Officials of district Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK) say that due to security alert several house churches are closed while district police officer Saeed Ashfaq said that only non registered churches are closed.
He said that six churches are sealed. In fact these churches were hired rental houses.
Earlier these house churches authorities were issued proper notices that without government permission they cannot use a rental house as a church building or chapel, he added.
Moreover, he told that this law is not only for Christians but for all Pakistani citizens since if they allow Christians to use rental houses as chapel then other people will start using rental houses for religious purposes like preaching schools which is against Pakistani law.
The police officer said that a Christian delegation asked respite for Dec 31 and assured that they will join the registered churches soon.
According to a rough estimation more than 5,000 Christians reside in Abbottabad while in Hazara Division the number of Christian residents has exceeded over 10,000.
The official said that till the government does not declare house churches as chapels we cannot unseal these buildings for worship.
The district police officer said that everyone here has complete religious rights. On Christmas Christians celebrated their festivities with zeal and zest. But they are also concerned of public security if there will be house churches everywhere then how they will provide them foolproof security.
In Hazara division Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf’s President of Minority Affairs and president of District Council of Abbottabad Norooz Peter told that house churches are sealed due to security threat. They are asked to get permission by Home Department authorities. Now the church authorities are making efforts to get permission.
In response of the question that why Christians need house churches, he said that as there are certain sects in Islam, similarly there are different sects in Christianity too, who cannot share the same worship places.
In KPK coordinator to the Chief Minister for Minority Affairs Ravi Kumar said some days ago it was decide in All Parties Conference (APC) committee that non registered NGOs will be registered. And the accounts of rental buildings used for any public service purpose will be counter checked.