Pakistani Doctor Whose Selfie With Pope Francis Went Viral Is To Become A Catholic Priest

Pakistani Doctor Whose Selfie With Pope Francis Went Viral Is To Become A Catholic Priest

A Pakistani Christian doctor whose selfie with Pope Francis went viral is to train to be a priest.

Daniel Bashir, a 26-year-old Karachi, told AFP that he took the selfie with the pope during a youth conference at the Vatican last month.

He presented Francis with an ajrak shawl, a traditional garment from Sindh province, and the two posed for the picture in which the pontiff can be seen with the gift draped around his shoulders and grinning broadly.

My heart is full of happiness,’ Bashir wrote as a caption to the image on Facebook.

‘He was very happy to see the ajrak… I also met him personally later and gifted him a blanket,’ Bashir told AFP. The pope then told him that he ‘daily prays for peace in Pakistan’, Bashir added.

Bashir added that he and the pontiff also spoke of the treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan, where Muslims make up more than 90 per cent of the population.

Christians account for an estimated two per cent of Pakistan’s more than 200 million people, and have long faced persecution there. Four Christians were shot dead in an attack claimed by Islamic State in the south-western city of Quetta on April 3, just after Easter. And an ISIS suicide bombing at a church days before Christmas last year killed eight.

I consider myself safe in Karachi but it is painful to see the incidents with Christians and minorities,’ Bashir said. ‘Minorities are oppressed too much and with this reference my heart aches.’

Bashir’s encounter with the pope impressed him so much that instead of specialising in neurosurgery, as he had planned, he now wants to serve the church.

He said: ‘I will present myself to become a priest and join a seminary in June.’

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