Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Threats – a juvenile prank or serious issue

Religious persecution is not the only reason which compels Pakistanis to seek asylum elsewhere. Many a time, Pakistanis are forced to flee from their country because of their affiliation or lack of the same thoughts. I always wonder was the country made only for single Muslim school of thought, who always attack on other faiths and threaten them to leave the country. No not, Pakistan is just as much a home to Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis and Shias and nobody has right to expel anyone from their homeland. However, expulsion continues to take place on gun point and many a time over the lifeless bodies of loved ones. Infect we always think that misfortune always falls on other people and somehow we always stay away from such things until the violence strikes at our home.
I see many Pakistanis are seeking asylum in foreign countries and most of them instigate violence themselves and ignite the fury of others so that they can seek political or religious asylum in foreign countries. Many Christian families are living in UK, USA, Canada and other European countries. Seeking asylum is not easy and people who say that people do it deliberately should go to see, where many asylum seekers from different countries work day in and day out to feed their families. Seeing their faces will make you understand that what they have chosen has been the lesser of two evils as a last resort. 
According to the sources, around 8000 families are seeking asylum in Thailand, Srilanka, and Malaysia. Most of the asylum seekers who leave Pakistan in hopes of a better and safer future reached destitute or have meager funds which only last for a very small period of time. Most of them have to accept odd jobs and work at less than minimum wage until their resident status is approved by the immigration authorities. But I don’t see any positive response from the authorities or UNHCR. Colombo Gazette reported that there are around 600 Pakistani Christians are currently seeking asylum in Sri Lanka. 
Basharat Khakhor visiting UNHCR office in Thailand
Many of the families have sold their houses and lost their job in hopes of a better and safer future, told Basharat Khokher after his visit to Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. According to Basharat Khokhar some Human Right Champions are involved in human trafficking on the name of asylum in different countries. He condemn this act of Human Right Organization instead being supportive they are playing with their future. He said he met with many families there and now some of them are backing to rejoin their jobs, realizing the situation and bleak future.
He mentioned Pakistan European Christian Association – PECA and few others, I tried to call on the given number and have left massage but there is no response so far.
Nazir S Bhatti, President Pakistan Christian Congress – PCC have expressed his concern over the unprecedented delay shown by UNHCR offices in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand in processing applications for thousands of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers. The PCC chief appealed to UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon that cases of the Pakistani Christians in these countries be considered on a priority bases for refugee status. He said they are living in miserable human conditions for years and have been waiting for their applications to be considered.
Refugees have no right to work legally, and it is difficult to find employment, even in the informal sector. Most urban refugees in Thailand live a precarious existence: unable to work, often unable to send their children to school, they are typically financially stressed, dependent on ad-hoc charity to survive, at risk of exploitation and constantly worried about being arrested and indefinitely detained. Most of them reached there with a genuine passport and tourist visa. They are usually exhausted most of their savings to come to Thailand. Once their tourist visas expire, under Thai law, they are considered illegal migrants. As a result, they are at constant risk of arrest and extort refugees and then release them, but arrest can also result in indefinite detention. Pakistani Christians often face harassment and discrimination in churches from the Thai community. Many were unaware how difficult conditions would be in Thailand before they came, often having been misled by “agents or people-smugglers.”
Even if refugees obtain refugee status, their chances of being resettled outside of Thailand are not high, and they face serious ongoing protection problems while they remain in Thailand.
I left their shops and homes with a very heavy heart, fervently praying that Pakistan would once again become a tolerant and progressive society where people can enjoy equal rights.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Christian marriage is covenant not sexual contract

ISLAMABAD: …at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19: 4-6
In the end of February, 2014, a section of theChristian Divorce Act 1869 has been challenged before the Lahore High Court for being “offensive and insulting” to women. The petitioner was going through a divorce and that a petition for maintenance was pending before a civil court. He said under section 10 of the Christian Divorce Act 1869 he could only divorce his wife if he accused her of adultery. He said he could not make an accusation he did not believe to be true. He claimed that the Act had existed since the colonial times, so he requested the court to declare section 10 of the Act ultra vires and in contravention of the constitution through exercise of judicial review. He claimed that in several countries, including the UK and the USA, allowed a Christian man to file for a divorce on grounds like unreasonable behavior which enabled divorce petitions to be dealt in an expeditious manner. He keeps on saying that divorces under the Act had been tarnishing the image of innocent women.
The petitioner seems Christian by faith and wanted to leave his wife for his lustful desire because the reason he mentioned that he and his wife were not happy together. He said that he also did not get along with his in-laws. In Christianity the only reason to divorce is adultery. Couples may separate but no divorce. Christ Jesus clearly teaches about divorce that “….anyone that divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulterous, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery”. Matthew 5:32 NIV
Divorce is as hurtful and destructive today as in Jesus day. God intends marriage to be a lifetime commitment (Genesis 2:24). When entering into marriage, people should never consider divorce an option for solving problems or a way out of a relationship that seems dead. In these verses, Jesus is also attacking those who purposefully abuse the marriage contract, using divorce to satisfy their lustful desire to marry someone else. Are your actions today helping your marriage growing stronger or are you tearing it apart? Jesus said that divorce is not permissible except for unfaithfulness. This does not mean that divorce should automatically occur when a spouse commits adultery. The word translated “unfaithfulness” implies a sexually immoral lifestyle, not a confessed and repented act of adultery. Those who discover that their partner has been unfaithful should first make every effort to forgive, reconcile, and restore the relationship. We are always to look for reasons to restore the marriage relationship rather than for excuses to leave it.
Once the disciples asked did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:8-9
We need to passion in the marriage relationship to keep the commitment and intimacy satisfying, but this passion should be focused exclusively on our spouse. It is clearly written, “I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment, says the Lord Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith. Malachi 2:16
Has not, God made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his; and why one? Because He seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
Divorce in these times was practiced exclusively by men. They broke faith with their wives and ignored the bonding between a husband and a wife that God instills (the two become one person), as well as his purpose for them (raising children who love the Lord, “Godly off springs”). Not only were men breaking faith with their wives, they also were ignoring the bonging relationship and spiritual purpose of being united with God.
Biblically speaking the only reason to divorce is adultery. Now the couple may separate but not divorce. The bane of Christianity in the west has been the church “accepting” divorce and allowing remarriage for other reasons. This has deteriorated the church till it is just like the world, so witness is ineffective. Proper course would be for husband and wife to talk through issues – without input from anyone else. If each truly choose and act in love for good of the other before self issues will resolve.
The court directed him to bring relevant documents before the court at the next hearing, date for which would be fixed by the registrar’s office. So I recommend better to take these documents with him, if he is sincere to his wife otherwise; he would be interested to fulfill  his lustful desires or someone working behind him for his vested interest. 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Christian couple sentence to death

On March 27, a session court in Lahore sentenced a Christian man at the heart of the controversy that triggered the riots to death for blasphemy. After a week, on April 4, 2014, session court in Toba Tak Singh announced death sentence for a Christian couple, Shafaqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kauser, accused of sending blasphemous text massages.
According to World Vision in Progress, additional session judge, Mian Amir Habib has announced the death sentence for a Christian couple accused of blasphemy case. Last year, on July 21st, 2013, a crippled Shafaqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagafta Kauser were arrested under First Investigation Report – FIR No. 407/13 under section 295-B & C, allegedly sending blasphemous text massages to the local Muslims. WVIP reported that neither the SIM card was registered with their names nor the couple was qualified enough to write these text in English. Furrakh H Saif, chief of WVIP managing the case said that the hypocrisy and the shallowness of our legal system stands exposed. As usual, the lower court has gone with the populist, Islamist stance on a sensitive blasphemy case and kicked the ball down the road to the high court. The blasphemy law will continue to bed evil Pakistan as long as they are on the statute books and local courts remain susceptible to fear of or coercion by violent extremists, he said.
In this situation we fear that Pastor Adnan and Asif Pervaiz could be other victims of our Pakistani extra judicial killing, he added.
A recent report from a US government advisory panel said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world; listing 15 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences.

In January 2014, an elderly Briton was sentenced to death for blasphemy; though his lawyers said that court failed consider “overwhelming” evidence of his mental illness.