Seeking for Peace Place
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: According to PCP reports, Pakistani Christian refugees gathered in Ayana Hotel, Bangkok and appealed UNHCR to provide them humanitarian aid according to UN Charter. The gathering was organized by the Urdu Church in Hands of God, headed by Pastor Papa Thongchai. They demanded US and EU to open their doors for persecuted Pakistani Christian refugees as they provide human rights to Muslims refugees in other countries. The PCP chief urged UNHCR and IRC to provide humanitarian aid to Pakistani Christian refugees in Thailand, Srilanka and Hong Kong and expedite hearing of their asylum cases according to timeframe of refugee commission charter. Unsurprisingly, Pakistan’s Christians see themselves as victims of religious persecution. Some speak dramatically of Christian genocide. Shia Hazaras are fleeing Balochistan, and same as Ahmadis. This is very unfortunate that Christian countries like Australia and others EU welcoming Hazaras and Ahmadis but they have closed their doors for Pakistani Christians. Australia has reportedly granted resident visas to 10, 000 Hazara families in 2014 only but they are not ready to grant visa to any Pakistani Christian.
Pakistan has around 180 million people and there are around 20 million Christians. Though there is no census for many years but local churches and other organizations estimated this figure. The percentage of the Pakistan population is a bit difficult to pin down. BBC claim 1.6 % in 2013, Gatestone Institute lists 3% in 2014 and PCP quotes more than 10% of the total. Majority of them are poor and living in the slum areas and outskirts of the cities. Christians are the minority in Pakistan in which overwhelmingly the Muslims majority treats the minority as barely tolerable pariah. Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians. The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbor. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbor is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity. Unfortunately Muslims not only in Pakistan but all around the world do not tolerate or accept other faith. The problem is Muslims want equal rights where they are in minority and they have it in EU and USA but they are not ready to deliver where they are in power.
There is another issue within Christian community in Pakistan. Mostly living below poverty line and there are few running non-profit organizations and earning handsome funds through different channels. But it is seen during the last decade that most of them are wasting those funds to achieve their personal goals. Like in politics, many of them are depositing heavy funds in political parties, like Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League - PML - N, PML-Q, APML, MQM, JUI and JI. Most recently human right activist from the capital reportedly has spent heavy funds to gain Senator Ship from his parent party, getting his vote registration from the capital to KPK but couldn't manage to reach to the interview even. He has reportedly dropped huge funds to party for his personal gain. Earlier many others have wasted money for Provisional and National Assembly seats. Now many are planning to sit in with Muslim political parties. This action must be discouraged.
Basharat Khokhar worked hard to save the lives of 18 Christian’s blasphemy accused in the capital including two pastors. Before the Christmas celebrations last year, Pastor Arif Peera and 6 other Christian and 11 other Christians were accused of blasphemy under FIR – 596/14 under section 295-B, 6/7ATA and FIR – 888/14 under section 295-B, 354, 452, 148 and 149 were registered respectively. With the cooperation of the local administration, Basharat Khokhar has been able to set free the blasphemy accused. One thing is to remember, this man of God, don’t running any NGO and not asking for donations from national and international donors but doing his work to save the skin of Christians of the country. On the other hand there are many, collecting millions of the dollars but on ground work is zero. But they are so much active on facebook and other social media. Let’s think seriously and stop welcoming these hypocrites.Since President Musharaf regime, electoral system for minorities is turned to selection instead election. The electoral system for minorities is proportional while for majority it is democratic. This is another kind of discrimination towards minorities of the country. Many minority representatives have requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to restore the separate election and duel vote rights. This is already been adapted to Kashmiries living in the country. These kinds of actions from time to time by the government have created insecurity among minorities of the country. Recently on Jan 30, Feb 13 and Feb 18, three suicide bombers have targeted three Shia mosques, where many shias were killed and injured. The government said it will issue gun licenses for worshiper defenders. Razor wire, security guards, and gun licenses cannot assure the safety of the Shia, Christian, Hindu and Ahmadi. Most important is to educate the upcoming generations of the country. All faiths are entitled to equal respect, legal rights and privileges otherwise the things will remain same.