Our team in Pakistan has been focused primarily on the victims of the Peshawar suicide bombing at All Saints Church recently. Below, you will find the history of the church and some exclusive details about what has been going on there since the attacks.
History of All Saints Church:
The Rev. Worthington Jukes built all Saints Church in 1883. This church is famous for its unique architecture, which was adapted from the local mosques and makes it unique in Pakistani church history. The local Muslims of Peshawar were against the building of the Anglican Church from the beginning and attempted to stop its construction. Many Christians lost their lives building this church, which is why the Church was known as CHURCH OF MARTYRS. Sadly, many more martyrs gave their lives on September 22nd 2013.
More than 500 people gathered for Sunday service on September 22nd, with 64 children present in the Sunday school center on the church compound. The two attackers struck at the end of the service outside the church while food was being given out. Peshawar is the main town in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which has borne the brunt of a bloody Islamist insurgency in recent years.
The beautiful white-stone Church is located near the frontier tribal areas where Islamist militants have their strongholds. Hundreds of parishioners, many of them women and children, streamed out of the building, when both suicide attackers blew themselves up in the midst of the crowd. Suddenly, all the joy and happiness turned into screams and pain. The blood and pieces of flesh were everywhere; those who survived were crying and searching for their loves ones.
Mr. Khalid Shahzed, a renowned Human rights activist, was quoted as saying:
“After the blast, the local NGO’s ambulances rushed to the church and started taking the injured to the hospital. Sadly, there were no doctors or expert paramedical staff to handle the situation. Due to inexperienced staff, many people who were brought in alive died of their injuries. In the hospital, there wasn’t any emergency equipment, medicine, or any expert doctors. Not only that but the Muslim staff showed their prejudice by not even touching the bodies of the affected.”
One hundred twenty-three people died in this deadly blast and another one hundred sixty-nine people were injured. Amongst those injured there was a large number of women and children. This tragic incident resulted in the murder of many people who had been great assets to our community, to include doctors, teachers, principals, students, and government civil servants.
The Role of Christian NGO’
Many of the phony Christian NGOs played their usual role. The day after the attack they visited the church and many of the victims. There were the usual photo sessions, making of videos and writing reports with promises to help the victims. The phony NGOs performed their usual tricks and instead of helping these victims, they’re using these photo ops to raise money from the world to get donations for themselves with virtually nothing going to the victims.
Apart from us, there is only one other NGO we know for a fact that is helping people to get medical treatment as well as just one political leader of the ruling party. The rest just stand idly by with many taking advantage of the situation for their own personal gain.
The Role of the Church in Peshawar
This is the most disturbing of all and very hurtful to report. The Peshawar diocese is one of the wealthiest dioceses in Pakistan and it appears they are denying help to their own church members. Even one of the church members stated:
“When this blast took place the Presbyter in charge – Rev. Ijaz – who was present in the Church, left the compound and went to his home while people were lying dead and injured. On the Sunday of the attack, the Bishop was in Bannu. Rev. Ijaz didn’t show himself to his flock until Bishop Humphrey Peter arrived in Peshawar.”
The Local Church members also stated to us that the Bishop and his priests only officiated at the funerals of those who were personally known to them. The rest of the funerals were conducted by Pastors from other denominations, including Catholic priests and salvation army pastors who comforted the grieving.
Twenty years ago, this diocese spent millions of dollars on thousands of Afghanis in the Afghan-Russian war. They saved the lives of thousands of people but when it comes to their own people, the Church has been found wanting. Even the Mission Hospital, which is under the Diocese, didn’t have proper medical facilities for the wounded. Rescue Christians – because of the generosity of its donors – has now moved several of the victims from mission hospital to RMI hospital for expert medical care.
According to our sources, there are about 3 to 4 million rupees ($30-40,000) in the church account, as well as millions more rupees in the diocese account. None of this money so far has been appropriated to help any of the victims. This cruelty and negligence has increased the number of the deaths. According to our team, twenty people could have been saved if they had been provided the proper medical treatment.
What makes us different from Others?
Rescue Christians does not have an office located in Peshawar so it was a couple of days before we could get our team there. We worked fast to evaluate the different case histories and within next few days we started providing the medical assistance to the most seriously wounded patients. So far, we are providing medical assistance to eleven people. We have transferred them all to the best private hospitals in Peshawar. In Pakistan, this treatment would be regarded as very expensive but in USA terms it’s quite inexpensive but still in the multiple thousands of dollars. This week alone, we have sent about $15,000 to Pakistan for this emergency aid. If you have not donated yet please do what you can as we expect to have to send much more over in the coming weeks.