Churches in Pakistan to Get Weapon Licenses, Defense Training

Published 15 February 2018  |  
ucanews
An Implementation Minority Rights Forum (IMRF) meeting on Jan. 26 at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, Quetta.

A provincial government in Pakistan has planned to issue weapon licenses to churches and provide special defense training for volunteers.

After the suicide bombing that killed nine worshippers in Quetta in Dec. 2017, the Balochistan government has considered issuing churches in the region with weapon licenses.

The government has donated US$239,000 to a Methodist church to compensate victims and families of the attack. Also it has notified all 41 churches in Quetta to recommend security volunteers for special training under the Civil Defense Directorate.

The plan followed a meeting between the Implementation Minority Rights Forum (IMRF) and authorities and police in Quetta last week.

"The Balochistan Home Department will issue weapon licenses in the name of the churches," IMRF Chairman Samuel Pyara told ucanews.com.

"This will further enable a special force of volunteers to assist local police when services are held. We will form a committee to monitor these developments and settle the problems of those affected," he said.

The grant should have reached the victims at the end of last year.

"The complicated government process and slow coordination between departments was a major hurdle [to the new security measure]," said Pyara.

"Neither police nor hospital authorities had submitted a list of victims or an assessment of losses to the Quetta deputy commissioner. We had to convince them to fast-track the matter," he added.

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