Augmented violence has caused much apprehension among Pakistanis. As the country reels from what is being called the “Week of terrorist violence,” Christian priest heaps condemnation upon atrocious crimes of violence that cause loss of lives and cause upheaval in peace.
In this connection, Father Inayat Bernard Director of Santa Maria Seminary in Lahore stated that violence could never be linked with God or religion. “We condemn this senseless violence against innocent human beings. Before any ethnic, cultural or religious connotation, the victims are human beings. People in Pakistan are above all sad; they are also angry with the institutions that are not able to protect citizens. Finally they feel fragile, vulnerable, helpless in the face of terrorist threat that spares no one.”
Father Inayat further said that all people, anywhere in the country are equally vulnerable to terror strikes: “Today we know that we are all potential targets.” He further said Pakistanis regardless of their religion are imperiled: “Even us Christians, no one is excluded. The victims of these latest attacks are all Muslims, tomorrow it could be the turn of a Christian, a Hindu or a Sikh.
“This indiscriminate violence hits places of worship, such as the Sufi mosque in Karachi, or churches in the past. Religious communities are forced to adopt their own security measures and cannot rely on the government. There should be more control, but it is very difficult when there is a great influx of faithful.”
Further remarking about the plague of terrorism and extremism Father Inayat Bernard said: “This violence profanes the name of God, profanes Islam and uses religion to try to overthrow the state. Public opinion strongly calls on the Government to urgently implement the national action plan against terrorism, already outlined, but there is some hesitation on behalf of the government and this gives rise to many questions on the possible existing connections even in the institutional apparatus. We are in an impasse.”
He went on to say that the believers must offer prayers for those who had been affected by terrorism and extremism. He said that believers “can only pray and show deep empathy and solidarity.” He said that following the attack in Lahore, clergymen visited the hospitals and inquired after their health.
“We brought our condolences to the police, after the massacre in Lahore; we go to hospitals to offer assistance and solidarity to the injured. In addition we are organizing interfaith meetings in which the faithful of all religious communities light up candles and pray together to reject, in the name of God, terrorism that has bloodied our beloved nation, and say yes to peace and respect for life.”
The behemoth of terrorism has tightened its noose around Pakistan, as nine terror strikes were reported in a week’s time. More than 100 were killed as result of these attacks, while the deadliest one was recorded at a Shrine in Sehwan where at least 88 people were killed.