In a city that has recently witnessed a spate of attacks on minorities, a bullet-proof cross is being erected in the heart of Karachi.
Christian Pakistani businessman Parvez Henry Gill is building a 140-foot cross at the Gora Qabristan Cemetery. Following a dream in which Gill claims to have seen God asking him to do something for the Christian community four years ago, he, in due course, decided to build Asia’s largest cross in the 90 per cent Muslim country.
The nature of the structure was kept a secret until it became evident. When it did, 20 Muslims quit construction in disapproval, but one stayed.
The Muslim worker, Mohammad Ali, says the cross is a “work of God.” He is working 14 hours a day, seven days a week, mentioning Gill’s support of his family as a reason for his commitment, Christian Examiner reports.
Of Karachi’s 21 million population, about one million is home to the Christian community. Gill says the cross will “be a symbol of God, and everybody who sees this will be worry-free.”
He further explains the motive behind the bullet-proof cross which is to prompt Christians to stay in Pakistan and do something for their community.
The Gora Qabristan is a Christian cemetery that is frequently the target of miscreants. Inhabitants of an intruding settlement live in buildings covering old graves, and they often throw garbage wastes in the graveyard
The Christians are often marginalised in Pakistan and face hostility. In 2013, more than 100 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a church. Mobs have gained attention from the media in the last few years for burning couples and children owing to religious differences.
The cross stands on a 20-feet underground base and according to Gill it is “bulletproof and made of tons and tons of steel, iron and cement.”
“If anyone tries to hit this cross, they will not succeed," Gill tells The Washington Post in a recent interview.