Rawalpindi: 13 year old Christian kidnapped during mass

» 08/30/2011 11:38
PAKISTAN

by Jibran Khan
For two days there has been no news of Daniel Sharoon. Security cameras and witnesses saw him enter the building, then all trace was lost. The family asks for prayers for his release. The police find no useful clues. In Faisalabad Koranic students attack a 64 year old Christian maid.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – A 13 year old Christian from the Chak district of Layyah, Punjab province, disappeared on August 28. The suspicion is that he has been kidnapped, while listening to mass in the local Catholic Church in Rawalpindi. One priest reported the disappearance to the police, but so far officials have found no trace leading to the whereabouts of the boy. Meanwhile in Faisalabad, a woman aged 64 was attacked by a group of students from an Islamic religious school, because she organized prayer meetings in a district with a Muslim majority. In this regard, a Catholic priest invites Protestants not to “create problems for themselves” with acts that may be deemed provocative.

13 year-old Daniel Sharoon, had been living for the past six months with his sister next to the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi. Last Sunday the boy – as usual – went to the local Catholic church to attend mass with his family. Daniel’s father John told AsiaNews that “my son came to church with us, but at the end of the ceremony was gone. We looked everywhere – he adds – but not even the guards in charge of security have seen him or noticed suspicious people wandering in the area. ”

Fr. Anwar Pastras, a priest of the Diocese of Rawalpindi, condemned the kidnapping of Sharoon, which he calls “a very strange” because “we have installed CCTV cameras” along the perimeter of the building and “we saw the boy enter, but we did not see him leave”. The priest explains that “there were no policemen at the entrances and exits” of the church, but “only our security personnel.” “We think – said Father Pastras – he was been kidnapped in the church. ” The priest reported the episode to the New Town police station, officers opened an investigation, but so far have no useful leads.

The family is in shock and fears for his fate, his parents have asked for prayers for his return home safe and sound. The phenomenon of kidnapping Christian boys and girls is not an isolated: in March 2010 only 12 children have disappeared from the churches in the district of Kohat and from the Khyber PukhtunKhawa province.

In a second incident, which occurred in Faisalabad (still in Punjab), a group of students from a local madrassa attacked Sakeena Bibi, a 64 year-old Christian maid. The woman had invited a few Christians from the area to pray at her home, located in an area with a Muslim majority, sparking the ire of the Koranic students. The family was forced to leave the area. While condemning the episode of intolerance, Fr. Javed Masih of Faisalabad diocese said that ” but the protestant groups are creating problems from themselves by starting the mushroom Churches in the Muslim colonies.” The priest adds that “the rest of the family has fled the city fearing life threats”.

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