PESHAWAR: The Christian community on Thursday celebrated Christmas in the provincial metropolis with religious fervor by offering prayers in different churches under tight security.

The people also cut merry Christmas cakes and exchanged gifts on the occasion. Both men and women were thoroughly checked at the main entrance of churches by volunteers of Christian community. The churches were beautifully decorated where children and women participated in groups as usual.

It was observed that heavy contingents of police were deployed in and around the churches at cantonment and city areas where movement of other people was restricted and the citizens were allowed only after thorough body search.

According to officials, some 2,000 policemen were deployed in addition to personnel in plain clothes only in Peshawar district while the entry points leading to the churches had been closed by placing cemented blocks and barbed wire. The organisers at different churches said that the people offered special prayers for the protection of the country and uplift of the nation. They also prayed for the departed souls of those killed in the militant attacks on Army Public School and All Saint Church in Peshawar.

The speakers said the terrorism did not make any difference for them because they were the followers of Hazrat Essa (AS) and they had to work for peace, religious harmony and extend full cooperation to their Muslim brethren. Expressing shock over the frequent bloodshed in parts of the country, they said that terrorists had no religion and they were bent upon shedding blood of the innocent people and destroying the country.

However, they said the people irrespective of their religious affiliations should join hands to foil the nefarious designs of the anti-state elements. Xmas was also celebrated in parts of Khyber Agency where people offered prayers for the restoration of peace.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2014

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