News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

pakistan security guards.jpg banner.jpg
Photo Credit: ACN
World News

Pakistan: Security volunteers guarding churches, preparing for possible Easter terror attacks

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian volunteer security guards in Pakistan are preparing to defend their churches in the run-up to Easter, a time when Christian communities around the world face a heightened threat of terrorist attack.

With world-wide concern peaking in the wake of last week's Palm Sunday suicide bomb at a cathedral in Indonesia, William Arif Khan, who heads up a team of security volunteers in Lahore, stressed the need for extra vigilance. 

Mr Khan, in charge of 15 security volunteers at Lahore's Sacred Heart Cathedral, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN): "For the past 12 years, I have been leading young men dedicated to support the 12 security guards stationed at the cathedral. 

"We don't expect any rewards… All of them are on the job and dedicate their holiday to the Church."

He added: "The volunteers are equipped with metal detectors. The police have allowed us to keep some licensed weapons on church premises; but mostly either my deputy or I are armed with a pistol."

Mr Khan said: "Everybody is afraid of the terrorists. But we stand for the One who protects us all. Our faith tells us that God won't let us down. 

"Therefore, we perform our duties with complete passion and avoid negative thinking. At least 25 policemen, including two women officials, are deployed for Masses.

"Walk-through gates and snipers are used to provide security for the Masses. Senior police officers, including the inspector general of the Punjab police, also make surprise appearances at these special Masses.

"We are also planning to add a few female volunteers to check the women's purses…"

On Easter Sunday 2016, a suicide bomb was set off in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park of Lahore, killing 72 people, many of them Christian women and children celebrating. 

In 2017, a teenage girl was captured in a military raid on a Daesh (ISIS) cell in Lahore, who then confessed she was due to carry out a suicide attack on a church in the city over Easter.  

On Palm Sunday this year, two suicide bombers attacked the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, Indonesia, injuring 20 and killing themselves in the process. 

On Easter Sunday 2019 in Sri Lanka, three churches and three luxury hotels were targeted by suicide bombers, killing more than 320 and injuring 500.

Mr Khan explained that the security arrangements are decided at the highest levels of both the Church and the police.

He said: "Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore usually honours senior police officials for providing security at event masses. Security arrangements have strengthened Church ties with local police."

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email