LONDON: Pakistan High Commissioner Mohammad Nafees Zakaria hosted a Christmas event to celebrate the birth of Hazrat Isa (A.S.) or Jesus Christ on 16 December 2019. The birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was also commemorated at the event.
Lord Tariq Ahmed, FCO Minister represented the British Government at the event. Besides, Reverend Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London; Most Reverend Humphrey Sarfraz Peters, President, Bishop of Church of Pakistan & Bishop of Peshawar; a number of Christian clergymen; Muslim religious leaders; Members of the Parliament; and Members of the Christian Community of Pakistan attended the dinner.
Welcoming the guests, the High Commissioner said we have gathered here to celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ with the Christian Community of Pakistan in the UK. Mr Zakaria said Christmas is the occasion to show love, compassion and sacrifice for humanity. He added that belief in all the Prophets is among the main pillars of Islam.
The High Commissioner paid glowing tribute to the Christian community for their support to the Quaid-i-Azam during the Pakistan Movement. He also commended their services in health, education, judiciary and defence forces of Pakistan as well as in overall progress and development of Pakistan.
Mr Zakaria said all divine religions teach peace and all believers are obliged to help the oppressed and challenge the oppressor. He said it is in this spirit that he refers to the plight of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) where 08 million people are under siege since 05 August 2019, completely cut off from the outside world. On this happy occasion, let us not forget the Kashmiris, he added.
Mr Zakaria said Christmas coincides with the birth anniversary of the Founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He paid rich tributes to the Quaid-i-Azam for his vision of Pakistan with equal opportunities for all its citizens irrespective of their caste, creed or religion.
Other speakers Rt Reverend Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Hon. Lord Tariq Ahmed and Most Reverend Humphrey Sarfraz Peters shed light on the pious life and teachings of Jesus Christ. They emphasized on promoting interfaith harmony to achieve global peace. The speakers also appreciated the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam for an inclusive Pakistan.
On the occasion, the speakers recalled the Army Public School tragedy and prayed for the children. Famous British Pakistani Sufi Opera Singer Saira Peter sang popular Christmas Carols, songs to pay tribute to the Quaid-i-Azam and received thunderous applause.
First Secretary Rabia Kasuri, Priest Rana Yuab Khan and Arif Anees Malik moderated the event.
The guests appreciated High Commissioner’s gesture of celebrating Christmas with the Christian Community of Pakistan at the High Commission.