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Lights, prayers and hugs: Christians celebrate Christmas across Pakistan

PM Imran Khan, opposition leaders extend Christmas wishes; special services held in churches across the country.
Updated Dec 25, 2019 09:51pm

As Christmas celebrations kicked off around the world on Wednesday, Christians across Pakistan marked the birth of Jesus Christ with traditional festivities and holiday cheer amid tight security.

Special services were held in illuminated churches throughout the country while devotees also offered prayers for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

Strict security measures were taken to ensure safety of the Christian community and forces had been deployed outside churches to thwart any untoward incident.

Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to wish Christian citizens a happy Christmas.

President Arif Alvi wished Christians across the world and in Pakistan a merry Christmas and included a quote by Jesus regarding peace in his message.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif also extended Christmas wishes to members of the community, writing: "May this day bring peace, happiness and prosperity for all!"

"May this day be one of peace and joy for all, and let the message of tolerance and inclusiveness resonate across the world today," wrote PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in his Christmas message on Twitter.

Pope Francis in his Christmas Day message urged the world to let the light of Christmas pierce the “darkness in human hearts” that leads to religious persecution, social injustice, armed conflicts and fear of migrants.

Women greet each other after attending a Christmas Mass at a church in Lahore, Wednesday. — AP
Women greet each other after attending a Christmas Mass at a church in Lahore, Wednesday. — AP

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw leads the Christmas Day service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore. — Reuters
Archbishop Sebastian Shaw leads the Christmas Day service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore. — Reuters

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore on December 25. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore on December 25. — AFP

A policeman stands guard during Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Lahore. — AFP
A policeman stands guard during Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Lahore. — AFP

People attend a Christmas Day service at the St. John's Cathedral in Peshawar. — Reuters
People attend a Christmas Day service at the St. John's Cathedral in Peshawar. — Reuters

Children ride on a swing on Christmas Day in Islamabad. — AFP
Children ride on a swing on Christmas Day in Islamabad. — AFP

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at Fatima Church in Islamabad on December 25. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at Fatima Church in Islamabad on December 25. — AFP

People attend a Christmas Day service at the St. John's Cathedral in Peshawar, December 25. — Reuters
People attend a Christmas Day service at the St. John's Cathedral in Peshawar, December 25. — Reuters

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at St. John's Cathedral Church in Peshawar. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at St. John's Cathedral Church in Peshawar. — AFP

A Christian family greet each other after attending Christmas Mass at a church in Multan on Wednesday. — AP
A Christian family greet each other after attending Christmas Mass at a church in Multan on Wednesday. — AP

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at Fatima Church in Islamabad. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at Fatima Church in Islamabad. — AFP

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at St. John's Cathedral Church in Peshawar. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at St. John's Cathedral Church in Peshawar. — AFP

A man receives holy communion during a Christmas Day service at the St. John's Cathedral in Peshawar. — Reuters
A man receives holy communion during a Christmas Day service at the St. John's Cathedral in Peshawar. — Reuters

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore. — AFP

A soldier stands guard on the top of a church during Christmas prayers at Methodist Church in Quetta on December 25. — AFP
A soldier stands guard on the top of a church during Christmas prayers at Methodist Church in Quetta on December 25. — AFP

Christians attend Christmas Mass at a church in Karachi, Wednesday. — AP
Christians attend Christmas Mass at a church in Karachi, Wednesday. — AP

Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore. — AFP
Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore. — AFP

Children ride on a toy train on Christmas Day in Islamabad on December 25. — AFP
Children ride on a toy train on Christmas Day in Islamabad on December 25. — AFP


Header image: Christian devotees attend Christmas Day prayers at the Sacred Heart Church in Lahore on Wednesday. — AFP