HAFIZABAD/Khanewal/DG KHAN/TOBA TEK SINGH/BUREWALA-Christian community observed Christmas with their religious enthusiasm amid tight security here on Sunday.

Special prayers for the solidarity and integrity of the country, interfaith harmony, national cohesion and prosperity were offered in all the churches. The district police had deputed scores of cops near the churches and Rescue-1122 squad and their vehicles remained attentive near the churches to meet any eventuality.

In Khanewal, a cake-cutting ceremony was held amidst tight security. They also celebrated completion of 100 years of Shanti Nagar where Salvation Army church management decorated 45 feet high cross which is the highest cross in Pakistan.

DPO Jahanzaib Nazeer khan and DCO Zahid bin Maqsood along with journalist participated in the cake-cutting ceremony at Salvation Army Church in Shanti Nagar Khanewal.

In Toba Tek Singh, police ensured security of all the 86 churches in the district. DPO Usman Akran Gonal said that 360 policemen were deputed for the purpose. A Christmas cake was cut jointly by MPA Amjad Ali Javed, ADC Ahmad Khawar Shahzad and PML-N minority wing district president Rashid Jalal. Cakes were also cut by Awam League chief Riaz Fatyana in a function at Kamalia and Punjab PTI west region president Chaudhry Muhammad Ashfaq.

In Khanewal, the Christian community celebrated Christmas with fervour. According to official sources and survey reports, there are around 50,000 persons of Christian community, living in Shanti Nagar, Khurrampura, Landhi, Chak 133/15-L, Chak 135/15-L and Chak 136/15-L, Mian Channu and other areas of the district. There are also about 200 churches in the district where people of the community gathered to celebrate Christmas. The areas were also decorated with colourful lights, posters and the traditional Christmas trees. In different churches, tableaux and carols were also presented to add charm to the Christmas festivity. The administration and Muslim community of the district also presented gifts and Christmas cakes to the Christian community to show solidarity with them.

In Dera Ghazi Khan, Christmas was celebrated with religious enthusiasm. In this connection, a cake-cutting ceremony was held at Saint Anthony United Church wherein the participants were distributed dry fruits.

Speaking on the occasion, MPA Aleem Shah stressed the need for having tolerance for others' beliefs.

ADC Shakoor, Interfaith Harmony Committee chairman Maulana Shafiqur Rehman, Maulana Tahir Abbas and Municipal Corporation member Salem Ilyas also attended the meeting.

In Burewala, the Christian community celebrated Charismas with religious zeal on Sunday. Hundreds of Christians gathered at churches where special services were held. On the occasion, special prayers were offered for the progress and prosperity of country.

The police had adopted strict security measures around churches and public places. The followers of Christianity believe that the day brings happiness and blessings for them. Santa Claus attracted people with his bright red and snowy white costumes. The jolly white-bearded man served the people with gifts, best wishes and sweets.