Islamabad: Christian community on Sunday celebrated Easter with fullest traditional religious zeal and fervour across the country. The religious festival commemorates the day followers believe Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.Special services were hosted at different places where the Christian community attended special prayers for salvation, and for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
The IGP directed the officers to deploy snipers and plainclothesmen, in addition to police commandos, around churches so that the Christians community could perform their religious rites fearlessly. He said that a new security plan for courts should also be implemented under the supervision of all RPOs and DPOs keeping in mind best security measures for judges, lawyers, and citizens.
Easter is part of Holy Week according to Christian faith, which started from Palm Sunday followed by Good Friday celebrations and ended up with Easter which Christian considers most important religious event after Christmas.
The day dawned with special prayers for peace and prosperity. Special prayers were held at Cathedral Church of the Resurrection (Lahore Cathedral), Sacred Heart Cathedral, St Andrew’s Church, St Anthony’s Church, St Joseph’s Church and St Henry’s Church.
A special prayer was also held in Gulberg Saint Merry Church. On the occasion children performed religious singing. Police augmented security to avert any untoward incident. Security forces were deployed in and around the churches. Punjab Chief Minister greeted Christians in a tweet, saying: “Heartiest congratulations to the Christian community on Easter. Wishing you peace, love and prosperity & we deeply acknowledge the contributions of the Christian community for Pakistan!” In his message the other day, CM Shehbaz reiterated his government’s resolve to protect minorities. “We equally share pleasures on this event. Easter teaches to spend time with helpless and needy persons and share pleasures with them. Easter represents the emotion of inclination in human life towards good qualities and goodness,” Shehbaz said.
On the occasion, gifts were exchanged among families and they arranged special gatherings. Families also visited parks. Churches have been decorated with lights. One of the main services was held in Cathedral Church of Lahore on The Mall. Bishop of Lahore Rt Rev Irfan Jamil performed the lead sermon and Dean of Lahore Cathedral Church of the Resurrection Rev Shahid Miraj conducted special prayers.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Aleem Khan in a tweet wished Easter to Christians, saying: “A very happy Easter to all celebrating it. Wishing everyone peace, love and happiness.” PTI Chairman Imran Khan participated in a cake cutting ceremony in Lahore..
Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz Khan ordered his force to take all possible measures to ensure foolproof security for worship places of minority. The IGP issued these directions while addressing the Regional Police Officers’ conference through video-link at the Central Police Office.
The police were also directed to intensify security searches around important markets, parks, and other public places. For security searches, the police would use CCTV cameras, walkthrough gates and metal detectors at the entry and exit points of all churches.
He said that strength of security personnel deployed at the entry and exit points of courts should be increased. Similarly, no one should be allowed entry in the courts without complete search with the help of walkthrough and metal detectors.