Gunmen killed a Christian vicar and wounded another as the clergymen drove home from church in Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar on Sunday. Police said:
Two attackers on a motorcycle opened fire on the car on the city’s ring-road, killing Pastor William Siraj (75 yrs) instantly, officers added.
The shooting occurred near Ring Road in the city’s Gulbahar area, and many protestors gathered later the same day in anger of another targeted attack on Christians.
Pastor Siraj’s body was later handed over to his family after an autopsy and police inspection of the crime scene.
Emergency services staff were filmed by Pakistan’s media as the removed the pastor from his bullet-ridden vehicle. While they wheeled the pastors dead body through the streets to his family home Christians from the community chanted “Long live Jesus Christ” in an act of defiance against the perpetrators of this brutal act of terrorism.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, condemned the attack, she said:
“This attack has hurt our community, Christians mourn the loss of a faithful servant of God, who today meets with his Father in Heaven.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.”
“The attack was designed to intimidate and create fear in our community, yet it had done nothing but draw us closer to our God, he is our protector and hope for eternal peace.
“As our dead brother was wheeled to his home, his congregation boldly sang out ‘long live Jesus ‘.
“Pastor William’s greatest testimony has been displayed in the strength of conviction of those he led.
“What was meant to have cowed our community has resulted in even more glory for the God we serve.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tweeted. “As we mark Candlemas today, we pray for the light of Christ’s justice, hope and peace for our sisters and brothers in the Church of Pakistan.” Read his tweet (here)
Tertullian an early church father from the 2nd Century, famously once said: “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church”. Reactions from across Christian enclaves in Pakistan illustrate how true those words were.
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So sorry to read this. May G-d help and shelter you ?