QUETTA, April 7: Pope John Paul II, has appointed Fr. Victor Gnanapragasam as first Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta, giving Balochistan the status of new Catholic Church separating it from Karachi and Hyderabad.

The special envoy of the Pope, Archbishop Alessandro D’Errico made this announcement at the Apostolic Nuncio Proclamation ceremony of the Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta, here on Sunday.

Bishops from all over the country and abroad attended the ceremony and Christians in large numbers took part in the special service held at St. Joseph’s Convent Girls School.

Speaking at the ceremony, Archbishop Alessandro D’Errico said that Pope John Paul II willingly accepted the request of the Bishops for various reasons. First of all, as a sign of appreciation of the social and economic growth that have taken place in the province of Balochistan.

He said that President Gen Musharraf, while inaugurating the Gwadar project, also talked about some other important projects that have been completed or were being carried out. “These projects have given a new importance to Balochistan at the national level and in the eyes of foreign observers,” Archbishop Alessandro said adding that we know what happened after Sept. 11.

The nearness of Pakistan to Afghanistan, the massive influx of refugees, the problems of the people affected by the war, has also drawn the world’s attention to Pakistan, he said.

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