Islamabad - Following attacks on churches in different parts of the country, the members of Christian minority living in Islamabad feel themselves insecure while going to churches for religious activities, particularly worship services.

On Sunday last, March 15, a pair of Taliban suicide bombers detonated themselves near churches in Youhanabad area of Lahore that killed 15 people and left more than 70 worshippers injured. The dual suicide bombing in churches sent shocking wave through the whole Christian community living across the country including the federal capital and according to them they feel “insecure” while going for worship or any religious gathering.

“After recent attacks on churches in Lahore, the Christian community feels itself insecure and a number of our community members visit holy places for religious activities reluctantly.” said Shaukat, a resident of Mehrabadi, a village in the suburbs of Islamabad. Referring to All Saint Church Peshawar attack in 2013 when more than 100 people were killed and scores of others got injured in twin suicide attack, he said, “Hardly people have forgotten the incident of Peshawar that Youhanabad incident took place. We feel insecure in our own country.”

Alfred Javed, a resident of F-8, said, “The minorities are soft targets both for the terrorists and other religious extremists; when they don’t find any other target, the militants attack the poor Christians.”

He said that the Christians have no enmity with the Taliban or any other extremist groups but they were always targeted for their faith.

According to Barkat Masih, a sweeper by profession, the Christian community had lived peacefully in Islamabad and Rawalpindi but now there are so many threats to them. “Despite threat to our lives we can’t leave this area, as it is the land of our forefathers,” he said and added, “We demand the government to enhance the security of our churches.”

S - aiqa Manuel said that hate and intolerance for the religious minorities have increased manifold over the past few years and members of Christian community remained under constant fear either going to churches or any other gatherings. “Earlier our members were persecuted with the wrong use of blasphemy law and now terrorists are attacking our religious places with suicide bombers,” she added.

Talking to The Nation, Rohael S Gill, a leader of Christian community, said that due to recent attacks on churches in Lahore, fear has grabbed the minds of Christian minority.  He said that Lahore incident was a security lapse, so to remove fear from the minds of the people the government will have to ensure security of the worshippers. “We ask the government to make churches of Rawalpindi and Islamabad secure in a way that the worshippers offer their religious duties without any fear,” he demanded.