Church leaders condemn targetted attack on priests in Peshawar

The leadership of the Church of Pakistan has strongly condemned the targeted attack on two priests in Peshawar in which one was killed and the other injured as they were driving home from Sunday mass.

Lay leader William Siraj, 75, was shot multiple times and died instantly in the ambush in the Gulbahar neighborhood, while Reverend Naeem Patrick was treated briefly in hospital for a gunshot wound to the hand. A third priest in the car was unharmed in the attack carried out by two persons riding a motorcycle.

In a press statement, Anglican Church of Pakistan’s Moderator/President Bishop Dr Azad Marshall condemned the attack and demanded immediate arrest of the shooters. 

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the targeted attack on our church leaders. We demand immediate arrest of the assailants and protection for our community members,” he said.

Bishop Marshall stated that there has been a spate of terror attacks in the country since the Pakistani Taliban ended a ceasefire with the government last month.

“This resurgence of terrorism must be contained immediately before the situation gets out of hand.

We have complete faith in our security forces and we expect the government will do everything within its means to ensure the security of all citizens and worship places,” he said.

CoP’s Bishop of Peshawar Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters, in a statement, condemned the attack, saying it aimed to harm interfaith harmony.

“We did not receive any terror alert from the security agencies. The priests were returning from the Sunday mass at the All Saints Church Ring Road parish when they were ambushed. We demand the arrest of the assailants and security for our community members,” he said.

Bishops of Karachi, Multan, Hyderabad and Sialkot also condemned the murderous attack and demanded justice for the deceased’s family.

A memorial service for the deceased William Siraj will be held on Monday at All Saint’s Church in Peshawar.

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