Archbishop of Lahore Francis Sebastian Shaw, has revealed that meeting the new standards of security has become a ‘financial burden’ on churches and Catholic schools. He appreciated the fact that government has asked the churches and schools run under their administration to beef up security measures.
He said that the government had given an ultimatum to churches to provide for their security on their own. Further explaining the mater he said that majority of churches and schools are encapsulated in walls 4 to 5 feet high walls. But the government said the “walls must be 8 feet high, plus razor wires – not barbed wires – on top.” Churches were compelled to bear the expenses of the security measures, he explained. Church buildings need to have closed-circuit TV cameras and armed security guards, Archbishop said.
“It’s a big, big financial burden,” Archbishop went on to explain. He revealed that the government threatened to close schools that did not comply with the new security standards. Many of the Christian schools are in rural areas and cannot afford these measures.
“If the schools will be closed, where will these children go?” he asked. “These children will have no education, and they will become engaged in street crimes. Unemployment will grow,” he said.
For this reason, he said that church is now looking towards the international aid agencies, in order to receive some financial aid, in order to meet the cost of the security standards.
Archbishop further stated that despite the fact that churches and Christian schools remain on high alert, Pakistani Christians must not feel insecure or afraid. He said that always tells Christians: “Do not be afraid to live in Pakistan because God has some plan for you. Try to find the purpose of your being – in Pakistan.”