Straying from the plan: Two padres booked for not securing churches

Police say measures do not comply with National Action Plan


Ramzan Seemab June 28, 2015
Police said it was standard procedure to inspect security arrangements. PHOTO: AFP

DI KHAN: Padres of two churches in the cantonment area of DI Khan were booked for not taking security measures in accordance with the National Action Plan (NAP).

Cantt SHO Minhaj Sikandar Baloch said security arrangements were inspected in those areas which are considered highly sensitive or potential soft targets for terrorists on the directives of the DPO.

“The churches were unregistered,” Baloch told The Express Tribune. “We handed a series of warnings and recommendations to their administrations almost six months ago.”



However, the officer claimed the church authorities did not take the matter seriously.

Read: 14 dead, 75 injured in attack on Lahore's Christian community

“It is imperative to follow the rules under the NAP,” Baloch said. “However, the church seemed reluctant despite several reminders. Who will be responsible if there is a terrorist attack on these churches and there are inadequate measures in place?” said Baloch.

There are between 200 and 300 people at Sunday service in these churches located in Madinabad. They are managed by padres Vicky Wilson and Richard George – both of whom were booked by the police.

A resident of the area said the church had its own security mechanism.

Read: Lahore church attacks: Christians hold protests, demand protection

“The government should provide us security,” he said. “Unfortunately, we are being punished for not securing ourselves”. He requested anonymity as he feared a backlash from local authorities.

On the other hand, police said it was standard procedure to inspect security arrangements. They added that it was not only churches, but also NADRA office, a bank and other shops and buildings which were asked to follow standard operating procedure for their own security.

Both padres could not be reached for their comments.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.

 

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