A Catholic bishop of Pakistan has expressed concern over the confrontation between Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir and wishes the leaders of both the nuclear-armed nations take on the path of dialogue to save humanity.
“Atomic weapons will never be needed or used if world leaders remain firm in their commitment to build global peace,” Arch-bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore said, during a ceremony to commemorate the historic meeting between St Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil of Egypt, 800 years ago in Egypt 1219.
The ceremony took place amidst high tensions between India and Pakistan, particularly over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Recalling that both countries have nuclear weapons, Archbishop Shah urged Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Imran Khan of Pakistan to “choose the path of dialogue to establish peace and save humanity.”
The ceremony, held in St Mary’s Catholic Church, was organized by Fr Francis Nadeem, the custodian of Mariam Saddeeqa run by which is under the Capuchin Friars Minor of Pakistan. “Today we celebrate the 800th anniversary of the meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt Al-Kamil. We promise to become means of peace in our society, just as these two great men of history have shown us the way of dialogue,” Fr Nadeem said.
The celebration started by ringing peace bells, an act of unity and solidarity with the international community of Europe. Archbishop Shah who returned from Belgium said that on the Feast of St Francis on 4 October at 2 p.m., peace bells would be rung in 40 countries of the world. He thus urged that all the priests and faithful ring the church bells for peace.