(Lahore) – “It is a moment of joy to be here with all of you, people of the Christian community, at the Lahore railway station, to inaugurate the ‘Christmas Peace Pray Train’ with the slogan: ‘Pray for Pakistan’. It is our duty to protect the rights of all people from religious minorities who work on the railways of Pakistan. Wishing you all the happiness on the occasion of the Christmas season, I am also grateful for your presence: you represent not only the Christians of Pakistan, but also the Pakistani Railways. I hope and pray that this train is a symbol of unity, peace and harmony throughout its journey to Karachi and throughout Pakistan”: these are the words of Azam Khan Swati, Minister of Transport and Railways of Pakistan, when inaugurating the “Christmas Peace Pray Train”, a special convoy that, during the Christmas period, runs through the main stations of the country, bringing a message of peace, harmony and peaceful coexistence.
Minister Azam Khan Swati also said: “The objective of this initiative is to share the joy of Christmas with our Christian community in Pakistan and to strengthen harmony and peace between different religions. Let us work and pray that all religious communities in Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, may progress towards development, prosperity, stability and peace in Pakistan”.
The Minister added: “I believe and hope that a time will soon come when the minority religious communities living in Pakistan will be more prosperous and will be able to enjoy the full right to live in peace and dignity”.
The special train departed on December 17 from Lahore railway station and reached Karachi. Thirty-six Pastors and Christian leaders, belonging to various denominations, along with other members of their Churches traveled singing Christmas carols, psalms and praying continuously for prosperity, peace and harmony in Pakistan.
Pastor Jamil Nasir, head of the Pentecostal Church in Pakistan, told Fides: “It is the first time that our faithful publicly prayed in railway stations, singing hymns to praise God. It was a source of great joy to see the presence of our Muslim brothers, active in supporting us. Our community not not only prayed on the train, but also in all the stations where this train stopped”.
Speaking to Fides, Pastor Suleman Manzoor, of the Christian organization “Rapha International Mission”, the main organizer of the special train, said: “It was our dream to be able to organize a Christmas train, to proclaim the Christmas message of peace across the country, praying for Pakistan and invoking God’s blessings for our beloved homeland. We are grateful to God for having blessed this initiative: let’s move forward with the conviction that prayer will bring blessings to nations, leaders and our country and peace in Pakistan”.