10/15/2018, 11.11
PAKISTAN
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Punjab, the first provincial Christian hospital is born

by Kamran Chaudhry

The Good Shepherd Christian Hospital will be inaugurated early next year. The nearest public hospital is Lahore, 95 km away. The Christian cross is visible on the façade.

Qila Natha Singh (AsiaNews) - A Christian hospital, in a village named after a Sikh, populated by a majority of Muslim faithful. They are the "ingredients" of religious coexistence in which Good Shepherd Christian Hospital is located, the first hospital by a Pakistani Christian in the province of Punjab.

The inauguration in the village of Qila Natha Singh is scheduled for early next year. Meanwhile, on 13 October the local community organized a prayer of thanksgiving, attended by more than 500 people, mostly children and pupils of the catechism.

The hospital was founded in 2017 on the private initiative of Pastor Saleem Massey. Funding for the two-story building comes mostly from the fundraising carried out by his two sons, who currently live in the United States. The Reverend is a psychologist and has worked for 16 years at United Christian Hospital in Lahore. He explains that it would be much more "profitable" to build the hospital in Lahore, the second most populous city in the country, but the choice fell on Qila Natha Singh "because we want to serve the most oppressed".

Muhammad Akram owns a gas pump in front of the hospital and welcomes the project with enthusiasm. He hopes he can attract new customers. He also reports: "In an emergency we are forced to bring the sick to the General Hospital of Lahore, 95 km away. The nearby Kasur hospital can only accommodate patients with general disorders. The hospital will be a blessing also for the population of neighboring villages ".

Triq Gill, member of the Punjab Assembly, supports the initiative of Christians and states: "A similar project increases trust in the silent minority. The cross of 10 feet [about three meters, ed], positioned on the facade of the new hospital, will give a sense of pride and will be the testimony of Christianity on the main road".

Muhammad Akram points out that in large cities religious extremist groups usually oppose the crosses placed in plain sight on the city's arteries. "In the city of Karachi many oppose the 140-foot cross [over 42 meters], the highest cross in all of Asia. In any case, our faith is not complete if we do not believe in the prophet Isa (Jesus)".

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