Pastor killed, another injured in ‘terrorist act’ in Pakistan – UCA News

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Religious minorities slam shooting of lay pastor William Siraj amid rise in religious intolerance

Pastor killed, another injured in ‘terrorist act’ in Pakistan – UCA News
Pastor killed, another injured in 'terrorist act' in Pakistan

The body of Pastor William Siraj at the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. (Photo: UCA News)

A Church of Pakistan lay pastor was shot dead while another was injured in Peshawar in what police are investigating as a targeted killing.

Pastor William Siraj, 70, died from a head wound in the car of Pastor Patrick Naeem, who is recovering from injuries. Both were leaving Shaheedain (martyrs) e-All Saints Church on the Ring Road following Sunday prayers in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Jan. 30. Local Christians blocked the busy road and protested the killing.

According to a police statement, two attackers were involved in the incident.Donate to UCA News with a small contribution of your choice

“It was a terrorist act. A comprehensive investigation has been launched. Officials were conducting geofencing and looking at other data. We are determined to protect minorities,” police officer Abbas Ahsan said.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has directed the police inspector general to take steps to arrest the culprits. Riaz Khan Mehsud, commissioner of Peshawar Division, visited the family of the slain pastor to offer his condolences and assured them of his complete cooperation.

Since 2016, Pastor Siraj had been serving at Shaheedain e-All Saints Church, which was erected in memory of 85 people who died in the twin suicide bombing outside All Saints Church in Peshawar. His son-in-law died in the 2013 bombing.

They must be immediately arrested to end the unrest among minorities. Such incidents hurt religious harmony and peace in Pakistan

The latest attack drew nationwide condemnation.

“We strongly condemn the firing on clergy of the Diocese of Peshawar and instant killing of Pastor William Siraj and injuring Rev Patrick Naeem earlier today. We demand justice and protection of Christians from the government of Pakistan,” Church of Pakistan president Bishop Azad Marshall stated in a Jan. 30 tweet.

Chela Ram Kewlani, Hindu chairman of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, “strongly condemned” the attack in a statement issued on Jan. 30.

“Orders have been issued for strict action against those involved in the incident. They must be immediately arrested to end the unrest among minorities. Such incidents hurt religious harmony and peace in Pakistan,” he said.Related News-Christians remember Peshawar church bombingChristians fight forced conversions in PakistanMob rule at new church angers Pakistani ChristiansAnother Sikh shot dead in Pakistan

Religious minorities in Peshawar have been frequently attacked in recent years. In September 2021, unidentified gunmen shot dead Sikh hakim (medicinal practitioner) Satnam Singh in Pakistan’s militancy-hit northwest.

Five Ahmadis have been gunned down in the last two years in the provincial capital.

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