|We Have Family in Pakistan
Attack on Lebanon continues to draw concern
LAHORE, Pakistan (UCAN)
August 19,2006 -- Church people in eastern Pakistan have conducted
a special prayer service for those suffering in the war-torn Middle
Caritas Pakistan's National Commission for Human Development conducted
Aug. 10 a "Special Prayer Service for Peace in the Middle East"
at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Lahore, 270 kilometers southeast of
Islamabad. Some 80 laypeople, more than 30 nuns and representatives
of various organizations attended.
Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, chairperson of Caritas Pakistan,
and Capuchin Father Abid Habib, regional coordinator for the Pakistan
major Religious superiors' Justice and Peace Commission, led the
service, at which people meditated and prayed in silence for peace
in the Middle East. Caritas is the local Church's organization for
Addressing the gathering, Bishop Coutts condemned the killing of
innocent people in the name of religion, saying that "misuse
of religion has affected humanity a lot." Father Habib pointed
out that only "the light of God can save the world plunged
in darkness of hatred." Anila Jacqueline Gill, Caritas Pakistan's
executive secretary, prayed for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle
East and other parts of the world experiencing conflict.
The bishop and a Caritas board member lit a peace candle, from
which others lit their candles, reciting Saint Francis of Assisi's
Earlier, Ambassadors of Love, Arts and Peace, a Christian NGO,
organized a "Night for Peace" July 29 at the Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan Hall in Lahore. More than 120 people from
various religions and organizations were present.
Father James Channan, director of the Pastoral
Institute in Multan, 630 kilometers south of Islamabad, denounced
the "acts of barbarism and terrorism" by the Israeli assault
that killed civilians in Lebanon.
The Dominican priest pointed out that founders and saints of different
religions always played "a pioneering role to promote harmony
in society." He added that peace building "is a continuous
According to Abid Hassan Manto, a Muslim lawyer and official of
the Pakistan-India People's Forum for Peace and Democracy, the forces
of hatred and war have nothing to do with religion or faith. The
people's forum was founded in 1994 to promote peace, harmony and
good relations between India and Pakistan.
Tanveer Jahan, director of the Democratic Commission for Human
Development, an organization working for human rights education
in Pakistan, agreed. "A peace campaign should focus on humanity
rather than on individual religious identity," she suggested.
Her commission also condemned the Israeli assault on Lebanese civilians
in its July 31 press statement. Expressing anguish, Waseem Anthony,
the commission's executive director and a Catholic, decried violence
as "no way to resolve disputes." He denounced the killing
of civilian men, women and children by Israeli forces as "a
Israel invaded Lebanon five weeks ago in a bid to crush Hezbollah
(party of God), a Lebanese Shiite Islamic group, after a July 12
attack in which the group bombed border villages and outposts, killing
eight Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. The Israeli campaign
in southern Lebanon has claimed 1,300 lives, most of the dead being
Media reports say a United Nations Security Council-brokered
truce that began Aug. 14 is still holding despite some untoward
incidents. Israel reportedly plans to withdraw and turn over some
of its forward positions to U.N. troops within 10 days.
Father James Channan, director of the Pastoral Institute in Multan,
630 kilometers south of Islamabad, denounced the "acts of barbarism
and terrorism" by the Israeli assault that killed civilians in
Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief,
development and social service organizations working to build a better
world, especially for the poor and oppressed, in over 200 countries
and territories. Caritas works without regard to creed, race, gender,
or ethnicity, and is one of the world’s largest humanitarian