Peshawar: Survivors of All Saints Church massacre struggling to survive

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Three years on- the survivors of the Peshawar’s All Saints Church bombings still reeling from the trauma and agony. The survivors with physical wounds are still struggling to lead normal lives. On the day marking the anniversary of the attacks, a memorial prayer service was held for hundreds of congregants who lost their lives in the deadliest attack on Christians in Pakistan’s history.

Christians struggle after three years of the Peshawar church attack

Reverend Humphrey S. Peters, Bishop of the Peshawar while remarking about the follow up of the tragedy told an international news agency that: “Four Christians are still visiting hospitals for their treatment. The government must fulfill its promise to establish an endowment fund for the people affected by the church bombing.”

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Additionally, another local priest Father John William said that the Christian community “lives in constant danger. We cannot say that the situation has improved for minorities since the government launched the National Action Plan to fight the militants.” Marking the anniversary Father John officiated a second ceremony in memory of the victims.

One of the survivors of the attack is 47-years-old Arif Aqeel. He was left paralyzed and mute after the bombings. The bleeding caused by his injuries was stopped by the doctors by performing an amputation on of his left leg, however, could do nothing to cure his vocal loss.

Arif Aqeel’s wife said: “His monthly medicines cost about 15,000 rupees (US$ 145). It’s the same amount he gets in his pension. My two sons were also injured but received no compensation from the provincial government.’

“I had to leave my job to take care of him as he is bedridden. Both government and churches supported us in the early days but now we have to decide between food and medicines. An NGO is paying for the school fee of my youngest son but we need regular support,” she whined.

On September 22, 2013, a twin suicide bombing killed more than 200 people at All Saints Church located in the Kohati area of Peshawar. The suicide bombers struck at the end of a Sunday service, when the congregants were filing out of the church.