KARACHI - Turning the religious occasion into a political event, Pakistan's Christians have used Easter prayers to pray for a capable government to bring about peace and stability to the south Asian Muslim country.
On this Easter, we pray to the Almighty God to grant wisdom to our people to elect a capable and honest leadership, which could take us forward rather than plunging the country into further debacles, Denial Bhatti, who teaches English at a missionary school in Karachi, told OnIslam.net.
Pakistani Christians celebrated Easter, which is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, on Sunday, March 31.
People belonging to any faith want and pray for an honest and competent prime minister this year, Bhatti, a father of three and a regular churchgoer, said.
So does the Christian community, especially in an environment when our beloved country is plagued by terrorism, intolerance, and corruption.
Pakistani voters are scheduled to elect a new parliament next month.
Christian community like other communities in the country will fully participate in the upcoming elections along with our Muslim and Hindu brothers in a bid to play its role in election of a corruption-free leadership, Bhatti said.
He opines that a stricter government will be able to bring about peace in the country.
When I am praying for a capable and honest chief executive of the country, that means I am praying for my own children whom I would love to leave in a peaceful atmosphere where all the faiths and communities can live in peace.
Anger has been growing among Pakistan's Christians over attacks against their community in the Asian country.
Last month, hundreds of Christians took to the streets across Pakistan to demand better protection after a Christian neighborhood was torched in Lahore over a blasphemy row.
Being the largest minority group, Christians make up 3 percent of total 190 million population of Pakistan.
A majority of Christians belong to the low-income bracket and settle in Punjab, the country's largest province, and the southern port city of Karachi.
They are mainly involved in sanitary work, teaching, and nursing profession.
Despite the attacks, Christians say that they generally live in peace with Muslims in Pakistan.
A majority of Muslims have no issues with Christians or any other community here, Samuel Guddu, a local photographer, told OnIslam.net.
They are like our brothers, our benefactors, and in many cases our defenders if something unjust is committed against us.
It's a very small misguided minority which not only target minorities, but Muslims as well on the basis of their beliefs, Guddu said.
But, this can be handled through rule of law, and good administration.
Unfortunately, the previous prime ministers have disappointed us. That's why we have prayed for a good, honest, and strict leadership on the occasion of our Eid (Easter).
Khurram Lal Dean, a male-nurse by profession, recalls the old days when he would celebrate Christmas, Easter and other festivals with a sense of security and peace.
Gone are those days, Khurram observed.
Let me admit that the situation was 200 percent better during the era of military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq, who is often blamed for fomenting religious extremism in the country.
Now, not only Christians, but Muslims and Hindus too celebrate their festivals under tight security, which is result of poor governance, he said.
If governance is improved, rule of law is followed, honest and God-fearing rulers are elected, then there will be no hurdle in return of old days.If we get a God-fearing prime minister this time, that would be the gift of Easter I believe.