Scorching Heat, Ramadan and Pakistani Minorities


If you are an adherent of Islam (God have mercy on your eternal soul), you aware that Ramadan is upon you:

 

Ramadan (/ˌræməˈdɑːn/Arabic: رمضان‎‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];[note 1] also transliterated RamazanRamzanRamadhan, or Ramathan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,[2] and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief.[3][4] This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[5] The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.[6][7]

 

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ,which means scorching heat or dryness.[8] … ([Some Wikipedia links removed] Ramadan; Wikipedia; page was last modified on 6 June 2016, at 08:12.)

 

If you live in Pakistan and happen to be a Christian, Pakistani law forces you to observe these ungodly Ramadan rules even though your faith says Jesus Christ the Son of God is the only path to God. The fasting portion of Ramadan in Pakistan often results in massive heatwaves affecting Muslims, Christians and other Non-Muslim minorities that forbid water! Last year in 2015 this resulted in deaths numbering in the thousands. Christians in Pakistan are stuck doing the grubby jobs that Muslims find either abhorrent or beneath their privilege. You can imagine the devastation faced during Ramadan restrictions placed on poverty stricken Christians.

 

Pakistan Christian Poverty

Pakistani Christian Poverty

 

JRH 6/6/16

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Scorching Heat, Ramadan and Pakistani Minorities

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent: 6/6/2016 3:00 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a Muslim dominated country, where, it is imposed to respect Islam and if any one talk about its forced imposition, it can be considered as blasphemy. Minorities of the country are already living under the 24/7 threats and being dealt as second class citizen. Many people are being indulged in blasphemy laws and thousands have been facing such an insulting environment that made their life hell. Discrimination and hate are a daily routine matters, at work places, public places, eating places and other areas. Though protection is given in the constitutions the ground realities are different.

 

This evening, when every Muslim was greeting each other for the blessings of Ramadan, I was thinking about the minorities of Pakistan because willing or unwillingly, minorities’ living in Pakistan have to fast with their fellow Muslims. By means of the law the country forces everyone to go hungry during the month of Ramadan. In Pakistan, it is unlawful to drink, eat or smoke in public places during Ramadan. You can be sent to jail, heavily fined or may even be beaten by vigilantes. It’s a peak heat wave in Pakistan during June, with temperatures rises in the different regions routinely around 40 and above degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and the days are at their longest of the year. The government is trying to alleviate the hardships of the month long sunrise-to-sunset fast.

 

Last year, a brutal heatwave killed dozens of people in Pakistan. Many of them died of dehydration while fasting in sweltering temperatures. Even then the respect of Ramadan is mandatory for all citizens of Pakistan.

 

During the military dictator Zia ul Haq the Ehtiram-e-Ramadan (Respect of Ramadan) bill was imposed that prescribes punishments of up to three months in jail and a fine for people who drink or eat publicly. According to the tenets of Islam, [non-Muslims] are under an obligation to fast, they shall not eat, drink or smoke in a public place during fasting hours in the month of Ramadan, [as defined by] Pakistan law.

 

Nearly every restaurant is closed from dawn to dusk, and a shopkeeper can only sell take away food items.  And if you are hungry or thirsty the only place for you is home. At offices, public and private places, [non-Muslims also] are not allowed to eat.

 

Basharat Khokher, social activist, said that the law is inhumane and violates fundamental human rights. Those who want to fast have the right to do so, but those who don’t want to fast have equal rights also. I am religious and respect Ramadan, but it also is not intended to make you sick or put you in danger. Sometimes it’s so hot, that we can’t touch the metal poles on the scaffolding without gloves. A laborer cannot work in these conditions without water, he added.

 

“We cannot allow the liberal people to secularize our country, our society,” said Omar Bhatti, a student of Islamic research. “The respect of Ramadan is mandatory for all citizens of Pakistan. There can’t be any compromise on it.” As for religious minorities; they live in an Islamic country and must have to obey its rules.”

 

Those who do not fast should behave as if they are fasting, Qari Abdul Qadir, a cleric said. “Non-Muslims and elderly or sick Muslims can eat but they should show respect for fasting Muslims and avoid eating or drinking openly” he said.

 

With the growth of Islamic outfits such as the Taliban and its representation in the region, situation have become worse in the past years. Religious extremism and intolerance are on the rise in this region. Now even hospital cafeterias and bus stands don’t serve food during Ramadan. And if someone found around eating or drinking might accuse of blasphemy.

 

Maryam Khushi, a beautician, said forget about Ramadan, I have to be careful about what I do in public throughout the year. What I say, what I wear. People become more pious during Ramadan and I have to be more careful, she added.

 

Ramzan Qadir, a liberal Muslim in Islamabad, said respect needs to be two-way street. “If the religious people can’t respect my rights, I am not ready to respect theirs. It is simple as that he told. “And when these people go to Europe and the US, they insist on their rights. They protest against veil ban in France, but they don’t allow Christians in Pakistan to live freely. I found it hypocritical.

 

The tiny liberal community in the country is not powerful enough to challenge the Islamic laws. Occasionally observed, it is not just involving Ramadan, fanatic Muslims have taken the law into their own hands and have punished Christians and Hindus for a perceived lack of respect of Islam. In either case, minorities of Pakistan [are forced] to respect Ramadan.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan. First contact Shamim in case he has found an easy way to donate. I like to use Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination of Islamabad (Contact Shamim in case he has changed cities). Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

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CLAAS has nothing to do with Zafar Bhatti case…


Zafar Bhatti - Pakistan

Intro to ‘CLAAS has nothing to do with Zafar Bhatti case, says Basharat Khokhar’

Edited by John R. Houk

Posted: September 29, 2014

 

Early reports from major media outlets had been informed that Pakistan Pastor Zafar Bhatti and/or Ali (Muhammad) Asghar were shot and killed by yet another Muslim convinced he was doing Allah’s will in defense of Islam. From a Western point of view it shooting in Adayla Prison was worse because he was either a policeman or a Guard. Shamim Masih reports the earlier media reports were erroneous. Pastor Bhatti was not shot but only Ali Asghar. And Asghar’s shooting was not fatal and is reportedly in a Pakistan hospital in stable condition.

 

Here are some headlines in conjunction Adayla Prison inmates being shot:

 

Christian Pastor Accused of Blasphemy Killed in Pakistan JailNBC News -9/25/14

 

British pensioner on Pakistan’s death row on blasphemy charge shot by policemanThe Independent – 9/25/14

 

Zafar Bhatti safe while UK man accused of blasphemy wounded by police firing in JailPakistan Christian Post – 9/26/14

 

Cop shoots blasphemy convict in Adiala jailInternational: The News – 9/26/14

 

The walls International: The News -9/28/14

 

PASTOR ZAFAR BHATTI WHO IS ALSO BLASPHEMY ACCUSED IS SAFE IN ADGlobal Christian Voice (English somewhat broken) – 9/28/14

 

Gazala Khan Co-accused of Zafar Bhatti Blasphemy Case Reaches To LEAD For Legal AssistanceLegal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) – 9/28/14

 

 

Shamim’s point is not so much the confusion on the shooting of a Pakistani Christian Pastor and a British Muslim of Pakistan origin. Rather the point is Pakistani Christian civil rights organization the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement (CLAAS) is making false representation claims for Pastor Zafar Bhatti.

 

The CLAAS website gets the facts correct on Pastor Bhatti and the Muslim Ali (Muhammad) Asghar but goes on to report on the 9/26/14 report:

 

CLAAS is deeply saddened on this incident and deeply concern for other blasphemy victims who confined in different Jails of Punjab.

 

Concerning about Zafar Bhatti, he is safe and sound and CLAAS has spoken to the jail superintendent to confirm the life security of him in prison. CLAAS is dealing with the legal case of Zafar Bhatti and also has good understanding with the jail staff including Superintendent. Above all CLAAS colleague from the British High Commission was at the spot to rescue Muhammad Asghar and took him to the DHQ emergency for immediate treatment and he is still with the victim in the hospital. Meanwhile CLAAS asked Nawab Bibi to go to the prison to visit Zafar Bhatti and see if he was safe.

 

CLAAS is happy that Zafar Bhatti is safe and really sad due to this unpleasant incident of murder attempt on Muhammad Asghar a British National.

 

CLAAS urged the Government of Pakistan to assure the life security of blasphemy victims with in the prisons of Punjab we have to say with a heavy heart that if the police is involve in such incidents who will provide security????

 

We ask your prayers for the life safety of all blasphemy victims confined in the prisons of Punjab and especially prayer for Zafar Bhatti, Asia Bibi and Sawan Masih in which CLAAS providing legal assistance. (Man Sentenced for Blasphemy Shot In Adiala Jail Rawalpindi, Pakistan; By asif; CLAAS; 9/26/14)

 

Shamim takes a more journalistic approach, but roughly he is reporting CLAAS is doing squat for Pastor Zafar Bhatti. Shamim has written in the past of Christian organizations in Pakistan pitching for donations deceptively and then using the funds to line personal pockets. Here Shamim does not make that specific accusation against CLAAS but I have to wonder, is this one of those occasions in which a Pakistani Christian organization is publicly pumping its name for the purpose of donations?

 

JRH 9/29/14

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CLAAS has nothing to do with Zafar Bhatti case, says Basharat Khokhar

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 9/26/2014 10:10 PM

 

Rawalpindi – Centre for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement – CLAAS has nothing to do with Zafar Bhatti case, said Basharat Khokhar and Khalid Shahzad. The CLAAS chief had a photo session with his family but had done nothing to save his skin.

 

According to the details, since the incident of Asghar Ali, victim of a blasphemy case, was shot by the police constable within the premises of Central Jail Adayla Rawalpindi. CLAAS reported about this case and claimed that the said organization is dealing with Zafar Bhatti’s case; blasphemy accused is safe in Adayla Jail. But Basharat Khokhar and Khalid Shahzad, social activists rejected CLAAS and said that CLAAS is no more with Zafar Bhatti’s case. Basharat told that CLAAS chief went to his family and had photo session but is not dealing with his case. He claimed that his lawyer Parvaiz Khan is his attorney and dealing actually with his case.

 

Khalid Shahzad social activist said that CLAAS is habitual in misleading the people, this organization is not doing anything on the ground. CLAAS is neither dealing with Sawan Masih nor Asia Bibi case but claiming [involvement] unfairly about both cases. He [Shazad] said CLAAS is wasting funds paying bribes and in other activities, but not doing anything for the good of Christians in the country. During Sawan Masih case, CLAAS chief took pictures with Sawan and his family using unfair means, he added.

 

On the hand, Joseph Francis chief of CLAAS said that Tahir Bashir is the attorney to Zafar Bhatti and he is being [represented] by CLAAS. He said we can prove with [a] document when required.

 

Earlier CLAAS reported that Asghar Ali s/o Hakam Dad, Muslim by faith (some people believe that he is Ahmadi by faith), victim of the blasphemy case and FIR was registered at PS Sadiqabad under section 295-C. Asghar Ali was confined in Adayla Jail, Rawalpindi shot by a police constable appointed for his security. He was immediately taken to the hospital. He was sentenced to death in January, 2014. Yousaf, police constable was appointed for his security; he shot fire within the jail premises. Asghar Ali reportedly wrote a letter claiming to be a prophet and was arrested in 2010. Religious leadership gave a verdict against him that after the prophet Mohammad no one can claim it so he has not right to live. He was convicted and sentenced to death. The new of attack and murder of Zafar Bhatti victim of 295-C imprisoned in Adiala [interchangeable with Adayla] Jail is not correct Zafar Bhatti is safe only Asghar another blasphemy victim who was sentenced to death in January 2014 was gunshot by police constable of Elite Force.

 

There were rumours that Zafar Bhatti a Christian victim of blasphemy 295-C and Telegraph Act confined in Adiala [interchangeable with Adayla] Jail was gun down by a police constable. Some of reputed national daily reported the same news which is not true. The Christian community across the country is deeply saddened on this incident and urged the authorities to assure the life of blasphemy victims in a different jail of the country. A few years back Salam Taseer (Governor Punjab) was gunned down by his security guard and was garlanded by the religious scholars.

  

[Often Christians are falsely accused] Victims of blasphemy [which] is punishable to death in Pakistan. Christian right activists in Pakistan have been claiming to revisit [the blasphemy] law, but certainly there are some organizations [that publicly present a profile of doing right, but really] are pretending [and] do nothing practical [for the falsely accused]. Pakistani Christians need education to improve their living standard. Thousands of the children are out of school and [the] drop [out] rate is getting high. This is unfortunate that rights activists are wasting their sources and energy in non-productive activities. 

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_____________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Text enclosed in brackets are by the Editor.

 

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Pakistani-Christians Don’t have Right to Protest…


pakistan-blasphemy-protest

Shamim Masih is a Pakistani Christian that is both a journalist and Human Rights activist. He has been giving me an on the scene perspective of Islamic Supremacism in action in Pakistan of the crazy persecution of Christians at the hand of Muslims that erupted when a vengeful minded Muslim decided to take issue with his (I am guessing former) drinking companion with Christian roots. The Muslim former drinking buddy cried to a Muslim Cleric that Sawan Masih had blasphemed the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The Cleric called for action that led to the massive destruction of Joseph Colony Christian homes and the Church at the Christian community.

 

Shamim has updated me that the Muslim Supremacism is continuing with Muslim agitators threatening Christian protesters with harm and murder if they continue to protest against Islamic Supremacist persecution of Christians.

 

JRH 3/15/13

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Pakistani-Christians Don’t have Right to Protest Against the Misuse of Blasphemy Law

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 3/14/2013 3:32 PM

 

Islamabad Pakistan (Shamim Masih): Hundreds Pakistani Christians become homeless in Badami Bagh, Lahore. 200 homes of Joseph Colony were turned to ashes and poor Christians are sitting in the streets, looking for food and their needs. Their children couldn’t attend their school and colleges since last Friday. They are helpless and unable to do anything for themselves, while Christians around the country stood to become their voice but were severely beaten by police in Youhanabad and Kot Lakhpat, Lahore. There were protests in Islamabad/Rawalpindi as well. But Muslims of Jhelam City threaten to burn the Christians home like Joseph Colony Lahore, when they went to protest to show solidarity with other Christians.

 

According to sources, on March 12, 2013, when Christians of Jhelam city went to protest against the violence in Joseph Colony, chanting slogans “Repeal Blasphemy Law” and “Blasphemy law is Black Law”. The Islamists announced in Mosque loudspeakers to gather to punish those Christians who called Blasphemy law to be a black law during the protest. The radical Muslims pressured area police station to lodge First Investigation Report – FIR under 295-C PPC under blasphemy law against Christians who chanted slogans against blasphemy law.

 

Basharat Khokhar, a human rights activist told that there were around 26 Christian families living among Muslim masses, Machine 2 mahallah since partition. The local Christians arranged a protest to show their solidarity with the Christians of Joseph Colony, Lahore. And Mr. George Masih led the protest rally. They got permission from the District Police Officer (DPO) who provided them security. There were 250 people in the protest rally. The next day, Muslims demanded the police to arrest George Masih and to register FIRJoseph Francis - CLAAS Director Pakistan against him. The situation became tense in the city but fortunately the administration involved both the religious leadership and Joseph Francis [CLAAS Profile] from CLAAS [Introduction Page] intervened to solve the issue.

 

There is another mishap, according to Pastor Naeem Bhadhar, a Presbyterian missionary living in a village KALASWALA, Pasroor Road, district Sialkot, 140 km away from Lahore city. He told me on the telephone that he had arranged a protest rally in their city but today on 14th March, 2013, as he was travelling back to his village, a few radical Muslims from Jammat ut Dawa (a Muslim organization) [Background info HERE and HERE] had severely beaten him with sticks and broke his motor bike. He was injured and was taken to the hospital. There Pastor Bhadhar got 3 stitches on his left arm. They warned him if any one of the Christians came to protest they will kill them.

 

This is how peace loving Muslims treat Christians in Pakistan. It’s time to wake up and to raise a voice for the rights.   

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

______________________

Edited by John R. Houk

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Memorial Day for Martyrs Day


Christian activits pay tribute to the martyrs

Shamim Masih writes about a Memorial Day for Pakistani-Christian Martyrs killed as a result of Islamic Supremacism in the Muslim majority nation of Pakistan. Below is Shamim’s article. After Shamim’s article I am going to make the attempt to add more details to the Christian Martyrs Shamim writes about.

 

JRH 2/28/13

______________________

Memorial Day for Martyrs Day

Pakistani activists hold joint memorial service to remember slain Pakistani Christians

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 2/26/2013 2:23 PM

 

Islamabad Pakistan (Shamim Masih): The courageous person who sacrifices his life for values of religion or rights of community secures very unique respect and honors of a “Hero” in society and becomes part of history. The generations pay tributes to sacrifices of martyrs and celebrate their anniversaries to remember them.

 

§  Martyr Feroz Masih, who was killed by Karachi Police firing in front of Governor House on Feb 13, 1997.

 

§  Bishop John Joseph was mysteriously murdered by secret agencies of Pakistan on May 6, 1998 in Sahewal city of Punjab province of Pakistan.

 

§  Martyr Nawaz Masih and Martyr James Masih were not bishops or high profile Christian leaders but common laymen who had love for Christian nation in Pakistan.

 

§  Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minority Minister, was assassinated on March 2, 2011, in Capital city Islamabad.

 

In recognition to their struggle for Pakistani Christians, religious leadership and human rights activist hold a joint memorial service to remember the slain Pakistani Christians on 23rd February, 2013.

 

Basharat Khokhar, a human activist said whenever a nation is in crisis their martyrs become a ray of hope and successes to launch a new campaign to successfully resolve issues but nation which forget their martyrs have always faced failure as history records. We as Pakistani Christians remember our martyrs, he added.

__________________________

Here are some more thoughts on the Martyrs listed above.

 

Feroz Masih

 

Feroz Masih - Pakistan Christian Martyr

 

We are observing the 15th anniversary of Martyr Feroz Masih, who was killed by Karachi Police firing in front of Governor House on February 13, 1997, during a peaceful protest procession against a Muslim mob attack on a Christian village, Shanti Nagar in the Punjab province of Pakistan.  Amidst clouds of tear gas shelling and police firing on Christian protestors, hundreds were rendered unconscious, dozens were injured, whilst nine received bullet injuries and more than 1,000 were arrested. Feroz Masih was among those nine critical bullet wounded Christian who were rushed to JPMC Hospital where he died with his one hand fastened to his bed in a police hand cuff.

 

Feroz Masih was not any politician or Church leader or an activist of any foreign funded non- government organization, or any political party leader or any federal minister in government or any tool of the Pakistan establishment, but an honest Christian who had a passion for the oppressed Christian nationals in Pakistan and love for his fellow brothers who were victimized in village of Shanti Nagar – hundreds of miles away from his home in Karachi. Feroz Masih had never ever met any of the suffering Christians of Shanti Nagar, nor was he hoping for their votes to seek any public office in the national assembly or provincial assembly or any district council, but still he felt their pain and took to the streets on February 13, 1997, to ensure justice and basic equal democratic rights in Pakistan for which he sacrificed his life. (Excerpted from: In memory of Pakistan’s martyrs; Nazir Bhatti; British Pakistani Christian Association; 5/22/13)  

 

Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress and Chairman Martyr Feroz Masih Award Committee announced the names of nominated persons for first Martyr Feroz Masih Award. PCP Report.

 

 

The award is in the memory of the sacrifice of Martyr Feroz Masih who was killed by the Karachi Police firing on peaceful protest procession of PCC against Shanti Nager village attack by the Muslim fundamental group on February 13, 1997 before Sindh Governor House. The PCC central council at meeting in Karachi passed a resolution to inaugurate Shaheed Feroz Masih Award for remembrance of his precious life sacrifice for Christians in Pakistan. The resolution also added to press for the demand of the arrests of the killer police officials involved to gun down Feroze Masih and injuring many on Feb. 13, 1997. This is the first award nomination, which shall be continued in future every year in month of February, and award distribution ceremony shall be held in Pakistan and also in the foreign countries as per decision of Martyr Feroz Masih Award Committee.

 

(Pakistan Christian Post; February 14)

 

Bishop John Joseph

 

Bishop John Joseph - Pakistan Christian Martyr

 

Rev. Dr. John Joseph, 66, Catholic bishop of Faisalabad and a high profile human rights activist, shot himself dead in the dark corridors of a sessions court in Sahiwal (700 kilometres from the capital, Islamabad) at about 9:30 p.m. on 6 May 1998 in protest against the death sentence recently given to Ayub Masih on 27 April for blaspheming Islam. This is the same spot where Ayub Masih, a Christian of his diocese, was shot at on 6 November 1997.

Bishop John Joseph travelled to the city of Sahiwal in the afternoon of 6 May from his residence in Faisalabad. He went to address a prayer meeting for the Christian parishioners there specially organised for the victims of blasphemy cases. Since the early 1990s when Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code was amended, making the death sentence mandatory for the offence of blaspheming Islam, dozens of non-Muslims have fallen victims to the often-abused blasphemy laws. And the bishop was deeply shocked by Ayub’s verdict.

At dinner time on 6 May, Bishop John Joseph had little appetite as according to the parish priest, Fr. Yaqoob Farooq, O.P.. After others had had their meals, the bishop asked Fr. Yaqoob to accompany him to the spot of the court-house where Ayub Masih was shot at exactly six months ago. On reaching close to the vicinity of the sessions court, the bishop asked Fr. Yaqoob to stay back and went to the spot himself. Moments after, Fr. Yaqoob heard a gun shot. He then rushed to the spot and found the bishop had shot himself in the neck. According to Fr. Yaqoob, Bishop John Joseph was instantly dead.

On hearing the news of the bishop’s death, the Christian populace of the city gathered at the spot in the court-house. As of 12:35 a.m. of 7 May, the Christians there refused to remove the dead body until the prime minister would come personally to express his sorrow. Bishop John Joseph, a human rights activist well-known locally and internationally, was the founding chairperson of the National Commission for Justice and Peace under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, and he remained in office since its establishment in 1984.

Bishop John Joseph had led two nationwide protests of the Christian community and even went on hunger strike for the cause. The first protest was in 1992 against the government’s proposal to include a column for one’s religious faith in the national identity cards. Christians and other minorities in the community thought that the new identity card system would lead to further victimisation of religious minorities in Pakistan. The second nationwide protest was in 1994 against the murder of Manzoor Masih, a Christian tried on blasphemy, outside the court right after the court hearing on 5 April 1994.

On 20 March 1998, Bishop John Joseph led … (Excerpted from: PAKISTAN: Bishop John Joseph’s Protest Against Victimisation of Minorities; Human Rights Solidarity; 8/24/01)

 

Fourteen years ago, around the time young Rimsha Masih, now in jail under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, was born, a Roman Catholic bishop walked into a courthouse in Sahiwal, quite close to my hometown in Central Punjab. The Right Rev John Joseph was no ordinary clergyman; he was the first native bishop in Pakistan and the first ever Punjabi bishop anywhere in the world. He was also a brilliant and celebrated community organiser, the kind of man oppressed communities look up to as a role model. Joseph walked in alone, asking a junior priest to wait outside the courthouse. Inside the court, he took out a handgun and shot himself in the head. The bullet in his head was his protest against the court’s decision to sentence a fellow Christian, Ayub Masih, to death for committing blasphemy. Masih had been charged with arguing with a Muslim co-worker over religious matters. The exact content of the conversation cannot be repeated here because that would be blasphemous. The bishop had campaigned long and hard to get the blasphemy law repealed without any luck. He wrote prior to his death: “I shall count myself extremely fortunate if in this mission of breaking the barriers, our Lord accepts the sacrifice of my blood for the benefit of his people.” (Excerpted from: How to commit blasphemy in Pakistan; By Mohammed Hanif; The Guardian; 9/15/12 15.00 EDT)

 

Nawaz Masih and James Masih

 

Nawaz Masih and James Masih were the first Christian Martyrs of modern Pakistan – they were killed by Police in Rawalpindi who opened fire on a peaceful protest procession of Christians protesting against the nationalization of missionary Schools, Hospitals and Colleges during the ZA Bhutto government in 1972. This protest procession went out from Gordon College Rawalpindi and marched towards Governor House to present a memorandum against the nationalization of Christian institutions.

 

Like Martyr Feroz Masih, Martyr Nawaz Masih and Martyr James Masih were also not Bishops or high profile Christian leaders but common laymen who had a love for the Christian people in Pakistan. The families of Nawaz Masih and James Masih were not supported by any Christian political groups or indeed the Bishops, who had been enjoying benefits of Christian institutions and living like feudal lords. It is very unfortunate that no Christian clergy or associations have ever celebrated or marked anniversary of these Martyrs. (Excerpted from: In memory of Pakistan’s martyrs; By Nazir Bhatti; British Pakistani Christian Association; 5/22/12)  

 

Shahbaz Bhatti

 

Shahbaz Bhatti - Assassinated Pakistan

 

Today, March 2, is the one-year anniversary of the murder in Pakistan of 42-year-old Shahbaz Bhatti. Still no one has been charged with the crime, much less tried and held accountable.

 

On March 2, 2011, Bhatti, the minister of minorities affairs, and the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet, was ambushed and assassinated by gunmen as he sat in a car outside his mother’s house before leaving for work.

 

Bhatti’s work, his life’s work, was to struggle for equality under the law for Pakistan’s various religious minorities. He had often expressed his opposition to Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and persistently sought to reform them. Like Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer — who had been murdered in January 2011 — he had championed the case of Asia Bibi, the mother of five sentenced to death for blaspheming Islam’s prophet, a charge brought by other villagers with whom she had a property dispute.

 

He had waged a strong campaign for the repeal of the blasphemy laws, both in the government and as the longtime head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, a non-governmental organization. He saw the blasphemy laws – which only protect Islam — as potently divisive to Pakistan’s society. They are used as a platform within the society for extremists to determine which ideas can be expressed and which cannot, and they are used by ordinary citizens to pursue vendettas and personal grievances.

 

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Bhatti’s killing. Two weeks ago, Interpol agents arrested, in Dubai, Zia-ur-Rehman, and a few days later Pakistani police took custody of Abid Malik, two Pakistani suspects in the murder. But the case is far from solved. Dubai has already released Rehman. An Islamabad police official, who requested anonymity, told Pakistan’s Tribune:

 

“To treat them [the two] as prime suspects would be wrong. We have no evidence to suggest that they were involved in the murder even though they could have certain issues with him,” said the police official . . . They had differences with Bhatti over property issues, “but they were not capable of carrying out such a high-profile assassination,” said the official. “Investigations regarding the case were muddy and not carried out in a proper manner, some evidence points towards sectarian or militant violence,” he added.

 

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Bhatti’s old post of Minority Affairs has been abolished, Asia Bibi languishes on death row, and Pakistan sinks ever deeper into radical Sunni Islam. And, the blasphemy arrests continue apace: … (Excerpted from: Pakistan’s Honorable Shahbaz Bhatti, Murdered with Impunity One Year Ago; By Nina Shea; National Review Online; 3/2/12 12:08 PM)

 

 

A Bishop from Pakistan has called on his country’s government to catch the killers of Christian human rights campaigner Shahbaz Bhatti.

 

Bishop Sebastian Shaw, Apostolic Administrator of Lahore, told Aid to the Church in Need that almost two years on no one had been tried for his murder – and gave his blessing to a 2 March event in London commemorating Mr Bhatti’s life and work.

 

Bishop Shaw said: “Nothing has happened yet, but we ask the government of Pakistan that the killers be arrested and brought to justice.”

 

Mr Bhatti, federal minister for minority affairs, was murdered in Islamabad on 2 March 2011 after calling for clemency for Asia Bibi, the first woman to be sentenced to death under the country’s blasphemy laws.

 

Abid Malik, who was arrested on suspicion of Mr Bhatti’s murder, was cleared of the charge in February 2012.

 

Bishop Shaw said that a few months ago the press in Pakistan suggested his killer may have been from outside the country.

 

He added: “We are very sad for what has happened to Shahbaz Bhatti, who was martyred.

 

(Excerpted from: PAKISTAN: Still no justice for Shahbaz Bhatti; By John Newton; Aid to the Church in Need; 2/18/13)

 

Shamim Masih has brought our attention to the cruelty that Christians experience in the Muslim nation of Pakistan. Pakistan treats Christians in the classic style of dhimmitude which is a policy to humiliate non-Muslims to the point that the life of Christians is miserable and also ends in death for the glory of Allah. The Human and Civil Rights of Christians are nearly non-existent in the face of Islamic Supremacism.

 

JRH 2/28/13

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Memorial Day for Martyrs Day

 

Edited by John R. Houk

 

Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

President

REAP
Public Affairs coordinator

UMJI

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

FOR USD TRANSFER.
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Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank :         70008227
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number :                 405527

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Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank :         00010855
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number :                 405527
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Here are some more thoughts on the Martyrs listed above.

 

Research by John R. Houk

February 28, 2013