LAHORE: Members of the Christian community celebrated the annual festival of Christmas to mark the birth of Jesus Christ with enthusiasm, fervour and devotion across the city on Wednesday.
The day dawned with special prayers and rituals at scores of churches in the provincial capital.
The main prayer services were held at Cathedral Church, Eternal Church, Saint Merry Church, LDA quarters and Kot Lakhpat prison.
Thousands of people participated in the services and prayed for the solidarity and prosperity of the country.
In line with the ongoing wave of sectarianism in the country, especially after the terrorist attacks on the Christian community, they condemned such attacks and urged the government to ensure protection to members of the minority community in their motherland, like other citizens. Charismas cakes were also cut on the occasion.
Many bakeries around the city had prepared special cakes, pastries, biscuits and other food items in connection with Christmas. The community members were seen visiting at bakeries to buy cakes and other food items for their families, friends and other guests.
The members also illuminated their homes, buildings and churches with colourful lights, bunting, baubles and traditional stars.
They also visited their friends and family members to greet each other on the occasion. A large number of them also greeted their guests while serving them special homemade sweets, cakes and other food items.
Beautifully decorated Christmas trees, the main attraction of the day, were displayed at the houses. A good number of people from the Christian community were also seen visiting the zoo, Safari Park, Jallo Park and other public places in the city to enjoy on the day.
Meanwhile, strict security measures were ensured for the protection of the community, and more than 3,000 police personnel were deputed in ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ categories at various churches around the city.
According to police sources, churches in ‘A’ category were considered highly sensitive and were provided a good number of security personnel, especially installed walkthrough gates and CCTV cameras. People at these churches were allowed to go inside after frisking and strict checking with metal detectors. The churches in ‘B’ category were considered relatively less sensitive and a lesser number of security personnel were provided to them, while the churches in ‘C’ category were considered normal and a small number of security men were deputed there to control the situation and avert any mishap during the Charismas celebrations.
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also felicitated the Christian community on the occasion.
PTI Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhry, Gen Secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid and Secretary Information Andleeb Abbas also wished the Christian community on the occasion. They said that all prophets are example of humanity and justice, and on the birthday of Jesus Christ, his teachings of sacrifice and brotherhood are examples for the people belonging to all religions.
They said that on the occasion they would like to assure the Christian community that the PTI would stand by it on all occasions.
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