Quetta: Relatives mourn beside the casket of a family member during his funeral at Gora graveyard on Monday.—AP
Quetta: Relatives mourn beside the casket of a family member during his funeral at Gora graveyard on Monday.—AP

QUETTA: Six out of nine people killed in Sunday’s terrorist attack on a church in the city were laid to rest in the Gora graveyard on Monday afternoon in the presence of thousands of mourners and amid strict security.

Moving scenes were witnessed during the funeral as the relatives bid farewell to their loved ones.

Bishop of Karachi Sadiq Denial, Bishop Victor Nana Pargasum and 25 pastors who came to Quetta from different parts of the country attended the last rites.

Also in attendance were former provincial minister Jaffar George of the Pakistan Peoples Party and MPAs William Barkat of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Tahir Mehmood of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Five men and four women lost their lives and 56 others suffered injuries when gunmen attacked the Bethel Memorial Metho­dist Church.

The funeral for the two would be held on Thursday as some relatives could not reach Quetta on Monday.

The body of George Masih, the watchman of the church, has been sent to his village in Punjab.

A heavy contingent of security personnel was deployed in and around the graveyard during the funeral.

Compensation

LAHORE: Christians and religious leaders from other faiths take part in a service for the victims of a suicide attack on a church in Quetta at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here on Monday. The suicide attack a day earlier, claimed by the militant Islamic State group, left nine people dead.—AFP
LAHORE: Christians and religious leaders from other faiths take part in a service for the victims of a suicide attack on a church in Quetta at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here on Monday. The suicide attack a day earlier, claimed by the militant Islamic State group, left nine people dead.—AFP

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri announced a compensation of Rs1 million each for the heirs of those killed in the church attack and Rs500,000 each for the injured.

CM Zehri, along with Chief Secre­tary Aurangzeb Haq, Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch, MPA Tahir Mehmood and Inspector General Moazzam Jah Ansari visited the church on Monday. He took a round of the destroyed main hall of the church where Sunday Mass was under way when a suicide bomber blew himself up at one of its doors. IG Ansari told the chief minister that timely response by personnel of police and other security agencies had helped save many lives.

The chief minister later visited the Civil Hospital, where he inquired after the health of those injured in the church attack.

He expressed sympathy with the victims and directed Civil Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Shahjahan and other health officials to provide best health facilities to the injured.

Mr Zehri specially went to the bed of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl who was also injured in the attack.

Talking to reporters later, he lauded the performance of security personnel for what he called controlling the situation in 15 minutes after killing both suicide bombers. He said one policeman had engaged the attackers who wanted to enter the hall where the Sunday Mass was under way. He announced that he would recommend the name of that policeman for the presidential award.

The chief minister said security would be provided to members of the Christian community during Christmas ceremonies. Over 3,000 security personnel would be deployed at churches in Quetta, he added.

Meanwhile, at a meeting presided over by CM Zehri, the provincial government decided to tighten security at mosques, Imambargahs, educational institutions and public places.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2017

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