PESHAWAR, Pakistan: The killing of a Christian priest in the town of Peshawar has reignited fear amongst native parishioners and introduced again painful reminiscences of one among Pakistan’s bloodiest assaults on the community in the identical metropolis.
Gunmen shot and killed Pastor William Siraj and wounded one other Christian cleric as they drove house from Sunday service at a small church positioned on the outskirts of Peshawar.
“We felt insecure before this. The feeling of insecurity increases when these kinds of incidents take place,” Naqqash Bhatti, a relative of Siraj, informed Reuters on the funeral service for the slain priest on Monday.
The service, attended by a whole lot of mourners, was held on the British colonial period All Saints Church in Peshawar – the positioning of a twin suicide bombing that killed scores of worshippers in 2013.
Following the bombing, a small Christian community arrange a smaller discreet church on the outskirts of Peshawar in 2014 – and named it the “Martyrs of the All Saints Church” in reminiscence of the assault.
Siraj was focused simply after he had attended Sunday mass on the memorial church, which is nestled in a crammed brick-walled lane surrounded by the modest homes of the native Christian community – a lot of whom shifted there after the 2013 suicide assault.
The intimate community and the memorial church served as a consolation zone for a lot of who misplaced family and friends in the suicide assault, and struggled to get on with their lives.
“We are poor people and work till late night in the city and then return home quite late at night,” stated Waheed Masih, 36, who lives throughout from the church, the place Siraj was a daily.
“The killing … has created panic and nobody wants to leave their homes due to fear and terror,” he added.
No one has claimed duty for the assault on Siraj but, however it comes amidst a resurgence in Islamist militant assaults in Muslim-majority Pakistan, significantly alongside the nation’s western border with Afghanistan.
Protestant Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz, who additionally attended Siraj’s funeral service, informed Reuters he had requested the area’s high police official to rearrange extra safety for the Christian clergy and enhanced patrolling on for Sunday providers.
Religious minorities in Pakistan proceed to face violence as authorities fail to offer ample safety or maintain perpetrators to account, international rights watchdog Human Rights watch stated in a report launched this month.