Students attend a rally at Church of Pakistan-run Edwardes College in Peshawar of Pakistan organized by the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sept. 30. (Photo: PTI)

Christian leaders have criticized Pakistani politicians for using Christian institutions as campaign platforms, saying it could lead to politicizing of the tiny Christian community in the country.

In the latest incident of using a Christian institution, former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party held a political rally on Sept. 30 at Edwardes College of Peshawar, the oldest Christian college in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

There have been allegations that the provincial government, run by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, pressured the college authorities to host Khan’s gathering.

The college is managed by the Peshawar Diocese of the Anglican Church of Pakistan. The college, which houses a chapel and mission house, is in the province bordering Afghanistan.

Khan, ousted by a vote of no confidence in the parliament in April, urged hundreds of students at the Edwardes College to resist the “imported and corrupt government run by thieves.”

The college has become a center of controversy as the leaders from PTI’s rival Awami National Party have announced another rally on Oct. 4.

Political observers say Khan is focusing on young people and continue to visit universities.

Last month Khan held a similar gathering at the Government College University in Lahore, but authorities later dismissed its Vice-Chancellor Asghar Zaidi. 

Church of Pakistan Moderator Bishop Azad Marshall expressed disappointment over attempts to exploit universities, particularly Christian institutions by political parties.

“Our institutions shouldn’t be involved in politics. They must only disseminate knowledge, research, culture, and education. They are not meant for state activities or mischiefs of politicians. That’s why we do not allow student unions,” Bishop Marshall told UCA News.

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