Bahawalpur: Authorities bar Christians to worship in “House Churches” on Sundays

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Authorities in Bahawalpur, have prohibited Christians from worshiping in house churches on Sundays. The diktat bars Christians from gathering in houses to offer worship or prayers – however Christians will be allowed to worship in church buildings only.

House churches in Pakistan

In line with details, there are only four churches in Bahawalpur; which is largest city in Southern Punjab. These four churches hail from the Catholic church of Pakistan and Church of Pakistan denominations. These churches include, St. Dominic Catholic Church, Convent of the Dominican sisters of Sparkle, St. Dominic Parish.

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In keeping with history of Christianity in Bahawalpur, “Christians arrived in state Bahawalpur after the partition of India and Pakistan in Aug 1947. The Christians started migrating to the south of Pakistan in a search of better life. Since the Christian were expert in handling sanitary jobs they were hired. However They were not paid well. They were and are discriminated because of their profession. There are about more than 1000 Christian families in the city,” states Naeem Harry in a report.

Pakistan Christian Post reports that earlier in July this year- when local Muslims complained that they were disturbed by Christians’ prayers. PCP quotes sources saying: “Bahawalpur is headquarter of one banned Muslim outfit and member of that militant group had put pressure on city administration to ban Christian prayers in city.”

Pakistan Christian Congress chief, Dr. Nazir S Bhatti strongly condemned the decision and said that “the orders of banning Christian prayers of Sunday in houses in Bahawalpur have spread fear among millions of Christians in Punjab province of Pakistan.” He urged Chief Minister of Punjab and Interior Minister to take immediate notice of the diktat.