Six martyrs buried as Pakistani Christians mourn their dead once again

At 3pm (10:00 GMT) today thousands of Pakistani Christians gathered to say their last respects to six of the Christian martyrs killed in the Islamist Attack
on Methodist Memorial Church in Quetta yesterday.  The funeral service was presided over by Bishop Daniel Sadiq and at least 2000 Christian men
who had come from as far afield as Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Karachi were in attendance.

During the ceremony the following victims were buried;

Akash s/o Naseem

Fazal Masih S/O Siraj Masih

Gulzar Masih

Sultan Masih S/O Siraj Masih

Sonia Nazaf D/O  Noaf Hameed

Madeeha Barkat D/O Barkat Ali

Pastor Adil lead BPCA officer in Quetta met with the families of the deceased and many of the survivors of the bomb attack over the last two days,
he offered prayers and counselling and will be meeting with them all again over the next few days to begin our aid programme.  BPCA will be providing
grants for ongoing medical assistance and we will also be reimbursing families for the money spent on the funerals of those who were killed.

Late last night Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Islamist attack on Bethel Memorial  Methodist Church through a broadcast via
its Amaq news agency.   This is the first time the IS in Pakistan has been involved in a terrorist attack on a Church, usually attacks on
churches are conducted by Tehreek-e-Taliban.  However, BPCA had forewarned the Pakistani Government of the rise of IS in Pakistan in
several communications but our persistent calls for better protection of churches fell on deaf ears.

We had been receiving information from churches reporting groups who had sent threatening letters calling for Christians to convert or face Iraq and
Syria-like beheadings back in March 2015.   We instructed them to contact their local army officials to see if any help would be forthcoming.
Sadly the response from the army was pathetic and puerile. The Pak-army began to write to local churches warning them that attacks form IS were imminent
and that they were purging IS sympathisers from their ranks.  An article made it into Christian Today (click here) our original report can be found (here).

Instead of offering protection the army in their tacit recognition of the utterly vulnerable state of Christians and Christian institutions in
Pakistan, the army caused great panic and anxiety.  This caused Christians groups and churches to bury their heads in the sand hoping that the
problem would go away.  However, the problem did not desist but the community silence allowed IS to build a network in Pakistan that now probably
exceeds the Taliban in size and influence. The Government of Pakistan in normal fashion simply dismissed our report as an outright fabrication
of no consequence. Moreover, whereas the Taliban recently warned Minorities of Pakistan to stay out of their way and not support the government of
Pakistan, so as not to be targeted (click here),
for IS minorities are anathema and the number one target for their brutal machinations. 

In a further recent report a seven year old Christian boy was killed after a timed explosive was placed in a vehicle outside a Christian village in
Quetta (click here)When
the mother of the Isaac Masih the slain 7 year old asked for better security she was ignored (click here). Mr
Chowdhry warned the Pakistani Government of potential further attacks, gravely concerned that the overt displays of our Christian faith during the
celebrations of Easter and Christmas, increase animosity towards Christians. He challenged the Pakistani Government not to block media groups from
reporting on this particular small scale attack on Christians in Chaman. Mr Chowdhry feared that covering up these terror crimes only created a sense
of impunity for perpetrators, and would leave the Christian community across the country unprepared and without adequate security arrangements to offset
their enhanced targeting during Christmas. Mr Chowdhry wrote several letters to the High Commission imploring them to increase security provision at
churches but not one of them received a response.  

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

“The Government of Pakistan have now promised better protection for Christian establishments and communities over the Christmas period.  Yet any
palpable response is yet to manifest. 

“Nothing short of military personnel deployed at the entrances to these locations, armed with loaded semi-automatic weapons will suffice. 

“Our communities are without a shred of doubt terrified that they will be the next to be killed in a terrorist attack. Christians and churches will
be a primary targets for extremist violence during the Christmas period in Pakistan, it’s inevitable.  Their very presence in the nation of Pakistan
is regarded as a contamination of the nations purity by the majority of the populace, not just the extremists.  It is what is taught in schools
after all.

“When Pak-Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus they are viewed as demons. I fear for them, I pray for them I will no doubt weep some more for them.”

Our work on behalf of the victims of this latest attack begins from tomorrow. We will be helping families come to terms with their loss through bible-based
trauma counselling, help with the costs for funerals and ongoing medical costs and help towards supplementing the wages of those who are unable to
work or need some time to convalesce. If you would like to help please donate by clicking (here).

Pastor Adil helped volunteers prepare graves for the victims.

Friends and relative got as close to those lost as they could to say their final goodbyes

Bishop Daniel said the last rites.

Men stood in solemn silence in honour of the martyrs

Every last touch of the coffin meant something to those saying goodbye.

BPCA brought a wreath of flowers for every family

Families and friends comforted one another and took solace in the fact that these martyrs would be in heaven.

Survivors overcame injuries to pay their last respects

Pakistani Christians across the globe prayed together as one unit.