets, parks, and communities. The move comes barely one week after the gun and bomb attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Balochistan.  At least nine people were killed and 30 injured when suicide bombers targeted the worshippers amid prayers. “In order to ensure best security arrangements for all the churches located in the city, the worship places of minorities are divided into A, B, and C categories,” the operations police chief said. “We have intensified armed patrolling and security sweep in the most sensitive areas, important markets and churches.” Meanwhile, DIG Haider Ashraf presided over a meeting to review security measures on the eve of Christmas in Lahore.–Staff Reporter

Show of solidarity

The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board, Lahore, arranged a Christmas get-together here the other day.  Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan said while addressing the gathering the government was taking several steps to promote interfaith harmony, which was the only way to make the country as per desires of founding fathers of the nation. He said the Christian community had expressed willingness to join Pakistan in the Red Cliff Award. PCTB Chairman Lt-Gen (Retd) Muhammad Akram and MD Abdul Qayyum also spoke on this occasion. The minister for education lauded the board achievements and its working. The participants felicitated the Christian community and wished them a very happy Christmas. A cake was cut and cash was also distributed to Christian employees of PCTB as Christmas gift. Also, LWMC that has more than 6,000 Christian employees, organised a Christmas cake cutting and ration distribution ceremony on Friday in order to wish Christian community on their holy festival. Ceremony was held at Town Hall and it was attended by Chairman of LWMC Col (Retd) Mubashir Javed, LWMC MD Bilal Mustafa Syed, deputy mayors, religious leaders of Christian community and management of LWMC, Albrayak and Ozpak as guests.  The ceremony comprised prayers by senior leaders from Christian community, coir by school students, ornamenting Christmas tree, cutting of special Christmas cake and distribution of ration bags to Christian workers.–Staff Reporter

People urged to shun differences

Pakistan equally belongs to all people and it is the government’s foremost duty to work together hard for peace, prosperity and progress of our country.  Dr Umar Saif, chairman of the PITB, said while addressing the Christmas celebration ceremony with the Christian staff members of Punjab Information Technology Board yesterday.  He said we all should shun all differences and should unite as one nation above than cast, race, religion, sectarianism, provincialism and language.  The Christian community in the country is an integral part of the society and their contribution for the development in all fields of life always remained extraordinary, he stated. Dr Saif said sometime some unpleasant incidents gave such impression as if this country belongs to one group only whereas this country was created for all communities by our great leader Qauid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.–Staff Reporter