Beyond a Sunday prayer service, a select gathering at the Our Lady of Fatima Church in Islamabad offered prayers for the comfort of minority communities and the nation.
The gathering of Christian community along with by members of the civil society strengthened spirits of those wanting to celebrate Pakistan day.
Dressed in traditional garments, kids danced to the music from different provinces. Singing with smiles, they depicted a sense of impartiality that they wish to accomplish as minorities in Pakistan.
Prayers and hymns by the church choir presented a message of peace and unity in society.
Priest of the church Michael Rehmat said, “Pakistan is our home. If our homes are safe, then we are safe”.
He said that the Christian community was defenseless and facing prejudice at different levels. While dealing with challenges, since the independence, Christians have contributed massively to all segments such as armed forces, social work, health and education. They have also managed to shelter orphans and raise them to become responsible citizens, he said.
Rehmat urged the government to focus on the rights of minorities and facilitate them to live with honor. “We feel that the seats given in the parliament are not justified. The way they [representatives] get there is also unacceptable,” he said.
With a gloomy face, he said the city administration had announced to launch an operation to bulldoze slums of Islamabad- where majority of the inhabitants are Christians.
The government had not made satisfactory arrangements to provide alternative facility to the slum inhabitants. “We as a community are financially weak, the government has to make schemes to provide alternative livelihood to those that will be suffering.”
Tahira Abdullah, social activist while addressing the participants said, “We pray for the day that there is no forced conversion and forced marriages”.
She said the division between the people on the basis of faith, language, creed and cast was a tragedy. The government should take steps to ensure impartiality and social justice to all citizens. “The white portion on the national flag deserves to be represented with pride,” she commented.