A Church, in Pakistan’s most acrid area, celebrates a cold Christmas amidst constant,dread of harassment.
Waziristan also known as the haven of AL-Qaida, remains aloof to the rest of the country, while Christians in other areas of the country engage in Christmas festivity, Christians in Waziristan spend a lonely Christmas.
Pastor Nazir Alam, stoked up fire, put new cloth on the altar and felicitated the congregation. “The lights are all up, and the choir boys are ready. The church is looking its best, there’s not much left to do but to pray and rejoice” said Pastor Alam.
Pastor Alam’s church and some 200 parishers of his church reside, inside an army base. This courageous Church exists in South Waziristan, the hotbed of militants,in an expanse of rocky mountains. The Church comprised only a single room, for two decades but in 2009, Pakistan Army requested the Church to be relocated inside the Army base.
“When the U.S went into Kabul, things became bad for everyone. But we are safe here. The army protects us,” illustrates Shan Masih.
Many of the Christians in this discordant region work for the Pakistan Army, occupying clerical and domestic positions. Pakistan Army has thus far, endowed them with cover from the raging war; the drone attacks, and bombings that concuss the mountains regularly.