Saturday, 28 June 2014

Care for Christian in Pakistan

Social evil is one of the most brutal and biggest curses to any nation which plays the vital role in the destruction of the society in any country or state. Pakistan is amongst one of those countries which are facing various disparaging social evils which have affected the law and order situation in the country, national harmony and peace.
Will I be safe today? Do I actually have the right to live freely? Can I walk on my own? These are just some questions every Pakistani asks himself every day. But as a religious minority member, I feel 200% insecure other than Sunni Muslims. There has been an unprecedented number heinous acts committed against religious minorities lately, whether it be violence, blasphemy, rape cases. Justice is still pending for countless cases in the country and the state has failed to deliver what is promised since independence – equality and justice for all. Development is not mere statistics based on only economic growth. What position does Pakistan have, when the cries of the minorities are stifled and the meek are silenced? On one hand we boast of a nation and its unity in diversity and on the other hand religious minorities has no voice of their own. They are merely shunted to the periphery for the society.
Sometimes I feel nothing can stir the consciousness of the people. We live in a materialistic era where money presides over the social issues, our own humanity. We all suffer from the ostrich syndrome. We think nothing is wrong till we start suffering. We fail to push forward the need for a change, a revolution.
September 22, 2013, witnessed the most brutal act that created ripples of protest all over the world. Twin explosions at All SaintsChurch in Peshawar killed more than 80 people and wounded over 100 others. The heinous act was strongly condemned in Pakistan and the world as well. Many houses in Joseph Colony, Lahore were set ablaze including two churches. I thought that the leaders and police would have more empathy for the sufferings of the weaker segment of the society. Finally the Supreme Court of Pakistan took Sou Moto action and the Supreme Court of Pakistan has brought smiles on the faces of the poor strata of the society.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the federal government to form a national council of minorities’ rights for protection of minority rights and ensuring religious harmony. The order further stated that those responsible for religious hate speech on social media must be brought to justice and children who face harassment at their schools because of their religious beliefs should be protected. The apex court also ordered the formation of a special force to protect of worship.
Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani ordered federal andprovincial governments to meet a quota of minorities in employments in allservices. The court asked the registrar to form a three-member bench to ensure the order is carried out. The new bench will also take up any cases related to the abuse of minorities. The said rulings were made in the detailed judgment on a suo moto case pertaining to the suicide bombing attack on a church in Peshawar in September, 2013.
Although CJ has ordered the formation of a National Council of Minority Rights but the fact is; extremism is on the rise and especially when blasphemy laws are still on the statute book. If we observe the past practice of the government, it is difficult to say whether government will take interest immediately implement the order. The past practice is minority faith groups including Christians, are frequently targeted and the misuse of the blasphemy laws in particular has been blamed for increasing inter-religious tensions across the country. And Pakistan was also named the sixth most violent place for the Christians to live by leading persecution charity Open Doors.

Pakistani Christians have welcomed the CJ orders but ground reality is totally different. We’ve viewed the past practice of the Pakistani government and society, in this situation we can only hope that after clear and cogent instruction from the CJ, Pakistani government especially during the PML-N ruling takes positive steps towards making minorities feel secure in the country. 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Christians staged protest against the killing of Christian MPA

ISLAMABAD: Christian community staged protest against the brutal killing of a minority Member Provisional Assembly (MPA) in front of National Press Club, Islamabad.
Samuel Yaqoob (Bilu) protesting in Islamabad
According to details, Samuel Yaqoob, a human right activist led a protest against the killing to the minority MPA in front of National Press Club, Islamabad. Talking to the media he said that since the PML (N) is in power, Pakistani minorities are under threat, they feel unsafe under this government.   Joseph Colony and Gojra culprits are still rooming about and now since PML (N) is ruling party and Christian MPA is killed right under the nose of Baluchistan government. He demanded the government to take necessary measures to protect Pakistani Christians. A constitution of Pakistan gives equal rights to minorities but this is not been implemented. Last time, the government announces 5% quota for religious minorities but practically it is not implemented, he added.
Handery Masih, a member of the Baluchistan Assembly, was shot dead in Quetta on Saturday. Political leaders including Khursheed Shah and Shahbaz Sharif chief minister Punjab, strongly condemned Handery’s assassination. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has earlier strongly condemned the murder and ordered the Baluchistan government to take strict action against the culprits.

It is common practice in Pakistan that commercial activities around the country came to a standstill as fear and tension gripped but since a minority MPA was killed, no major protest was observed in the country, which shows that Christian community is divided into small groups. Until they do not join hands together, they cannot achieve anything like rights and equality. 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Priest faces extreme roles

The spike in attacks against Christian’s community makes Pakistan one of the most world’s dangerous counties for religious minorities. Pastor Hanook David and his family were assaulted by some extremists in the mid night.
According to the details, a Christian priest, David and his family were sleeping in the courtyard of his house in the village Bethlehem chuck No. 2, Okara city in Province Punjab. During the midnight; five men; reportedly jumped into his house with weapons. The attackers tormented the family members, snatched the valuable material and locked them in washroom.
Bethlehem is a Christian village in district Okara, with more than eighty Christian families, work as laborer or peasants. The young villagers guard the houses during the night, luckily on the same day, the guard force watched few unknown people in the streets and heard the sob and rushed towards the pastor’s house. They gathered around the house and asked them to surrender. In the meanwhile; the villagers also wake up and called the police officials. After the few hours exercise, the villagers were able to hand them to the police. The priest told on the telephone that although the police arrested them for a while but set them free after a while. It would not be the first time the local police in Pakistan concocted a story to aid a Muslim attacker. The case was registered FIR 138/14 in Chochak police station, but the Investigation Officer (IO) Mohammad Murtaza and SHO Haji Saif al Rehman reportedly demanded bribe to precede the case.
Sohail Johnson, chairman Sharing Life Ministries Pakistan (SLMP) went there with his team and looking into the matter, said I am not surprised to hear as it is another manifestation of the extreme anti-Christian bigotry that pervades Pakistani society and culture as a whole, a state of extreme moral bankruptcy. Recently Christian MPA in Baluchistan is shot dead by his own security guard and Shahbaz Bhatti former Federal Minister for Minorities was assassinated in the capital of Pakistan but police concocted the story to aid the attackers, he added.  

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Christian MPA shot dead in provisional capital

Handery Masih, a Christian Member of the Baslochistan Assembly, was shot dead in Quetta on Saturday noon.
According to details, Handery’s personal security guard sprayed bullets on him outside his residence in Quetta. He was immediately shifted to the nearest hospital but unfortunately he could not survive. His nephew was also injured in the shooting incident. The National Party selected him as provisional assembly member on minority reserved seat in the last year May, 2013.
According to sources, Ghulam Mohi-ud-din, his security guard was arrested; however motive behind the attack could not be ascertained as yet. Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif took notice of the incident and directed the authorities to take stern action against the killer. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, speaker National Assembly, senior officials and clergy condemn the killing of the Christian member.
Sohail Johnson, chairman Sharing Life Ministries Pakistan - SLMP, Farrukh H Saif, World Vision in Progress - WVIP and Fa
Mr. Handery Masih
rrukh Saif Foundation, Sajid Ishaq, chairman Pakistan Interfaith League - PIL, Basharat Khokhar, and Christian Human rights activists around the country have condemn the incident and demanded the government to take precautionary measures to secure the minorities in the country.
Albert David, chairman Pakistan United Christian Movement – PUCM and Nazir S Bhatti, president Pakistan Christian Congress – PCC, both politicians said its government’s responsibility to ensure security of the minorities, while the officials have failed to do so. They urged the high officials to investigate the matter on urgent basis otherwise we will stage protest against the killing of the minorities in Pakistan, Albert added.

Earlier Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian Federal Minister was shot dead in Islamabad and still case is hanging on.    

Friday, 6 June 2014

Shepherd’s Staff

By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: Earlier I posted that healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand, some of us overestimate themselves. The key to an honest and accurate evaluation know the basis of our self-worth - our identity. Evaluating yourself by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause you to think too much about your worth in the eyes of others and thus miss your true values in God’s eyes.
Many Christian right activists are working in our country; some of them have vision to save Christians facing problems others are looking for Western donors and thus creating ambiguity among workforce. Even religious leadership stands in the same queue. In my college days, I was a drastic religious activist but later I found that most of religious leaders made their wealth via the very avenues they publicly condemned as being anti-environment. What I realized is that they “got theirs” but didn't want anyone else to get the same. It’s not that I now think that all these leaders are good and not harmful to the environment, but if you are going to point accusative fingers you’d better make sure the shit is cleaned from your nails first.
Bishop Dr. Ijaz Inayat 
Clergy who are members of either denomination could be subject to disciplinary measures. There are many actively involved in massive misappropriation of church properties, under various fraudulent pretexts while holding posts forming part of the pious and respected institution in Christian community but so called Bishop Sadiq Daniel from Karachi dioceses from Church of Pakistan thereby further tarnishing the image of the Christian community at large. Although it is settled principle of law that once a trust property, always a trust property; thus, no change in its status is permitted in any manner whatsoever. But this man involved in selling church properties. And finally chief of “Church Property Bachao Tehrik, Pakistan” Bishop Dr. Ijaz Inayat filed an application in Sindh High Court and luckily court considering it an urgent matter has accepted the petition and set a date for its hearing.
Christianity is still regarded as a problem and a threat by both the government and local people in the country. Christians are still being imprisoned for their faith – often constrained in shackles or stocks – and torture is endemic. The most common form of persecution involves high level pressure to abandon their faith, with sanctions commonly including forced eviction, denial of service and social exclusion. Despite all this, and due to the amazing witness of local believers, the church continues to grow.
Fanaticism, mob violence, death threats, bombings, and institutional discrimination are just some of the dangers. Christians are often denied places in schools, are forced to accept only menial jobs, and are viewed with low cast. Certainly, in this situation; we should stand against these evils in the society to save our future. They are either ordained to guard them or to sell them to thieves in few coins.