By Robin Gomes
A delegation of the Catholic bishops and leaders of Pakistan met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday and expressed the concerns and issues of the Christians of the country. They also handed the prime ministers a contribution in efforts to developing the country’s water reserves.
Bishop Benny Mario Travas of Multan, Secretary-General of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC) told the Vatican’s Fides news agency that the prime minister who welcomed the delegation in his office in the capital, Islamabad, expressed appreciation for the good work of the Church for the development of Pakistan.
Responding to the concerns regarding the Christian community in the country, he said, Imran Khan reiterated the government's commitment to making every effort possible to meet the challenges that minority communities face.
PCBC President, Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad-Rawalpindi handed the Prime Minister a cheque of 5,650,000 Pakistani Rupees (about 32,470 Euros) as a contribution to a fund for developing the Diamer-Bhasha and Mahmand dams.
The bishops decided in November 2018 to raise funds to support the water reservoir initiative launched by the then president of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar. He had set up this specific fund for the two dams. The initiative was supported by Imran Khan who, after becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan, continued with the commitment to build these large water reserves in Pakistan.
Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad explained to Fides that the bishops had written to their faithful asking them to raise funds to help the government’s initiative. What the bishops offered to the prime minister is the result of the generosity of the faithful.
Environment, climate change
Bishop Shukardin said, "Every year we see the effects of climate change and intense heat during summer.” “We suffer from water shortages and other related crises,” he noted. “We Bishops felt the need to support this cause and we took the initiative to encourage our priests and faithful to contribute generously."
The Catholic Church of Pakistan is made up of the six dioceses of Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Multan and the Vicariate Apostolic of Quetta.
The Bishop explained that the Church is already at the service of the country providing quality education and health care services through colleges, schools, hospitals and social works. In recent years, he said, they also have contributed to the protection of the environment, combatting global warming and raising awareness among the people about using water responsibly and conserving it.
Bishop Shukardin said each diocese works to protect the environment, in collaboration with government offices in their respective territories. Throughout Pakistan, Christians have helped plant over 10 million trees through Caritas Pakistan, the social arm of the Catholic Church in Pakistan.
The Catholic Church is with the government and institutions also in improving the country’s water reserves, for the common good. (Source: Fides)