LAHORE, Pakistan (CNS) — Unidentified gunmen opened fire on policemen guarding a Catholic church, police officials said.
Asif Khan, a local township police officer, confirmed the March 24 attack outside of St. Peter Church in the southern Pakistani city, reported the Asian Catholic news portal ucanews.com.
“Two masked men riding a motorbike fired on policemen who were deployed outside the church,” Khan said. “Police retaliated, after which the assailants sped away.”
Two passersby were injured in the crossfire, but no other injuries were reported, Khan said, adding that police had obtained closed circuit television footage from the church and have launched an investigation.
Local media reported that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed police to submit a report of the incident.
Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, said he was aware of the incident and that no church or school staff were injured in the attack.
Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a Christian rights activist and lawyer, condemned the attack.
“It is unbelievable how militants fired at the church guards and managed to flee,” Gill said. “We urge the government to beef up security at churches.”
He added that twin suicide bombings in Lahore earlier in March had created a sense of fear and insecurity within the Christian minority community.
The bombings, which left 14 dead and more than 70 others injured, also sparked riots in which two men thought to be associated with the bombers were beaten to death in a rare display of violence on the part of Christians in Pakistan.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103