Okara: The unknown criminals have desecrated a cemetery in Okara Pakistan, smashing crosses on graves, on the night of 11 and 12 May, in Chak 10/4-L-Antoniabad, a village not far from the city of Okara of Punjab province.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr. James Bahadur alleged that this “is an offence to our faith, our religious feelings are hurt. We demand justice from the government. All those who did this must be arrested and punished.” The locals are terrified by the hatred of unknown people around them.”
The destruction to the Christian graveyard was discovered by parishioners the following morning, as they returned home after Sunday Mass (Church meeting). They instantly informed the pastor, who filed a complaint with the police. Investigations are ongoing on; but for now no one has been arrested.
Around 100 Christian families live in the village of Chak 10/4-L-Antoniabad. The cemetery is located next to St. Anthony Catholic Church and is sheltered by a 1.2 metre wall. Christians from nearby villages also use the site to bury their dead.
Once called in, police collected all the proofs and placed a policeman to guard the cemetery. Church officials also visited the village on 14th May and talked to parishioners and clergy.
One of the officials, named Youhana Ishaq, field coordinator for the Faisalabad office of the National Justice and Peace Commission, brought the ease of the Pakistani Church.
According to initial findings, the vandals also desecrated the graves of two priests. On the day of the occurrence a crowd of over 200 people were attending the Sunday service in the church.
During the meeting, Fr. Bahadur repeated the need to remain calm, despite the importance of the facts. “We should stay calm and control our religious feelings,” he said, “because the police are cooperating with us and we should not protest at this stage.”
Pakistan Christian Times appeals to the government of Pakistan to investigate this occurrence, so that the religious extremist can be exposed to be the lesson for others.