Akash Bashir, Pakistani Bosconian Martyr
Lahore, Pakistan – The General Councilor for the Salesian Missions, Fr Guillermo Basañes, SDB, recently visited our Salesian communities from August 24th to 30th, 2019 in Quetta and Lahore. He came in behalf of the Rector Major. Part of his animation visit is to follow-up the cause of Bosconian martyr, Akash Bashir (+ March 15, 2015) in Youhannabad parish of the Archdiocese of Lahore.
During these days Fr. Basañes has been able to visit the two Salesian houses we have in Pakistan: Quetta, in the border with Afghanistan; and Lahore in the border with India. In a special way he was able to have courtesy meetings with Bishop of Quetta, Mons.Victor (OMI); and with Archbishop Sebastian (OFM) of Lahore.
Fr Guillermo personally greeted the family of Akash Bashir, the 20-year-old Past Pupil of Don Bosco Lahore, who died on March 15th, 2015 while serving as a security guard in St. John’s Parish, Youhanabbad, Lahore. Akash gave his life in martyrdom that day by preventing a man with explosives from immolating himself inside the parish where hundreds of people were celebrating the Palm Sunday Mass. To avoid the impact of the blast, Akash bravely hugged the terrorist and died saving the lives of all those who were praying inside the church .
Fr. Guillermo Basañes dedicated the afternoon of his last day of visit in Lahore to talk with Bashir family. He personally hand them a statue of Mary Help of Christians sent from Turin from the Rector Major Don Angel Fernández, as a sign of respect and appreciation for the life and martyrdom of Akash Bashir. The family received the statuette and blessings of Don Angel with great joy.
The Missions Councilor was also able to visit St. John’s Parish and the exact location of the martyrdom of the young Salesian ex-pupil. He also visited the monument dedicated to his martyrdom and finally prayed at his tomb.
The Salesians in Pakistan, united with Fr Angel Fernandez Artime, gave thanks for Akash Bashir’s life and witness because he does not only represent our Salesian past pupils, but also the youth of religious minorities in Muslim countries. His martyrdom and heroism are a pride for the Pakistani Catholic community and Salesians as well.
Fr. Basañes has also devoted much of his time to talking and listening to the six Salesian confreres who live in Pakistan: three Pakistani confreres: Fr. Noble, Fr. Samy and Br. Faraz. Three missionaries confreres: Fr Joel and Br Alex form Philippines, Fr. Gabriel From Mexico.
He celebrated the Eucharist with our children and young people in the boarding schools and offered the Good morning talks to all our students and staff. He gave a conference with our seven candidates and the new group of three Salesian Cooperators. It has been a precious time for our Salesian and missionary vocation improvement.
/ Fr. Gabriel Cruz, SDB, Salesian missionary to Pakistan