Sunday, 29 November 2015

Elimination of Violence/persecution against Religious Minorities

Elimination of Violence/persecution against Religious Minorities
Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: There was an International conference in Islamabad on 24-25 November, 2015, to create interfaith harmony and better interaction with religious minorities of the country. It was just public show for the vested interest of close relative of the Federal Minister Sardar Yousaf and some other people. Practically the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has shutdown the role of Ministry of Interfaith Harmony and religious minorities has been facing same kind of discrimination. Locally people see so little solidarity and harmony but religious extremist with a specific mind set continues to violate basic human rights with impunity. For the past weeks, we saw the continued horrific, religious rights violated daily. I just returned from Distt Faisalabad where a Christian school girl, Sara, 8, has faced tortured and was locked for an hour or so by her head teacher for using toilet which is meant to use by Muslims only. Though this matter was raised in the Senate by the Senator Sharry Rehman and Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani has ordered the inquiry on this issue but there is no result. Local Christian family is pressurized to compromise with the education department. And this issue was dumped to death. Force conversion, kidnapped and rape of minorities women is on and nobody bother to look into this matter. Unfortunately some of Christian representatives are busy to present win- win situation to the west for their vested interests.
Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, chairman Pakistan Minority Alliance (PMA) has raised the issues facing minorities. Addressing to the conference Tahir Naveed Chaudhry said that to create better interaction between different religions of the country, government should stop discriminatory behavior towards religious minorities and should provide them living rights. Force conversion should stop, minority seats in the parliament house should be increased according to the population, there should be transparent and fair census, abuse and misuse of blasphemy law should end, discriminatory material in text books should be banned. He said that discrimination in the legislation shows the dual face of the country, when Article 25 protect the rights of all citizen of the country but article 41 restrict the minority members to become president, and 18th amendments has barred them to be the prime minister of Pakistan. Pakistan must stop its discriminatory behavior.
New Year can lessen the trouble from the previous year for the Pakistani minorities if government takes necessary measures to protect minorities. We are witness to the year-round occurrence and continue to an alarming degree of the violence against the Christians of the countries. Persecution against minorities is not only blasphemy allegations but is an attack on their bodily integrity and their dignity. Police brutality towards minorities is no secret. There are number of cases been reported the suspicious deaths of Christians without police custody. Lack of interest towards complaints by the Christians minority has created a recognized level of impunity that exacerbates the situation in the country. Political influence on judiciary and police has extended the forms and ways to violence and discrimination against Christian minority. Most recently, in the capital, Islamabad, PML-N sitting parliamentarian reportedly has used its power to grab land of Pak Development Foundation ® (PDF) of 1.2 acre, where PDF is running vocational institute as well. The local land grabber with the help of PML-N parliamentarian registered a First Investigation Report (FIR) -134/15, at Police Station (PS) Banni Gala, Islamabad against PDF management and Basharat Khokhar, chief Coordinator United Church Council Islamabad (UCCI).
On the other hand the refusal by police officers to even register an FIR in most cases raised by Christians, illustrate that western nation assessment of “sufficiency of protection are flawed at best – yet the big sponsors i.e Britain, the European Union and the US the current status quo will continue or reach a nadir. The West is busy in bringing Legislative amendments to enable speedy return of asylum seekers to their home country. Benefits for asylum seekers have been reduced and rules for family immigration are tightened.

People across the globe simply have to challenge their politicians to intervene on behalf of Pakistani Christians or eventually this attrition will lead the eradication of Christian in Pakistan.   We need to place an emphasis on the universality of violence against religious minorities in Pakistan, the multiplicity of its forms and the ways in which violence, discrimination against minorities, and the broader system of domination based on subordination and inequality are inter-related. The value of interfaith harmony is that it serves as a time of analysis of the issue and then of re-dedication to take both short-term and longer-range measures.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Global massacre and its root cause

Global massacre and its root cause
Shamim Masih

ISLAMABAD: After the recent Paris, attack, I had a chance to speak on TV live show on Roze TV, “Debate with Nasir”. I was among the three panelists, one political analyst Jan Achakzi and another was a journalist. Unfortunately instead of criticizing those attacks in Paris and this type of terror activities in the world, those two were arguing in the favor of terrorist and giving reasons.

Since I am writing, my struggle is against this mind set, it is not a matter or fight against Islam or its terrorist organization like Al-Qaida, Taliban, ISIS, Laskher-e-Tiybba, Jeshe-e-Mohammad, etc etc. we are fighting against the mind set and its proclamation. Though it is said that every Muslim is not terrorist and not directly involves in these organizations but most of them are having the same mind set. We are witness to many incident/persecution against minorities in the country. In Pakistan the discriminatory activities against the marginalized portion of the society clearly shows the mindset of the Islamic proclamation.  
Since 9/11 attacks in USA there is series of attacks in different areas and subsequently attacks on the bases of those organizations in the world. Many of the people give baseless excuses but forget that in every act tool is from the Muslim faith. I want to ask them why Muslims are involve in these type of activities around the world, in Philistine, Kashmir, some African countries, Middle East and other parts of the world. (Genesis 16:11-12) European and American have to think before doing any humanitarian activity for Muslims like taking in these Syrian and Egyptian refugees. Muslims are enjoying every single right in the name of humanity but not ready to give liberty to other religion in their countries. They (Muslims) go and preach Islam in other country but don’t allow to read Bible in Saudi Arabia.  
courtesy Front Line

We have seen this practice and one Muslim religious scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi endorsed and given the solid root cause of these terrorist activities. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi said that the root cause of terrorism that is being committed by some Muslims today is the religious thought which is being preached in the Muslim medressahs and being propagated through their political movements. Almost every single medressah and religious scholar is teaching the four main doctrines of their religious thought. They may not be doing it publicly, but they are doing it nevertheless – they surely are!

First: polytheism, kufar, or apostasy (someone abandons Islam) committed anywhere in the world, they are all punishable by death and we have the right to implement this punishment.

Secondly: they preach is that non-Muslims were born to be subjugated. None other than Muslims have the right to govern. And if there is someone ruling, every non-Muslim government is illegitimate. We shall overthrow any such government whenever we have the capacity.

The third teaching is that all the Muslims of the world should be under the rule of a single Islamic government that is called The Caliphate. Their independent, states have no legitimacy.

The fourth doctrine is that the modern nation state is the form of kufer and there is no room in Islam for it.

These are the four basic tenets of current religious thought. Pakistani government and its citizens should confront the current religious thought, this religious narrative.
It is to appreciate that the education system of the religious seminaries (medressahs) violates humans’ rights.  Any specialized education in any discipline cannot be forced onto a child. It is the right, very basic right, of every child to have twelve years of broad based education. Thereafter, he may choose to become a scholar or a scientist. Every Muslim religious seminaries work on the principle of transforming a 5-7 years old child into a religious scholar. No one has the right to do this; or to force them to become a doctor or an engineer.

After a broad based education of 12 years, they many choose to become whatever they may wish to. This practice must be abandoned. For this to take effect the civil society must prepare itself and people must educate themselves.

The Muslims government must be pressurized not to allow any institution to take students for specialization before twelve years of broad based education. Or we need to draw a line before any humanitarian activities.  

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Fighting with words against Judas Iscariots of today

Fighting with words against
Judas Iscariots of today

Shamim Masih

ISLAMABAD: Few days back, I saw tent outside the National Press Club, Islamabad, there a Christian couple with children has converted to Islam and was looking for financial help. The newly converted Muslim family has posted a written request that asked help from President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chief Justice of Pakistan and Malik Riaz (a real estate tycoon). This is not the first time that such incident happened, earlier many families have displaced the same banners and many of my colleagues are witness to it.

Though the data is not available but I guess around 95% Pakistani Christians are living under below poverty line rather situation much worse in remote areas as Christians are living in bounded slavery. Long ago before Indo-Pak partition when missionaries came here and preached Christianity, majority from poor class converted to Christianity certainly it happened due to the love and economic support by the missionaries. Missionaries established educational institutions and health care centers in this region. When Pakistan came into being in 1947, history is witness to it that there were some Christians sitting on the top most positions in different sectors. But as soon as the real ideology was grabbed by Liaqat Ali Khan after the death of founder of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan become Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956. On 12 March, 1949, the second constituent assembly of Pakistan passed the objective resolution which was proposed by the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, proclaimed that the future constitution of Pakistan would not be modeled entirely on a European pattern, but on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam. The promulgation of constitution in 1956 lead to Pakistan declaring itself Islamic Republic (official name) with the adoption of parliamentary democratic system of government. Resignation letter of Jogendra Nath Mandal in October 1950 clearly showed the hypocrisy of the Muslim leadership.

Missionaries established educational institutions to educate children from the lower class and hospitals for public care but after their mass exodus of missionaries from Pakistan, sitting Christian leadership didn’t follow the same rules. Later when Zulifqar Ali Bhutto became the prime minister of Pakistan, he nationalized Christian institutions thus this chapter was closed. Since then neither clergy nor political leadership ever planned for the economic development of the Christians. Instead clergy remain busy in selling church properties and political leadership remains disloyal with the community. In the first week of November 2015, in the village of Punjab province, chack number 228, (around 50 km away from the Faisalabad) eight years old Christian girl was beaten and locked in her school washroom by her head teacher for daring to use toilet meant for Muslim girls only. In the recent few weeks dozens of Christian girls were kidnapped/rapped and forced to conversion. Head teacher in a village 30 kilometer away from Punjab capital was brutally beaten up due to his faith by his subordinate. Still Pakistani leadership says that there is no discrimination and minorities are enjoying full rights in Pakistan. This is all due to the poor performance of the Christian leadership; and Pakistani Christians are still facing many problems. But clergy is busy in making money.

Secondly since government of Pakistan has adopted joint electoral system for minorities of the country. Local community is divided into different groups, divide and rule policy adopted. PML-N present ruling party, in Punjab has not been able to provide protection to Christians instead the rulers’ attitude towards Christian is discriminatory. Since twin churches bomb blast in Youhanabad, many Christians are still in prisons. Dozens of the families are suffering due to the arrests of the family heads. Though the government has not been able to prove its allegations against them, but inmates and their families are suffering. In this incident, one Christian parliamentarian has reportedly betrayed with the community and had shown his loyalty with his party. The same has been happing for the last decade.
Christians of Pakistan need better leadership and unity at the local level. There are people with potential to do something but they don’t have resources. But there are people, with no vision but resources, they are wasting them and have set their priorities. Education, economic uplift programs need to adopted. And to discourage the hypocrites and self centered personals.

There are also some so called leaders among Pakistani Christians, they mislead the world and present cool and calm situation in Pakistan for Pakistani Christians. Most recently one religious leader and so calledpolitical leader has attended and present a report and denied any oppression or persecution of religious minorities by government and local people. This type of people are betrayers and have sold our nation, they do not want anyone to expose them. These are Judas Iscariots of today and we need to stand against them. But I believe that youngsters of nation have realized and will reject them and will stand with truth and right.  

European Union has taken in millions refugees from Syria, Egypt and other countries of Middle East. Now extremists among those refugees are reportedly involved in creating disturbance in EU and UK. EU and UNHCR are very open about refugees from Middle East. But these EU countries always discourage Pakistani Christians. And taking measures against Christian asylum seekers from Pakistan. As Pakistani Christian, I urge Pakistani Christians to stand together and join hands together against the crooked and self centered so called leadership. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

EU care for Pakistani Christians

EU care for Pakistani Christians
Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: European Parliament delegation urged Pakistan to bring reforms in blasphemy law and ensure the safety of the minority rights in Pakistan. European parliamentarian are aware and care for Pakistani Christians, said Peter Van Dalen, a lead delegate.
Peter Van Dalen speaking at H-9
According to the details European Parliament mission led by Mr. Peter van Dalen (Netherlands), Mr. Arne Gericke (Germany) and Mr. Marek Jurek (Poland) visited Pakistan between 2 -5 November, 2015. The mission aims at a fact finding on blasphemy laws in Pakistan and their application. The delegation met high interlocutors from the government and representative of the civil society. During the meeting with advisor to the Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz, EU delegation demanded to carry out thorough review of the blasphemy law and its current application, in particular section 295-B & C of the penal code.  
Peter Van Dalen, a lead delegate said that EU believes that there is now momentum for Pakistan to start closing the dark chapt
EU delegation group photo after the meeting at EU
er of its blasphemy legislation. By doing so, Pakistan would apply its founding principles, as well as its international obligations under for example the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the conditions attached to GSP+ trade benefits granted by the EU.
The EU parliament delegation has handed over the handout to the high officials including Sartaj Aziz and other high officials and demanded the safety of the minority rights. It said “the legislation which is supposed to protect and safeguard instead has drenched large parts of Pakistan’s society in fear. During the recent decade the security situation has gone to worse in Pakistan. Especially minorities of the country feel insecure in Pakistan thus Pakistan stands in the top ten source countries of people seeking asylum in the EU.” The EU parliamentarian said that the blasphemy law direct or indirectly affect them as well.
visit to H-9
Later the delegation visited H-9 slum area and met with displaced people of Rimsha case (a Christian minor girl accused of blasphemy in Islamabad). The delegation ensured the slum settlers that EU will support the slums of the capital as well the people persecuting in Pakistan.  Peter Van Dalen also prayed for the safety of community and better future. 

Visit to H-9
 The sources confirm that the delegation visited Youhanabad and met with the victims of the incident. The Punjab government has arrested many Christians after the twin church blast in Youhanabad accusing them lynching of the two suspects involved in bomb blasts. Joseph Francis, Director CLAAS briefed them the present situation of the case and also shared his concern in this regard. The EU delegation showed his greater sympathy to the victims and effectees of the incident. Later the delegation met with Asia Bibi’s family in Lahore.