LAHORE -  Christians in Pakistan yesterday celebrated Christmas with prayers for the safety and prosperity of the country.

Their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters wished them ‘Merry Christmas’ and participated in different festivities in a goodwill gesture of peace and love.

Special services were held in churches across the country, including Lahore. Churches in the city were being decorated with lights and Christmas trees were set up

Santa Claus distributed gifts among the children and people ate different dishes.

Residential colonies were decorated with twinkling lights and stars, and baubles such as bells, pine cones, apples, candies, tinsel and balloons bedecked trees, streets, houses and churches. Wreaths were hung outside stores buzzing with last-minute shopping on Christmas eve.

Streets, houses and buildings were also decorated with the traditional Christmas tree and lights. Special Christmas cakes and candies were prepared as part of the festivities.

Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ (Holy Prophet Isa ibn Mary), observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.

In Pakistan, December 25th is a public holiday, but it is in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Pakistan is a home to more than 5 millions Christians.

President Mamnoon Hussain and PM Nawaz also extended their heartiest felicitations on the occasion and wished Christians in Pakistan and all over the world a merry Christmas.

The government is striving to promote interfaith harmony discourage religious discrimination, they said in their separate messages.


6,000 cops remain on guard

More than 6,000 policemen were deployed in different parts of the provincial metropolis yesterday to ensure foolproof security on the eve of Christmas.

Hundreds of police were seen on guard at churches, markets, and public places. The patrolling was also intensified in the city as police carried out snap-checking at the entry and exit points of the city.

Lahore DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf said that special search operations were also launched in the sensitive areas particularly around Christian neighbourhoods to hunt down suspected elements ahead of the Christmas. The police established parking lots at least 100 meters away from churches. All the participants were allowed to enter the places of worship after proper body search.

The police used metal detectors and walkthrough gates during security checking. The patrolling police including police response units, Dolphin Squads, and Mobile Squads were on patrol around 40 important markets located in the provincial metropolis to create a sense of security among citizens.

Hundreds of traffic wardens were also deployed in the town to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the roads particularly around the markets during rush hours.