KP Christians Feel Proud Of Their Pakistani Nationality
PESHAWAR: On a warm summer day of 2013, the local Christian community of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) had gathered at the city’s All Saints Church for the weekly Sunday Service, when two suicide bombers detonated themselves at the entrance of the church. The attack killed 85 people and wounded dozens of others, according to a report in Express Tribune.
“I could see smoke rising from the building, but the explosion only became apparent to me when I heard this loud bang which threw me forward,” recalled a survivor.
A 29-year old Christian man was attending Sunday services at the Church along with his family when the militants stormed All Saints Church and carried out two suicide attacks which shook the provincial capital.
“There was a sense of fear since militants had been repeatedly targeting places of worship but we never expected them to carry out such a brazen and brutal attack here,” said the man. “Luckily, I escaped unhurt but my family members suffered minor injuries,” he added.
Six years have passed since that horrific attack and sounds of prayers and hymns can once again be heard through the walls of the Anglican Diocese. Christians dressed in their best clothes gather in this church every Sunday to attend the Urdu service.
Those attending the service have seen some of the worst times in the city’s recent history, but they have not lost hope. Christians living in the provincial capital always hold special prayers for the deceased and for Pakistan, hoping that peace and prosperity would once again return to the country.
“The conditions were bad for everyone everywhere. Our ancestors [like the Muslims] chose to live in Pakistan and we have no regrets about it,” said Reverend Joseph John, Priest of St John Cathedral in Peshawar.
Like Reverend John, many of his followers believe the Christian community’s choice to live in Pakistan was evident from the fact that they voted in favour of the country and All India Christians Association assured their unwavering support for Pakistan, advising other Christians to move to Pakistan in case it came into being.
The local Christian community believes Pakistan offers them complete liberty to practice their religion in peace. Although there have been tragedies in the past, Christians of the provincial capital find privilege in their Pakistani roots and believe in moving forward with hope for a better tomorrow.