Contributors: Nadeem Anthony
An article by Nadeem Anthony published by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Even no one knows about the sunrise of September 22, 2013 could be the last morning and last sunset of those Christian men, women and children, unjustly lost their lives in deadly suicide blast at the All Saints Church, Kohati Gate Peshawar, the capital city of Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa-Pakistan. The Attack on Church was an act of cowardly resulted violence that brutally targeted innocent Christians. My heart bleeds with pain and agony in what I view as the most atrocious form of suicidal killing attempts. It is the country’s responsibility to protect its’ citizens and tackle with the militancy and extremism. Each and every heart that has little bit of humanity is bleeding on this extremely barbaric and shocking act of violence and heartlessness. Pakistan is not only for Muslims, this country is for Pakistanis and Christian community is true Pakistanis as they have delivered a lot to and for this motherland.

The All Saints Church, Kohati Gate, Peshawar was established in 1883 and is the second oldest church in Peshawar city. The congregation of the Church of Pakistan, running the whole affairs of All Saints Church Kohati Gate Peshawar and their representative Pastor Ijaz Gill (vicar of All Saints Church, Peshawar dioceses Church of Pakistan) is the Church In-charge. Around 500 Christian families are residing in the surroundings of the All Saints Church Peshawar. The Christian residents are poor & marginalized and professionally associated with the Municipality City District Government Peshawar. In other words mostly Christian’s men women are sanitary workers, laborers in construction work, teachers, nurses, doctors etc.

The suicide attack on a church in Peshawar was all of sudden and when I entered in Peshawar I was totally scared and was frightened because the atmosphere surrounding All Saints Church was quiet and was full of sorrow and grief. After a moment a minaret of the All Saints Church add-on a Cross on the top was front of me and I was dumbfounded that how the neighboring Muslim brethren disregard their fellow citizens and let the suicide bombers allowed, ruining to the peace, harmony between Christian and Muslim residents of Kohati Gate, Peshawar.

While I was just near to the entrance of assassinated church two young boys just crossed and I requested them to stop and share something about the massacre. Both informed about the deaths of their real brothers and sisters. When I was chatting, both boys fluently narrating the whole incident courageously and I was astonished that even a single tear was not came out from their eyes and it appears on me that their tears has been desiccated in their eyes and no worries, sorrows, grief and mourning I found in their eyes.

It was daring from their side and the moment I entered in the church compound I witnessed the whole scene and noticed pool of bloods on the floor of the church compound as well as found different parts of burnt and small pieces of human flesh in the compound. According to parishioners near about 400 hundred Christians were gathered in the Church compound and one of the Christian family arranged thanksgiving food for the worshipers. Unexpectedly, one of the suicide bombers blown himself among the Christian worshipers and while the fire and smoke was sprinkled in the Church compound and no one can see each other clearly. While the victims were trying to get hold on the situation the second suicide bomber also blew himself among the innocent Christians. While I was in the church compound I found many ball barring from the exact place where suicide bombers blown themselves.

The suicide attack resulted above 100 casualties on the spot and likely over 200 hundred sustained severe injuries. The eyewitnesses as well as the survived Christians that they saw burnt dead bodies of the worshipers including children, men and women. Many bodies were burnt badly and lost their identities; several body parts were cut out and spread out in the whole compound and even stuck-up paste on the Church walls. The blast shots, ball bearings scratched the all front part of the church. It was also noticed that pool of bloods lying on the floor as well as found different burnt parts of human body in the compound. Different parts of human bodies were widened on the rooftops of neighbors. It was terrible for me when I saw a cat holding a small hand in her mouth rapidly crossed and gone hide.

I lost my senses because shadows of fears and uncertainties were started appearing on me and I made up my mind that may be the visitation in Peshawar will be my last journey. I was totally helpless and was unable to ask even a single question to sufferers gathered in the church compound. I immediately called at home and started conversation with my wife and informed about whole heartbreaking inhuman incident of slaughter of innocent Christians. I was emotional because I was feared and accepted that this time the Peshawar visit will be my last journey. I started advising my wife please take care of yourself and the kids. She was surprised and started crying and requesting me, be brave and take care the injured and their relatives.

Soon after the church blast large number of Christian Community members reached to Lady Reading Hospital, Complex Hospital, Hayat Sher Pao Teaching Hospital for searching their loved ones. I was informed that near about 81 bodies were received by the different hospitals located in the city and in which large number of dead bodies received by the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. When I visited Lady Reading Hospital I was sad and painfully noticed that the hospital administration was not behaving the victims sincerely. The victims’ attendant’s also informed that on the day of incident only two or three doctors along with trainee nurses were called for emergency duty. Many critically injured could be saving from harm or protected but many victims died just lack of emergency medical treatment.

It was pity that the victims and their relatives were not provided appropriate medical treatment to the church blast victims neither assisting them professionally and appropriately. Many victims’ relatives also informed that the hospital management put their loved ones in coffin boxes without knowing that their relative has dead or still surviving. When the dead bodies were taken to the graveyard for burial two critically injured cried from the coffin box that they are alive.


In the hospital I found near about dozens of Christian women lying on the beds in critical condition and immediately needed appropriate medical treatment as many of victim intensely and deeply need proper medical care. Women and children sustained critical injures on their legs, arms and chest and their injuries turned red and blue. They all were in trauma and their eyes were full of sorrows and fears. Many injured sustained severe injuries on their vital parts, fractured of bones and the gunshots punctured their lungs. I also noticed that the small children, men, women painfully suffering through burn injuries and the swelling of whole body after the high pressure of bomb explosives.

I also met with families of the martyrs and have no words to express on the one of deadliest assaults in years on Pakistan’s history and against the Christians in Pakistan. Violence in the name of religion has been on the rise in Pakistan which has claimed thousands of lives in the recent past. No religion allows such barbaric attacks and heinous terrorist act on worshippers at the historic All Saints Church, Kohati Gate Peshawar-Pakistan. I am sorry to share that during my visit in the Lady Reading Hospital there were about two injured who died due to ignorance of doctors and inability to purchase the medicines. At present the injured purchasing their medicines from bazaar and secondly the hospital management enforcedly is discharging those still suffering through gunshots injuries while the gunshots still remained in their bodies.

I also noticed that all most all Christians even not able to buy proper medicines and immediately need grocery items to run their kitchen, proper life saving medicines to survive, transportation to move one place to other and other relevant practical needs and arrangements. It was so hard to console them in this awful situation by words only. It is vivid pictures to everyone that if the injured persons do not get proper treatment and diet it will so hard for them to survive. What I am suggesting the critically injured immediately need proper medical care and they must be shifted in the private hospitals. I also visited Wazir Bagh graveyard and noticed that many relatives were present in the graveyard.

I noticed many victims were suffering through gun shots and their injures turned into blue and black color and giving the impression radish and swelled, everyone was suffering with great pains and were not satisfied for medical treatment. I have seen the mixed impressions in their eyes complaints and hope for living. It was so hard for me to see the people in great hopelessness.

The Christians expressed their concerns and staged protest demonstration all over Pakistan. The Christian demonstrators chanted slogans and condemned on the government’s failure to provide appropriate security to the Christians and their churches.

My sad and painful profound and deep heart-felt condolences on the barbaric carnage for the martyred and heartfelt sympathies with the injured Christians.

The AHRC is not responsible for the views shared in this article, which do not necessarily reflect its own.

About the Author:
Nadeem Anthony is an Advocate of the High Court and an activist for peace and religious freedom.

Document ID :AHRC-ETC-034-2013
Countries : Pakistan
Date : 04-10-2013