Pakistani imam treats patients in Catholic cathedral

Interfaith event in Lahore aimed at breaking down misconceptions that lead to religious intolerance
Pakistani imam treats patients in Catholic cathedral

Doctors conduct free medical checks at Lahore's Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 24. (Photo by Kamran Chaudhry/

More than 100 parishioners of Lahore's Sacred Heart Cathedral were treated at a free medical camp organized by an imam.

Qari Abdul Qayyum Zaheer, a televangelist, and his team of four doctors offered full body check-ups and food supplements at the health camp at St. Victoria's Nursery in the cathedral compound on June 24. Awareness sessions on the health effects of extreme heat and climate change were also conducted. 

"We only charged 350 rupees (US$2.88) for a test of body organs and vitamins. That's one third the cost of an ordinary medical test in a private hospital. Sunstroke, dehydration and gastrointestinal infections were common among the visitors," Zaheer told

The U.N. World Meteorological Organization has confirmed that the hottest April temperature ever witnessed on earth was recorded at Nawabshah, a southern district of Sindh province, where the mercury reached a scorching 50.2C (122.4F). Media reports say 65 people have died due to the heat wave in Karachi.

Zaheer, the national coordinator of Alliance in Motion, a nutritional and dietary supplement company, has conducted 15 medical camps in mosques and madrassas this year. A similar health camp was held in a Protestant church last month.

"Muslim organizations hold relief camps in Christian settlements only after disasters or mob attacks. We reached out to them in the spirit of humanity. Misconceptions about other communities are the main reason behind religious intolerance," Zaheer said.

Father Inayat Bernard, rector of the cathedral, thanked the cleric for extending support to worshippers.

"We always support interfaith initiatives. The poor need relief amid unscheduled power cuts and increasing temperatures. We are focusing on both medical assistance and healing prayers by visiting priests to serve the dedicated parishioners who continue coming to the church despite the heat wave," he said.

"The group was pleased by the good response. Another camp is scheduled in August during the monsoon season."

Father Bernard opened the health camp with prayers at the entrance of St. Victoria's Nursery. Qari Zaheer also recited verses from the Quran.

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