RAWALPINDI: Christians in the twin cities celebrated Easter on Sunday amid tight security.

All of the churches in and around the cities had organised midnight services on Saturday, followed by morning services at churches of various denominations.

However, the sunrise procession – the main on Easter Sunday ritual – was limited to church premises.

Participants carried candles and circled the main church buildings, entering as the sun rose.

At large congregations on Sunday, priests spoke about the need for religious tolerance and fraternity, saying there was need to work for the development of the country and to spread the message of peace and love.

“We prayed for the country and the people as we believe in peace. Special prayers were offered in churches for the wellbeing of the people of the country,” Father Suhail Patrick from the St Joseph Cathedral in Lal Kurti said.

Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali Randhawa also met with Christian community leaders and said this Easter would bring eternal happiness and peace for our Christian brothers and sisters.

He also assured the community leaders that they would be provided a peaceful and secure environment in the district. He said the Christian community was central part of the society and the government was striving to provide equal opportunities in all fields.

2,000 policemen deployed at churches

Punjab Minister for Law and Local Government Mohammad Basharat Raja on Sunday visited churches in Rawalpindi and reviewed security arrangements.

The minister was accompanied by City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan who told him that 2,000 police personnel had been deployed to ensure security of more than 190 churches in the region.

The minister expressed satisfaction over the security arrangements and directed the police to remain on alert in the wake of the prevailing security situation across the country.

He visited churches in the Potohar and Rawal division and met their pastors and administration officials.

The police had deployed 2,000 personnel, including Elite Force commandoes and sharp shooters, to keep an eye on suspicious persons in and around the churches.

Police personnel were also deployed in public parks and a control room was established in the police lines to monitor the security arrangements.

Besides, extra police had also been deployed in Christian graveyards.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019