KARACHI - Christian community opted to celebrate Christmas- the birthday of Jesus- with minimalism in the memory of the kids who lost their lives in the tragic incident of Peshawar.

Talking to The Nation, Christian Leader Micheal Javed said that the Church Council of Pakistan had conveyed it to all churches in the country. They advised to keep in view the somber environment in country over tragic killings of children in Peshawar. “All churches in the country have decided to celebrate the event with simplicity,” he said.

He said that this year would be different. “No Christmas trees, parties and cake cutting ceremonies will be held this year, the community plans to keep it simple.”

“Even morning prayers would be held in major churches only,” he said. He maintained that the midnight services would be held on usual timings from 12:00am midnight to 3:00am where prayers would be held for success and security of the nation.

Javed said that distributing gifts among children was their tradition but they had also abstained from it keeping the Peshawar tragedy in mind. He also applauded Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui for moving a step ahead and terminating all events pertaining to New Year celebrations and said that everyone should follow his footsteps.

Meanwhile, special security arrangements were made for the security of churches in the city with policemen and rapid response commandos.

Participants of the ceremony including pastors and bishops along with community representatives also offered prayers for victims of terrorism in the country, particularly students of the schools attacked by militants.

The session at Commissioner House attended by Pastor Suleiman Manzoor, Bishop Bashar Mul, Pastor Yousuf, Pastor Benjamin, Pastor Muslim, Chaudhry Patras and other members of the community also paid tribute to the army men fighting against terrorists and extremists in the country.

Condolence was offered to the bereaved families of the school children martyred during terrorists’ attack in Peshawar, innocent citizens turning victim of bomb blasts, target killings as well as those of indiscriminate firing by terrorists and above all to the soldiers and law enforcers who laid their lives to protect citizens of the country in general.

The session was specially attended by the Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and KMC Administrator, Rauf Akhter Farooqui who felicitating the community appreciated their gesture to cancel all celebrations in the existent environment of mourning.

Rafah International Minority Organisation Umo Naurus, thanked the Karachi Commissioner for offering Commissioner House premises to hold this event and also providing all necessary support to make it impressive. He said all people of the country, without any distinction and discrimination, were today united to defend the homeland against terrorists. “This is our country and loss of every single life is our loss,” said Umo Naurus, the community leader.

DIG ASSURES CHRISTIANS OF COMPLETE SECURITY

Hyderabad DIG Dr Sanaullah Abbassi has assured the Christian community of adequate security measures at the churches and other places of their congregations during Christmas celebrations.

The police spokesman Mazhar Shani informed here on Wednesday that a delegation comprising bishop Max Rodrics of Catholics church and reverend John of protestant church, among others, held a meeting with the DIG at his office.

They informed the police that the celebrations would take place in 71 churches in the district. The police officials informed the delegation that a focal person had been assigned the task to maintain liaison with them and provide them the contact number of Range Control Room.

The DIG also issued directives to all the SSPs of Hyderabad police range to ensure security arrangements around the churches and complete coordination with the community.

The DIG also asked the SSPs to review the security arrangements of the foreign companies, installations, outlets and foreigners in their respective districts.