London: (By Hannah Chowdhry) A Pastor who has travelling home after leading a church service at Church in Peshawar was shot dead in an attack on Sunday 30th January 2022.
A pastoral assistant who was also shot in the same attack survived with minor injuries and was treated in Lady Reading Hospital, before being discharged. This is the same hospital that treated victims of the twin suicide bombing in Peshawar in 2013 (click here).
Gunmen killed a Christian vicar and wounded another as the clergymen drove home from church in Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar on Sunday. Police said:
Two attackers on a motorcycle opened fire on the car on the city’s ring-road, killing Pastor William Siraj (75 yrs) instantly, officers added.
Pastor William Siraj had completed his service at All Saints Church, part of the Church of Pakistan Diocese of Peshawar (The Church of Pakistan, is a union of protestant churches including the Methodists and the Anglicans) and was driving home with his pastoral assistant Pastor Patrick Naeem.
Pastor William was shot twice in the abdomen and the wounds proved to much, as he died from painful trauma and excessive bleeding. Pastor Patrick was rescued from his vehicle and taken to Lady Reading Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and then discharged later the same day.
The shooting occurred near Ring Road in the city’s Gulbahar area, and many protestors gathered later the same day in anger of another targeted attack on Christians.
Pastor Siraj’s body was later handed over to his family after an autopsy and police inspection of the crime scene.
Emergency services staff were filmed by Pakistan’s media as the removed the pastor from his bullet-ridden vehicle. While they wheeled the pastors dead body through the streets to his family home Christians from the community chanted “Long live Jesus Christ” in an act of defiance against the perpetrators of this brutal act of terrorism.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, condemned the attack, she said:
“This attack has hurt our community, Christians mourn the loss of a faithful servant of God, who today meets with his Father in Heaven.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.”
“The attack was designed to intimidate and create fear in our community, yet it had done nothing but draw us closer to our God, he is our protector and hope for eternal peace.
“As our dead brother was wheeled to his home, his congregation boldly sang out ‘long live Jesus ‘.
“Pastor William’s greatest testimony has been displayed in the strength of conviction of those he led.
“What was meant to have cowed our community has resulted in even more glory for the God we serve.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tweeted. “As we mark Candlemas today, we pray for the light of Christ’s justice, hope and peace for our sisters and brothers in the Church of Pakistan.”
A candlelight vigil was held for the two Pastors as Christians show solidarity and pray for peace.
BACA officers will be in Peshawar today as they share condolences with the family of Pastor William and meet Pastor Naeem. We will make an offer to cover the funeral costs and medical costs for the two pastors.