Christian community satisfied with probe into church fire

Published April 3, 2024
View of the charred interior of the Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan. — Dawn
View of the charred interior of the Presbyterian Church in Gujar Khan. — Dawn

GUJAR KHAN: Representatives of the Christian community visited the Presbyterian church that was gutted in a ‘mysterious’ fire last week, and examined its burnt interior.

Albert David, member of the National Commission for Minority (NCM), under the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony; Pastor Adeem Alfanso, Jawaid Masih and other members of the community exchanged their views on the unfortunate incident.

Pastor Alfanso, while talking to Dawn, said: “We would accept all developments and outcomes of the probe. All institutions are subservient to God, according to the teachings of the Holy Bible. We have no doubt that any institution or any person would do us injustice, and there is no doubt in our minds. We are satisfied with the developments. It is our city and our people, and we cannot allow doubts and differences to crop up among the residents who are living in complete harmony.”

The pastor said the church had been functioning since 1930 and no such incident had ever occurred.

NCM member says govt and police authorities are providing security and safety to minorities

When asked whether he was satisfied with the safety measures taken by the police and local administration, Adeem Alfanso said: “Yes, the police are providing protection to our worship gatherings regularly. We are especially thankful to Rescue 1122, who had promptly extinguished fire on the call of the salesman of a pharmacy.”

He said the police’s forensic wing had collected evidence and their expert opinion would be accepted with open hearts.

The community members, including their Pastor, were of the view that the charred building had outlived its strength and a new and well-designed building should be constructed by the government as a gesture of love for the Christian fraternity.

Albert David expressed his resolve to bring the demand into the notice of the higher authorities. He hoped that the building department would prepare a feasibility report after carrying out technical assessment of the structure.

Mr Alfanso said the forensic report would clarify everything, whether the fire had broken out due to short circuiting or there was any nasty attempt. He reiterated that they would accept the report and investigations of the police.

The police investigator, Sub-inspector Malik Karamat, briefed the NCM member about the preliminary investigation and the latter expressed satisfaction over it.

It transpired that the CCTV camera of the building was not working when the fire broke out and its footage was also not available with surrounding buildings as their cameras were not covering the venue. The police investigator said the wooden switchboard was the starting point of the fire as its surrounding and doors and windows had received serious blows.

Mr David said, “We are living in complete harmony like a family and would not allow any foreign enemy to exploit this situation and spoil the interfaith harmony. We have full confidence in our government and police authorities who are providing security and safety to minorities.”

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2024

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