Abbottabad authorities reverse decision to force church closures
Authorities in Abbottabad, north-west Pakistan, have reversed a decision to force the closure of six house churches for “security reasons”.
Following alleged security threats, local officials ordered the house churches to close in mid-January, leading to protests from Christians.
Arshad Nayer, a local pastor said, “Instead of providing security for the said churches, the administration has found it convenient to shut them down.”
Earlier this week, the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province overturned the decision to force the closure of the churches and Christian leaders stated they had received verbal assurances that they would be allowed to resume meeting.
The administratively separate Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan became a Taliban stronghold following the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Violence in the province has reduced in recent years but Christians have been targeted on multiple occasions.
A suicide bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar claimed the lives of 127 Christians in 2013.