“Pakistani Christians are very loyal citizens,” Archbishop of Lahore said during India’ visit

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The Archbishop of Lahore along with the diocesan priests visited neighbouring country to attend a four day conference on Ecclesiastical Brotherhood. The visit which lasted from April 18 till 23, was attended by Archbishop of Lahore, Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM, Father Akram Javed of Mariamabad, Father Ashraf Gill of Gujranwala, Father Benjamin of Samanabad Lahore, Father Bernard Emmanuel of Narowal, Father Emmanuel Ahmed of Gujranwala, Father Francis Chaman of Gujranwala.

Pakistani Catholic priests

Moreover, Father George Daniel of Shad Bagh Lahore, Father Inayat Bernard of St. Mary’ Minor Seminary Lahore, Father Joseph Shahzad of the Cathedral Lahore, Father Mushtaq Piara of Hafizabad, Father Philip John of Anarkali Lahore, Father Robin Bashir of Sialkot Cantt., Father Saleem David of Sheikhupura, Father Samson Dilawar of Samanabad Lahore, Father Tariq George of Gujranwala and Advocate Mr. Nadeem Anthony of Lahore were also part of the delegation which visited India.

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While addressing the attendees during the conference, Archbishop of Lahore Sebastian Francis Shaw OFM, maintained that the Church in Pakistan is currently facing frequent troubles. “We face terrorism and it goes on in different forms and different places of worship or relaxation.” During his inaugural speech, he went on to mention the churches which came under attack and the congregants lost their lives. He mentioned Peshawar’ All Saints church which was targeted on September 22, 2013 and the Christ church and St. John’s Catholic Church facing the brunt on March 15, 2015.

Archbishop of Lahore further said, “Though we are very loyal citizens of the country but at time we are associated with Europe or America.” He said that followed by the heinous attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School on December 16, 2015; Pakistan Army has embarked upon effectual action against terrorism. He further brought the latest attacks on country’s Christians at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore. He said that as a result more than 80 were killed which included 40 Christians. At this occasion, he also extended an invitation towards the Archbishop of Delhi, his priests to visit Pakistan.

While on this occasion, the Archbishop of New Delhi- Anil Joseph Thomas Couto said that he was delighted to have guests from Lahore. He said that he had met most of the Pakistani priests’ delegation members during his visit to Lahore in 2007; when he was invited for the anniversary of Sacred Heart Cathedral, Lahore and in 2012 when he came to attend the ceremony of Bishop Joseph Coutts taking up the position of Archbishop of Karachi.

He maintained that he was excitedly glad to receive the priests of the Archdiocese of Lahore. “It was the work of the Holy Spirit that the delegation of priests visited my Archdiocese coming from the neighboring Archdiocese of Lahore first time after the partition of the Sub-continent.” He also expressed his plan to visit Pakistan along with his priests possibly in 2017.