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Lahore, Pakistan:

Akash Bashir, 19, a past pupil of the Salesian technical school located in the predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Yuhannabad, was a member of the volunteer force that provided security at the Catholic Church on Sundays.

On the fateful day, he was among those who tried to stop the terrorists from entering the church. His sacrifice saved hundreds.

Bashir, the father of deceased, said that Akash had always aspired to be a great man. “His mother once asked him to stop standing at the church’s gate. He replied that he wanted to make people safer and did not care for his own life,” Bashir said. He said that Akash and his sacrifice should be remembered.

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  • ceteratolle 2015.03.17 23:26

    May his soul rest in peace

  • vaclav 2015.03.18 00:12

    (ANS – Lahore) – The heroic guard who last Sunday in Lahore prevented a suicide attacker from the Jamaat ul Ahrar group from entering a crowded St John’s Catholic Church was named Akash Bashir. Akash was a past pupil of the Salesian technical school located in the predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Yuhannabad. He caught hold of his assailant, using his body as a shield. Akash lost his life and saved the lives of many other people.

    His identity was confirmed today 17 March as the story of what happened gradually became clear. Akash Bashir was standing together with another security guard at the door of the church, checking those who entered. The suicide bomber approached the entrance and tried violently to get past the two young guards. When Akash stopped him he noticed the explosives hidden under his jacket. Akash grabbed hold of the attacker and the lower part of his body was blown off in the explosion.

    Thanks to his courageous action the death toll was much lower than was intended by the assailant.

    Meanwhile the climate of violence and insecurity in the city has not lessened. Yesterday, after the funeral, some demonstrations degenerated into manifestations of violence, by groups of emotionally charged young people. Savage violence and vandalism in the streets were halted by special force soldiers of the so-called Rangers.

    These violent demonstrations are now making the situation of Christians even more precarious. This morning, 17 March, a large group of armed Muslims, urged on by loudspeakers from the nearby mosques, entered the Christian village and occupied the main street.  The government military forces managed to stop them before they came into contact with the Christian group that had gathered on the opposite side.

    The Salesian school will be closed until security can be guaranteed.  Today some young people cannot even return to their homes, because of continuing unrest and violence in the streets.

    "As a Christian minority there are times when our only hope is in God and His Mother, Mary" say the Salesians in Lahore.

    Published 17/03/2015

  • vaclav 2015.03.19 06:45
    10,000 Pakistani Christians Mourn Terror Victims at Ecumenical Funeral Celebration
    Catholics, Protestant and Muslims Join Together in Solidarity and Prayer

    By Staff Reporter

    ROME, March 18, 2015 ( - Over 10,000 Catholic and Protestant faithful took part in an ecumenical funeral celebration for the victims of Sunday's terror attacks in Lahore.

    Fourteen people were killed and over 70 wounded when two suicide bombers carried out an attack on the Catholic Church of St. John and the Protestant Christ Church, in Youhanabad, a Christian suburb on the outskirts of the city.

    A Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings.

    Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore addressed the faithful, calling on them to not give into anger.

    "We do not need and do not want a civil war. We Christians are people of peace. Do not let the pain cloud our eyes. What future do we want to build for Pakistan? A future of harmony and reconciliation," he said.

    The ecumenical celebration was "celebrated as a sign of profound communion. Also present were representatives of civil authorities as well as Muslim leaders who were present as a sign of solidarity with Christians.

    In an interview with Fides News Agency, Archbishop Shaw stressed that violence "is not the right path" and highlighted the importance of being people of peace despite the tragic circumstances facing Christians in Pakistan.

    "Christians today want peace and security. As Pakistani citizens, we ask the government security and protection, in order to live in harmony and to help build a just, peaceful and fraternal nation."

  • vaclav 2015.03.19 06:53

    TV 2000 - short TV report after the funeral of the victims

    17 dead and 82 wounded.

  • vaclav 2015.04.11 01:55

    Salesian Missions (New Rochelle)

    (MissionNewswire) On March 15, a suicide bomber killed 17 and wounded 78, including two Salesian students, in attacks against Christian churches in Lahore, Pakistan. The attacks occurred in quick succession outside Catholic and Protestant churches in Youhanabad, one of Pakistan’s biggest Christian neighborhoods.

    The Salesian Don Bosco Technical Institute for Boys in Lahore has been closed for security reasons since the incident. The two Salesian students were wounded as they passed in front of St. John’s Catholic Church, one of the two churches targeted in the attacks. Upon hearing the news, Salesian teachers went to the site and were able to accompany the injured students to the hospital where they are recovering. Akash Bashir, a security guard who was killed in the attack, was a former student of the Don Bosco Technical Institute for Boys. His heroic actions saved many lives by preventing the suicide bomber from entering St. John’s Church.

    “Salesian missionaries provide education and social programs in more than 130 countries around the globe and often do so in challenging circumstances,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “While this recent bombing serves as a reminder to our Salesian family in the region to be vigilant about security, the importance of education and reaching poor and marginalized youth in these communities remains in the forefront.”

    The Don Bosco Technical Institute for Boys provides trade education to mainly Christian students with some Muslim students attending as well. The institute started in 2000 with just 10 students and has grown to serve over a hundred boys aged 15 to 22 years. More than 80 percent of the students live in hostels on the school’s campus and are provided room and board and educational materials. Many students had previously dropped out of traditional schools before accessing services at the institute.

    During 15 years of operation the institute has expanded educational courses to provide two-year automotive, electrical, metalwork and air conditioning and refrigeration programs. The institute graduates fully trained men to respond to Pakistan’s annual need for 1 million skilled workers in local industries and is registered with the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA). TEVTA is Pakistan’s biggest network of polytechnic and vocational-training institutions.

    “Education and skills training is very important for youth to have an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and go on to lead productive lives,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Students who are able to gain employable skills and find livable wage employment become self-sufficient and are more willing to contribute back to their families and communities.”

    According to the World Bank, more than 60 percent of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line. The United Nations Development Program’s 2013 Human Development Index ranked Pakistan 146 out of 187 participating nations. The index is a comparative measure of literacy, life expectancy, standards of living and education for countries around the world. Poverty in Pakistan differs from one province to another with the greatest levels of poverty in rural areas, especially isolated and scattered communities found in mountainous regions throughout the country. More than 30 percent of Pakistani children under the age of five are underweight and suffer from malnutrition and the literacy rate for youth age 15 to 24 is 71 percent.



    ANS – Pakistan – Salesian students injured in attacks in Lahore

    New York Times – Suicide Attacks on Pakistan Churches Kills 15

    Vatican Radio – Don Bosco past pupil sacrifices life to save others in Pakistan church attack

    Salesian Province of Chennai – Akash Bashir, Don Bosco Past Pupil, Hero who stopped suicide bombers

    World Bank – Pakistan

    - See more at:

  • vaclav 2016.03.17 00:57

    Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - At what stage are the investigations into the attacks that a year ago marred two Christian churches in Lahore? On the first anniversary of the explosion in front of the Catholic church of St. John and Christ's Church (Anglican), which took place on March 15, 2015 in Youhanabad, Lahore district, civil society organizations and Churches in Pakistan are asking the authorities to do justice on the massacre that caused about 80 victims.
    In a note sent to Fides, the NGO "Christian Solidarity Worldwide" (CSW) notes that "while the government in Punjab arrested nearly 100 young Christians suspected of lynching following the attacks" - two alleged accomplices of the terrorists were killed by the crowd – but there was not the same preassure in pursuing the organizers of the attacks. "The police carried out raids in Youhanabad illegally detaining many innocent" say CSW, but on the first anniversary of the attacks on churches "no one has yet been held to account for this crime".
    The attacks in Lahore have once again raised the issue of security of churches and Christian institutions in the country. "Religious minorities in Pakistan – say CSW - face widespread social and institutional discrimination, as well as threats and violence, fueled by religious hatred spread by influential leaders who openly incite violence against non-Muslim minorities. This situation is aggravated by impunity".
    Civil society urges the government to implement the recommendations contained in a ruling by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2014, asking to set up a special task force for minorities, to take measures to curb hate speech and to develop appropriate study programs that promote religious and social tolerance. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 16/03/2016)

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