Pakistan Forgets Too Easily The Sacrifices Of Christian Heroes In Resisting Terrorist Attacks

Pakistan Forgets Too Easily The Sacrifices Of Christian Heroes In Resisting Terrorist Attacks
They say being a martyr is an honour bestowed to few who carry the ability to acknowledge something beyond the vision of their own life. They have an innate potential to dedicate themselves to a certain and specific cause, whether it be religion or nation. Martyrs have the passion of surrendering and yielding their entire beings for the sake of the cause they believe in.

However, if you snip away the very title of martyrdom, you would undermine the very cause of someone’s surrender to death. Isn’t it a brutal trade of fate how someone willingly embraced death, and nobody dared to acknowledge their very sacrifice? This brutal trade of fate is a common practice in Pakistan. There is a common practice to disregard a community’s existence and its contributions.

Two main churches in Lahore were attacked simultaneously by suicide bombers on 15, March 2015, yet both the suicide bombers were halted at the gates. Both the suicide bombers were met with resistance in both the churches. In the Catholic church, Akash Bashir leaped upon the suicide bomber and at the age of 21 embraced martyrdom. He deliberately enveloped the suicide bomber in his arms and burst into splinters with the explosion along with the suicide bomber. Akash sacrificed his life in order to protect all those who were still begging God for redemption.

Similarly, we witnessed the same picture of audacity and valour in Christ Church Youhanabad, where Obaid Sardar was discerned as a fighter against the suicide bomber. He distinguished himself by attacking the bomber with perfectly sounding slaps, forcing the man off the premises of the church compound. Obaid Sardar father of Anjelica, married to Ambreen Sardar (who was pregnant at that time) embraced martyrdom in hopes that he would save the congregation inside the sanctuary of God. Obaid deliberately attacked the devil carrying the vessel to demolish the house of God. Without a care in the world, Obaid laid his life on the line for the sake of his community. Obaid, Ambreen and their unborn child turned into splinters of flesh and shattered into mere pieces due to the attack by the bomber. Through a sacrifice paved by three lives, the people sitting within the premises of the house of God got a safe exit.
A very common accusation that I have encountered over the years as a Christian is: “How dare you complain about your loss after the APS attack?”

There are certain names that are registered to our memory in relation to the twin blasts of 2015. The name of Akash Bashir lies on top of the list, being honoured with the title of Servant of God by the Vatican.

The aftermath and trauma from those attacks is something that Christians in Pakistan still carry within themselves as souvenirs of fate. Youhanabad turned into a living graveyard after that blast and the people never received a word of condolence or acknowledgment from government officials. The victims of the blast and the martyrs of the blast were feebly disregarded by the government.

The extent of this disregard is evident in the fact that Akash Bashir isn’t still acknowledged as a martyr in his own homeland. Obaid Sardar also remains a forgotten martyr, who gave his life for the community, yet his tale is remembered by few, even in the minds of his own community.

Just to draw a contrast, the brave Aitzaz Hasan was honoured with Sitara-e-Shujaat (posthumous) for preventing a suicide bomber attack on his school. He died as a martyr for the Pakistani public. Yet Obaid Sardar, Akash Bashir and Zahid Goga were not even adorned with the title of martyr by the public, let alone the state.

Fate is a deliberately cruel affair for Christians in Pakistan. One sometimes wonders if fate itself is prejudiced towards Christians in Pakistan.

Shantinagar was turned to a heap of ashes, Gojra was singed to debris of ashes, Joseph Colony was consumed by flames, Kot Radha Kishan witnessed a couple that was obliterated, the Quetta blast wrecked the very house of God into a slaughter house laced with sliced and minced flesh of believers of a lesser God, the Gulshan park bombing on Easter Sunday left many within the whirlpool of misery in between the adventurous rides, a Faisalabad church surrendered to the very melody of gunshots, the twin blasts that descended upon the inhabitants of Youhanabad as a perpetual misery for the next five years and the Okara church that was deliberately silenced by a swarming mob.

All these reported incidents of persecution, along with many other unreported cases of injustice – yet not a single adorned martyr or hero is acknowledged from all these incidents.

A very common accusation that I have encountered over the years as a Christian is: “How dare you complain about your loss after the APS attack?”

What a brutal way to disregard the loss experienced by minorities. Such a ridiculous contrast to humiliate the believers of a lesser God. Yet such are the ideal criteria of a national tragedy in the eyes of the citizens of Pakistan – and we don’t fit that. For us, the ideal way is, apparently, to discredit the pain, suffering and sorrow experienced by the minorities.

Perhaps for being acknowledged by the citizens and authorities of Pakistan, the basic criteria are to be part of the majority religion and sect.