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LAHORE: The Christian community across Pakistan, like other parts of the world, celebrated the grand festival of Christmas on Monday showing traditional zeal and enthusiasm.

Special services were held in churches across the country and prayers were offered for peace, progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

Special programmes were held in churches across the country to celebrate the festival. Residential colonies of Christian community were decorated with twinkling lights and stars. Churches were also decorated with colourful lights and illuminated with Christmas trees.

The government also made elaborate security arrangements to avert any untoward incident. The members of Christian community also thronged parks and other recreational spots to enjoy the festival. They also visited the residences of their near and dear ones to share happiness of Christmas.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also hosted a Christmas dinner at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, attended by the Chairman Management Committee Zaka Ashraf along with top PCB officials and Christian employees.

Addressing the guests on this occasion, Zaka Ashraf said, “I extend my heartfelt greetings to all those celebrating Christmas in Pakistan and around the world. We are delighted that you are part of the Pakistan Cricket Board.” He said, “You have served Pakistan cricket with utmost dedication and the PCB appreciates your efforts. I hope that you and your families celebrate with joy and I wish you well.”

Moreover, the Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi along with the Provincial Ministers participated in a prayer ceremony at the Cathedral Church so as to participate in the festivities of the Christian community.

Bishop of Lahore Bishop Nadeem Kamran presented flowers to the Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi.

The CM cut the Christmas cake with Christian community. Bishop of Lahore, Bishop Nadeem Kamran presented a copy of the Bible and a sample of the Holy Zabur written by the hand of Hazrat Dawood (AS).

The CM while congratulating the Christian community on Christmas said that he wishes the Christian community a Happy Christmas. “The Holy Christ is not only yours but ours also. We are as happy as you are on the birth Anniversary of Holy Christ (AS). What we all have in common is that we worship one God. We also worship the same God that you worship,” he said.

Mohsin Naqvi said that when the rights of Christian brothers are usurped, it is a matter of great shame that we have forgotten the teachings of the Holy Prophet (SAW). Our Pakistan is incomplete without Christian brothers. In the Pakistani flag, green colour is for the Muslims while white colour is for the minority communities, he added. He said that no matter how much the Jaranwala incident is condemned, it is less. As a result of the Jaranwala incident, the affected churches and houses have been restored. The affectees have been redressed and our feelings are with the victims, he added. The CM underscored that every possible effort is being made to award strict punishment to the perpetrators of the Jaranwala incident or any such other incident.

The CM outlined that it is our religious and constitutional duty to provide protection to the minority communities.

Provincial Minister for Auqaf Azfar Ali Nasir, IG Police Dr Usman Anwar, ACS, Khateeb Badshahi Masjid Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad also addressed the ceremony.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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