Tensions continue in the border state after Jammu and Kashmir loses its special status. Christians, Hindus and Baha'is call for peace and pray Indian Prime Minister Modi abandon the idea of war.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – Mgr Sebastian Shaw, archbishop of Lahore, released a video message saying that Pakistan's religious minorities are "praying for the people of Indian Kashmir".
The prelate was reacting to the decision by the Indian government to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomy, which sparked renewed tensions between India and Pakistan.
The Pakistani archbishop says: “We have been viewing and listening to the frightening news about Kashmir. The Modi Government in India has intervened and made life difficult for the people and given new impetus to terrorism whilst taking away their rights.”
For Bishop Shaw, "war is not the solution. If someone is into intoxication war, he destroys himself, his nation, and loses the lives of people and the country's economy."
At the end of the video, the prelate urges people "to pray for the Kashmir issue, so that it may be resolved peacefully".
Yesterday, various groups representing Pakistan’s religious minorities held a rally in front of the Karachi Press Club, such as the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue of the local Archdiocese and the Interfaith Commission for Peace and Harmony. In addition to Christians, there were also Hindus and Baha'is.
On this occasion, Fr Saleh Diego, vicar general of the archdiocese and director of the National Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference, said that “all Pakistani minorities demand peace in Kashmir and ask the United Nations to take a serious stand over this issue and let the Kashmiri people live in peace and harmony.”
For Allama Muhammad Ahsan Siddiqui, chief executive of the Interfaith Commission, "Islam preaches peace, brotherhood and harmony. Islam strictly prohibits bloodshed and chaos.”
At the same time, he condemned India's constant denial of the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.