The Christmas service organised at the Pakistan Association Dubai on Thursday by the National Apostolic International Church Dubai included carol singing and prayers. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 450 Pakistani Christians gathered in Dubai on Thursday evening for a special Christmas dinner celebration and offered prayers for the UAE, peace in the region, and comfort to those who are grieving.

The National Apostolic International Church Dubai held a Christmas service at the Pakistan Association Dubai on Thursday ahead of Christmas day, complete with singing of carols and prayer offerings.

Syed Javed Hassan, Pakistan Consul-General of Dubai, was present along with other senior consulate officials.

Rev John Qadir, who is also a district evangelist, led the service and said the objective of the celebration is to pray for and promote peace.

“The main purpose of this event is to pray for the UAE and pray for peace in this world. We are thankful to the UAE leaders for allowing us to practise our faith in the UAE and giving us land to build our church. We Christians feel very safe here because of the full security [accorded to all faiths here],” Rev Qadir told Gulf News.

Rev Qadir reminded all Pakistani Christians in the UAE to reflect on the message of Jesus Christ in their daily lives, especially this Christmas.

“Share your love with others and stay peaceful wherever you are. pray for the UAE government and also love your neighbour as yourself,” Rev Qadir said.

He urged residents to respect and abide by the laws of the land. He also asked residents to pray for continued strong relations between the UAE and Pakistan.

During the ceremony, Rev Qadir said the congregation also remembered to pray for people trapped in the crossfire, and those who are victimised by people with evil intent particularly in the southwestern city of Quetta in Pakistan.

Two suicide bombers attacked a church during a pre-Christmas service in Quetta that killed nine people and wounded more than 50 people last week.

“We also prayed for the people who died in the suicide attack in the church in Quetta. We remembered them and those brothers and sisters who lost their lives this year in wars and suicide attacks,” he said.