Ray of hope for Pakistan

Santa comes to Joseph Colony

Short piece, moving pictures

by Ammar Shareef, from Dawn.com

In March 2013, an angry mob of more than three thousand people stormed Joseph Colony – a Lahore locality with an overwhelmingly Christian population – and set more than 100 homes on fire.

Lahore police stood by as the inflamed crowd torched the humble homes, admittedly avoiding clashes. Despite the outrage the incident sparked, the government took little real action. Twenty-one months later, the ghosts of Joseph Colony still haunt the Christians living in Pakistan.

A number of individuals have since sprung into action to try to make up for the senseless violence, and, in however small measures, undo the tragic wrong.

For the second year in a row, an anonymous donor managed the distribution of Christmas gifts to children of the colony’s Christian community. Distributing cricket bats, badminton rackets and colouring books among children is certainly no compensation for what happened in March last year, but it did manage to spread some smiles on the faces of the kids.

To celebrate your biggest festival in a decidedly hostile environment — no child deserves that. And it should not have been this way. We should have put an end to the madness once and for all. We should have undone every single thing that led to that situation to ensure it didn’t occur again.

But we didn’t. And it did occur, again.

And now it seems that all our children stand terrified in the midst of a menace they had nothing to do with.

Explore: Remembering Peshawar: A sombre Christmas for some

As I captured the endearing smiles of these children, I was overwhelmed with conflicting feelings: pure joy and terrible guilt.

The guilt will stay, but for a few, dear moments, let us get into the Christmas spirit and partake in the simple joys of these children.

Merry Christmas!

Ammar Shareef is a photographer based in Lahore. He can be reached at ammar.shareef@afterhoursgroup.net

http://www.dawn.com/news/1152898/santa-comes-to-joseph-colony

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4 comments

  1. Azam,This is the finest mail that I have recd. I am so happy that someone has thought about it. Wish it was me.Bro you can always suggest to me if you want to do something for someon here. I will be a call away. Realy these pics are moving.RegardsQRS

    Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2014 09:18:24 +0000 To: qrs.94@hotmail.com

    Like

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