PESHAWAR - Christians gathered all over country to celebrate Christmas with simplicity in the memory of the lives lost in Peshawar attacks.

In Peshawar, events were held at the Catholic Church, St. John Cathedral Church, Church Assemblies of God Saddar, St. John Wiyani Church Yakatoot, Baitul Khania and Nazrin Church Gulbahar and other churches of the city. The biggest Christmas gathering was held at the historical St. John Cathedral Church in Peshawar cantonment, where special prayer and services were held, as people paid tribute to the messenger of God.

On this occasion, the church was decorated with lights and buntings. Special Christmas songs and prayer services were also held where large number of Christians participated.  Christmas prayers were also offered at dozens of places, including Swato Pattak, Sufaid Dheri, Peshtakhara, Christian Colony, Zargarabad, Yakatoot, Academy Town and Tehkal.

In Lahore

Ceremonies were held at Cathedral Church, The Mall, St. Mary Church in Cantt, St. Anthony at Lawrence Road and St. Mary Church in Kot Lakhpat where a large number of Christians gathered to offer prayers.

The churches were illuminated and decorated with Christmas trees, lights and buntings. Special candle lit service was held at different schools including Cathedral School, St. Anthony’s, St. Peter’s, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Sacred Heart School.

Irfan Jamil, Bishop of Lahore in his message this year was that the whole nation is going through a difficult time due to unwanted targeted incidents. “The message of this Christmas is Fear Not”, he said.

Religious scholars particularly Allama Raza-e-Mustafa, president of Tahafze Namoos-e-Risalat congratulated the Christian community on the eve.  Mufti Muhammad Gul Ahmad Khan Ateeqi said Christian community suffered a lot and being a Mufti he requested the whole Muslim society to give honor to all communities in the country.

The religious festivity across the country started with special prayer for peace and solidarity, and integrity of the country. The priest highlighted the significance of Christmas, and conveyed a message of peace and harmony. They urged the participants to extend support to the law-enforcement agencies in maintenance of law and order to defeat the anti-social elements.

Special prayers were offered for departed souls of those killed in different sabotage incidents in Peshawar and other parts of the province. The Christian community also demanded the government to extend financial support to the bereaved families and survivors of the bomb blasts.

Meanwhile, a graceful function was held at Government Islamia College Civil LInes to mark Christmas, which was attended by teachers and employees hailing from all the departments of the college.  On this occasion, Principal Khalid Javed cut a cake and congratulated the Cristian colleagues.