PESHAWAR, Sept 25: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti on Tuesday visited Mardan’s Sarhadi Lutheran Church, which was set on fire by miscreants on last Friday, to show solidarity with local Christian community, and announced Rs30 million for the church’s repair/reconstruction.
On the occasion, the chief minister told members of Christian community, including Bishop Peter Majeed, Andaryas Maseeh and priest Ghulam Shaad, that miscreants burnt down the church to damage religious harmony but the nation would thwart all such conspiracies by maintaining unity and religious harmony.
“Islam gives its followers a message of peace and grants full freedom to followers of Rs30 million announced for Mardan church torched by mob other faiths to practice their religion. The people responsible for the church burning will be given exemplary punishment,” he said.
Mr Hoti declared the incident an ‘extreme brutality’ and said it was highly condemnable. “Muslims had the every right to stage peaceful protest on Yum-i-Ishq-i-Rasool. However, unfortunately some miscreants damaged valuable property and destroyed the church. These elements have earned the country and Islam a bad name,” he said.
The chief minister said miscreants couldn’t escape the law.
He assured the Christian community of repair/reconstruction of the church, and that he would inaugurate work on it soon. He added that the church’s premises would be extended.
Mr Hoti directed the relevant authorities to ensure early repair/reconstruction of the church in consultation with the elders of the Christian community.
He termed minorities as an integral part of Pakistan and expressed sorrow and apology over the church burning.
The chief minister said people were required to maintain religious harmony and thwart conspiracies of anti-state elements. He said Islam didn’t allow its followers to damage places of worship of other religions.
Meanwhile, he told participants of a public meeting at Sharif Abad and Goli that unity was the direly need for the country’s survival, development and prosperity. He said everyone claimed that he would serve people but one should realise that all that depended on good will, spirit and sincere companions.
Mr Hoti said despite political achievements, the ruling Awami National Party had rendered great sacrifices for the country and peace, and would continue doing so.
He said Rs150 million had been approved for PK-23 constituency development, while Rs30 million had been allocated for establishment of five funeral places, including one at Mustafaabad and Rs51 million for installation of water hand pumps.
Meanwhile, the chief minister told a public meeting in PK-24 constituency that Rs50 million each had been allocated for mosques and electricity projects, and Rs30 million for installation of hand-pumps.
He said six mechanical sweepers, two multi-loaders and 40 big containers would soon be provided to Mardan. — APP