KP Govt. Closed Six Churches Amid the U.S. placing Pakistan on Special Watch List


Shamim Masih writes about Islamic Supremacism once again persecuting Christians in Pakistan by targeting unregistered Churches with closure under the poor excuse of security.

 

JRH 1/20/18

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KP Govt. Closed Six Churches Amid the U.S. placing Pakistan on Special Watch List

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan (formerly NWFP)

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent 1/19/2018 9:03 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhawa [alternate spelling: Pakhtunkhwa] (KPK) province in Pakistan has sealed at least six Churches in district Abbottabad in the name of security after the United States placed Pakistan name in the Special Watch List. The officials claimed that only non-registered churches are closed. On the other hand, the KP govt. has announced monthly honorarium for 20, 000 Muslim clerics in the province.

 

According to the details the district administration at Abbottabad has officially ordered to close as many as six churches in the name of security and said the churches being established in the rental houses and non-registered are closed due to security risk. The District Police Officer (DPO) Syed Ashfaq said in his official statement that those churches have been sealed which had not been registered with the Auqaf Department.

 

According to 27th Convention of the United Nations, Pakistan is liable to take steps for the safety, protection of minorities and women rights and religious freedom in the country. And on January 04, 2018, the US placed Pakistan name in the list of those countries which are alleged violating minorities rights and religious freedom. Being on the Watch List means Pakistan is a step away from included in the “Countries of Particular Concern” list. The list includes “governments that have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

 

In the meantime, on January 8, 2018, KP govt. proved it that religious minorities are not free to perform their religious services at their homes and even cannot worship in the rental houses they live in. To a rough estimate more than 10000 Christians live in and around Hazara Division and 5000 in Abbottabad district. And many of them are bared to perform their ceremonial and routine religious services.

 

Meanwhile, the Christian community across the country have termed the move as unjustified. Father Arshad Nayer, the local priest from Roman Catholic denomination said, “it would give a bad message if the government continued to seal worship places of religious minorities over minor issues.” Instead of providing security to the said churches the administration is on to close them, and it is violation of religious freedom. The poor Christians do not have enough resources to construct independent new church buildings, he added.

 

Pastor Christopher Shakar, one victim [of a closed Church – perhaps], said that his father Akram Shakar has started the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church (EPC) in 1985, and now he has taken this responsibility for seven years. On the celebration of the Christmas, the district administration has interrupted during the sermon and asked to close the service. This is violation of religious freedom given in the constitution of country. Another church, Assemblies of God has been established some 50 years back and now Pastor in charge Saleem Ghori is running it in his own house is also closed under the said so called security risk.

 

Chairman Community Development Foundation (CDF) Basharat Khokher strongly condemned the move by the KP govt. and termed it prejudicial behavior toward religious minorities in Pakistan. Talking on religious freedom, he said that the step taken by KP govt. is discriminatory and biased; the KP government is paying billions of rupees to Muslim clerics in the province and shutting down Christian worship places. From this move, it clearly shows that there is no religious freedom in the country and government imposed restriction and tries to snub the rights of minorities.

 

When asked Shireen Mazari, a senior Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) leader and member parliament, she said PTI is very clear in giving rights to minorities and not in the favor of closing any worship places. PTI central secretariat has sought written reply from CM KP Parvez Khattak on the matter of closure of 6 churches in Abbottabad district. The CM has been asked to explain the causes and motives leading to closure of churches. In a statement chairman PTI Imran Khan said that all the minorities enjoy full freedom of religion under the constitution of Pakistan. He said the PTI believes in full freedom of minorities, adding that such steps by the provincial government create a negative impression in the international community.

 

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

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondents

Online Int’l News Networks

Daily Jinnah & Daily Morning Mail

Journalist, Blogger and

Social Reformer

_________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Any text enclosed by brackets as well as source links are by the Editor. Also, the Editor used Spellcheck.

 

A few words from Shamim perhaps from 2016:

 

 

Shamim Masih 

 

Greetings to you! Let me introduce myself first, though many of you are witness to my professional work. I am the only Christian journalist in this arena with diverse work experience with different media outlets like Independent News Pakistan (INP), as columnist with “Daily Times” for two years, two years with one of the leading Urdu daily, “Khabrain” & Channel 5, Daily Mail and now with Pakistan Today. I have been working as lead Reporter for “British Pakistani Christian Association” since 2010. As stringer I have worked with BBC world service. Being a Christian journalist, I have been writing on minority rights and working as a social reformer/peace maker as well.

 

Christians Fear to Attend Sunday Service


Shamim writes about Muslims of a community in the Rawalpindi area of Pakistan harassing Pakistani-Christians primarily because the Muslims find the Christian services offensive.

 

Shamim doesn’t really share the specific details of the Muslim Islamic Supremacism against Christian religious freedom. I found an article the Christian Times Pakistan that make the issues a bit clearer:

 

Rawalpindi Neighborhood Christians & Muslims Clash Over Religious Freedom (Photo: Christian Times Pakistan)

 

 

The complainants namely Muhammad Sajid, Rashid Akhtar, Afzal Hussain and Muhammad Sadiq have maintained that some Christian residents of the locality including Patras Salamat Masih, James Allah Ditta and others are carrying out church activities which are bothering them.

 

In an application submitted at the New Town Police Station, the complainants claimed that Patras and James have illegally formed a church in house right in front of theirs. “They perform their religious ceremonies three days a week (Sunday, Tuesday and Saturday).” The complainants claim that during the church services Christian youngsters are stationed on the street; who block the passage of lay people on the street.

 

Moreover, the complainants said that whenever a Christian dies, these congregants use the street for observing funeral ceremonies. They said that religious practices of these Christians have caused much nuisance to them. Furthermore, the complainants have stated that when they tried to approach the church’ administration they hurled death threats at us.

 

Sajid, Rashid, Afzal and Sadiq also claim that Patras and James were allegedly trying to pressurize them to sell their houses and leave the street. “We also informed the Union Council Chairman, Abid Hussain Abbasi,” they maintained in the compliant. They maintained that the Union Council Chairman had also advised them to sell their properties to the Christians and leave the street.

 

On the other hand, the Christians claim that on August 8, 2017, Sajid, Rashid, Afzal and Sadiq long with others arrived at the church when a prayer service was going on. Christians allege that the said people arrived with intent to attack the congregants and therefore the police was informed about the situation. (Bold text Editor’s — Rawalpindi: Tension arises between Christians, Muslims in New Town neighborhood; By  admin; Christian Times Pakistan; 10/3/17)

 

I used bold text to point out that Muslims often lie when it comes to the religious liberty of Christians. This is particularly so when Islamic Supremacist use Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law to eject or cause harm to Christians.

 

Here is Shamim Masih’s account below.

 

JRH 10/22/17

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Christians Fear to Attend Sunday Service

 

By SHAMIM MASIH

Sent: 10/22/2017 12:16 AM

 

RAWALPINDI: Christians fear of attending ceremonial services and Sunday service due to the threats of Muslims living in the neighborhood. Muslims disrupted church a service and wanted to eliminate the church building in the twin area of Rawalpindi, a twin city of Pakistan. Police are reluctant to arrest Muslims even after the attack.

 

According to the reports, a group of 13 people in the town area of Rawalpindi district filed an application against the Pastor Patras Salamat at the office of the district administrator “City Police Officer” (CPO) to shut down the church. The CPO Israr Abbasi ordered the concerned officials to take stern action against the church administration, the report said. The document available with the Covenant TV reads that Mohammad Sajid, Rashid Akhter, Mohammad Sadiq and others have filed an application against the Pastor Patras Salamat and James Allah Dita to stop the religious ceremony done by local the Christians around their houses and also wrote a threatening statement between the lines. Number of 13 members of the locality wrote an application to the district administration with their signatures underwritten and said that due to their Sunday service and the religious ceremonial; the Muslim community living around feels irritated and itchy. Therefore, they have requested the higher ups to remove the church from their neighborhood. The city administrator (CPO) ordered the concerned officials to take action and stop these activities, the document reads.

 

Application CPO

 

In talking to the Covenant TV Pastor Patras Salamat, he said the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church is a registered body under the constitutions of the country and was established nineteen years ago at the same place when his father Pastor Salamat purchased the land and started with the small building. And with the passage of time as the church grew, he purchased the nearby land as well. The Philadelphia Pentecostal Church is registered and the sitting Priest claimed that he obtain the written approval for the said piece of land for Church building from the local administration. On every Sunday service the police chief also assigned two police security at the venue. When the congregation gathered for the service, we also arrange our church volunteers to take care of the visitors and congregation as well.

 

A few weeks back, when the service was on and as soon as worshipers began worshipping, Mohammad Sajid and a few other Muslims arrived armed with guns and machetes to disrupt the Sunday service and shouted to stop the service. The church administration went to resolve the issue.  Later the local administration arranged a reconciliation meeting between the Muslims and members of the congregation. After a few days the Muslims again filed an application to the senior officials, he added.

 

Mr. Javed Youhana, a regular church-goer said that he used to attend the Sunday services since 1999 but he feels himself insecure while going to church since the Muslim in the neighborhood have threatened the Christians. Basharat Khokher, an activist said, “I live nearby but attend the service on regular basis with my family, since the attack on [the] church has created [a] sense of insecurity in me and many others. We live under constant traumatiz[ation] since the attacks began on Pakistan on worship places by the extremists. … For the most time, when I go to church I fear anything can happen anytime and I feel whether I will go back home (alive) or not.” [Blog Editor: Emphasis mine]

 

Taliban terrorists and extremist in Pakistan have been attacking worship places of the religious minorities across the country for the last two decades, killing hundreds and with thousands injured. Many of them are still living with their constant diseases and some are paralyzed due to these attacks while worshiping their God. There have been attacks on Shiite mosques and Imambargahs; Bohra worship places; Ahmadiya community worship places; Churches; and Hindu temples. Due to the situation, the minorities in general, live in the grip of fear even during the worship.

 

www.thecovenant.tv

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

 

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

+92-300-642-4560

_______________

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

 

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets are by the Editor.

 

Unedited version at Pakistan Christian Post

 

© Shamim Masih (Mahmood)

 

Vocational Institute for Christian community under threat in the Capital


Pakistani Christians Protest Peshawar Terrorism

When others bring a post submission to this blog I like to investigate the assertions made therein. In this particular submission from Shamim Mahmood I had a difficult search to verify the news Shamim has submitted. Since I have complete trust in Shamim’s journalistic endeavors based on verifiable past submissions, I have no qualms of its veracity. My difficulty could be simply the wrong search questions or the only sources are in Urdu or Pashtun of which neither do I speak.

 

So I feel the need to digress a bit. Shamim Mahmood usually signs his submissions as “Shamim Masih”. As a confused Westerner I asked Shamim to clear this up for me. And he did so. But I deleted the email response before I had the forethought to write it down. Thus I Googled the name “Masih”. Here are a few quotes from that search on the name “Masih”:

 

Arabic name meaning “Christian”. a common surname among Christians in Pakistan. (From Behind the Name: Surname MASIH)

 

Many Christians in South Asia use the name “Masih,” which means “Messiah” in Arabic. “Bibi” is an Urdu term meaning “Miss.” (From CNS article, “Death Sentence in Pakistan Spotlights Blasphemy Laws As U.N. Votes on ‘Defamation’”)

 

This is an Arabic name only used by Christians, from the Arabic Abd ‘servant’, al- ‘of’, and Masih ‘messiah/Christ’, meaning “servant of the Messiah”, corresponding to the Greek given name Christodoulos. It was borne by a ninth-century martyr who was executed for reverting to Christianity after having converted to Islam. It is fairly common among Christian Arabs to this day. (From Behind the Name: Given Name ABDALMASSIH)

 

Masih, meaning “messiah”, is a very common name among Pakistan’s Christians (From Religious Freedom Coalition: Christians Face Increasing Persecution In Pakistan – An Alleged Ally Of The U.S.)

 

Shamim’s submission pertains to the attempts by Christian ministries and charities to create the environment by which the oppressed Pakistani Christians can learn vocational and technical trades to better the lot living in Islamic Pakistan. I use the word “attempt” because the Taliban have used all means of Islamic terrorism to thwart Pakistani Christians from bettering themselves.

 

See Also: Islamabad: A technical training center for Christians faces threats from Taliban; By Madeeha Bakhsh; ChristianPakistan.com; 5/2/16)

 

The best way to SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan is via Western Union sending money with this LINK to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Include Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

JRH 5/6/16

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Vocational Institute for Christian community under threat in the Capital

 

By Shamim Mahmood [aka Masih]

Sent: 5/1/2016 4:35 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: A Vocational Institute for the Christian community is under threat right under the nose of Interior Ministry in the Capital. According to the details poverty alleviation through a skill program was developed by “Pakistan Development Foundation” (PDF) and launched in 2007 with the self-generated funds in the Federal Capital. Students were registered and trained there and it had become popular in the community. Nadeem Gill, Executive Director (PDF) said that it was running smoothly but some people Umar Afridi, Zabita Khan & Javed Payra from the Khaber Pakhton Khawa (KPK) joined us for the community service. But they had bad intentions which later was revealed. Sadly, one of them from the Christian community either was deceived or by his own will turned against us. Subsequently this group threatened us and captured the institution in 2009. Mr. Gill told that he has no choice but turn to the courts. After the years’ struggle in litigation; PDF won the case and had taken charge of the institution in 2015, he added.

 

Basharat Khokher, coordinator at All Church Council, Islamabad said that PDF purchased 12 Kenals [also kanal] of land and its twelfth portion was developed for the skill training center. We had threats from Taliban split organizations and later they came in through different ways. But we have struggled hard and our fellow Muslim brother Saqib Ali and others helped us a lot in acquiring the land from the Taliban group. Finally, we were able to release the institution from the said group. Saqib Ali shared his experience and said that we have been living with the Christian community for years and we have developed good relations and in a favor to create better interaction/harmony. Though we still have threats from the Taliban group but we believe that victory is ours. Ms. Samina, the instructor at PDF was happy and said it is the grace of God that PDF won the case and now we can register new girls for the training. Skill Enhancement and Educational Program (SEEP) is our new program and very soon we will launch it, she added.

 

In the recent years, attacks on worship places and religious minorities have increased though Pakistan Islamic persecution of Christians may not be on the level of ISIS; nonetheless it is still quite horrific. The long sufferings in the country have worsened by a sense of deprivation among the locals, and an inclusive political system is unable to achieve sustainable peace and stability.

 

[The best way to SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan is via Western Union sending money with this LINK to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Include Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560]

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood (aka Masih)

Journalist Blogger and Human Rights Activist
http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

+92-300-642-4560

___________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Text enclosed by brackets is by the Editor. All links by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

Stop Raising Voice for Justice, Peace and Respect


Tahir Naveed Chaudhry  (center) & Basharat Khokhar (right)

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry (left) & Basharat Khokher (right)
 
Shamim Masih highlights the Christian Human Rights activism of Basharat Khokher. Then Shamim reports something of little surprise. Muslim activists err radicals have been attempting to silence Basharat.
 
JRH 12/24/14

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Stop Raising Voice for Justice, Peace and Respect
 
By Shamim Masih
Sent: 12/23/2014 11:22 PM
 
ISLAMABAD: Let the voices of justice, peace, and respect for law enforcement be heard. People around the world have seen the iron man protecting a Christian minor girl Rimsha (accused of burning holy papers of Islamic verses that focused international attention on Pakistan’s unsympathetic blasphemy laws) up to a helicopter outside the prison, when she was released on bail. I have also seen him during the said case protecting her attorney Tahir Naveed Chaudhry during the case trial.Rimsha Masih & Basharat Khokhar at Helocopter Although Chaudhry’s role as a lawyer was not prominent but his presence was there which won her release on bail. Later Rana Abdul Hameed, Rimsha’s attorney came in and saved her skin up to the apex court. I am an eye witness and have seen him in or outside the Islamabad courts running in rain or sun. Although I knew him before but since then we came close to each other and working together for the rights of Christians. Rimsha was held in jail before getting bail, but the cleric was later accused of fabricating evidence and the case against the girl was dropped. Later Rimsha and her family found refuge in Canada. But this man is still under threat and facing threatening calls on routine basis. Yes, he is Basharat Masih Khokhar, a police official, who had been serving as a security guard with Shahbaz Bhatti, a slain Federal Minister for minorities in Islamabad.
 
Basharat Khokher has been struggling for Christian rights for many years. In November, 2008, he was accused of harsh blasphemy law and a First Investigation Report (FIR) 267/08 was registered against him under 295-C and 109 Pakistan Penal Code, when he was saving a Christian colony in Rawal Dam Islamabad. He was arrested in the same case in January, 2009 and was put into prison. He remained in the jail for five months and was released on bail from Islamabad High Court on June, 2009. After he was released on bail, he was appointed as security guard to Shahbaz Bhatti, a Federal Minister for minorities. After the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti on March 2011, he worked with Dr. Paul Bhatti, his brother, during this time he left no stone unturned to save the minor Christian girl Rimsha’s life. Finally his case was discharged on the baseless allegation on June, 2011. Since then, he is under constant threats. According to him, he received many threatening calls and was attacked on September 9, 2012 at Zero point Islamabad. Basharat Khokher’s car was damaged and received injuries. Later he filed a complaint in Abbpara police station, Islamabad. On December 15, 2012, the same group followed him to his house and attacked his house. He sent his family into hiding for fear his family members would be attacked again.
 
Most recently, he complained at the police station and said that on December 19, 2014 at 10:37 pm, he received a phone call from a landline number that threatened him and asked to stop raising a voice against terrorism. He said that he held candle vigil against the terrorist attack in Peshawar Army ran school, which left 147 people killed including 132 school children. The voice told him to keep in mind the scene of carnage of Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, governor Punjab.
 
This is really pathetic that we cry over spilled milk but do not take protective measures when the situation can be controlled and the life of a man can be saved. I have seen many Christian rights defenders [that are] much active on social media but there are few who really work hard to safe guard other’s rights, Basharat Khokhar is one of them, who act on the rights of Christian from foot. I think, he is an asset and human rights organizations should come in to raise a voice against the extremists who work behind the radicalism.
 
Be Blessed,
 
Shamim Masih
 
Diplomatic Correspondent, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, UN, F & S, MOST, CADD & Human Rights Activist
 
Daily Khabrian – in Urdu (PakBiz.com description – in English) & Channel – 5 (A project of Khabrian Group of papers)
 
For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending this LINK to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Include Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560
__________________________
Edited by John R. Houk
All text enclosed by brackets are added by the Editor with the hope bringing clarity from an American perspective.
 
© Shamim Masih

Threats – a Juvenile Prank or Serious Issue


Basharat Khokher - UNHCR Entrance

Shamim Masih writes about religious minorities fleeing Pakistan. Shamim enlightens us that after fleeing Pakistan their refugee status often is a harrowing experience in itself.

 

I added a couple of explanatory links that was not a part of Shamim’s original submission. As I was looking for further information I found some information I found interesting. I am going to add these as a kind of addendum after Shamim’s financial support information.

 

JRH 4/17/14

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Threats – a Juvenile Prank or Serious Issue

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 4/15/2014 10:34 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: 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 the right to expel anyone from their homeland. However, expulsion continues to take place at gun point and many a time over the lifeless bodies of loved ones. In fact 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, Sri Lanka, 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 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The Colombo Gazette reported that there are around 600 Pakistani Christians that are currently seeking asylum in Sri Lanka.

 

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 in the name of asylum in different countries. He condemns 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 [desiring return] 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 messages 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.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

________________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets indicate editorial additions of the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel – 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad.

 

FOR USD TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, NEW YORK
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQUS33
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         70008227
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527

Top of Form

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FOR GBP TRANSFER.
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Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
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Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         00010855
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR EURO TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
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Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
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Another exodus of refugees from Pakistan

 

BANGKOK – It has been a year since 14-year-old Samantha moved with her parents, elder sister and elder brother to Bangkok. She still does not clearly understand why they left their home in Lahore and moved to Thailand. All she knows is that her father was in trouble back in their hometown and some bad people wanted to kill him to avenge what they said was his unruly behaviour and remarks that he supposedly made at his workplace that resulted in a fight. In Bangkok she spends her time playing games on computer and playing with a large number of young children also from Pakistan and some Thai children that also live in the same compound. She has picked up a number of Thai words and proudly claims to be an expert in conversation with local Thai people.

Talking to this scribe the other day Samantha said she was very happy but missed her school. “Uncle nothing has changed as we eat the same Pakistani food and go to church every Sunday. I am leader among the youngsters here and they all call me deedi (elder sister),” she proudly said.

The scribe has been living with Pakistani families seeking asylum and refugee status in Thailand for more than two weeks. …  This report, however, is just based on findings in Thailand where these people are referred to as urban refugees and are mostly living in the suburbs of Bangkok.

 

Pakistani Christians in the last two years have moved in large numbers to Thailand. The problems they face at the hands of extremists are just beginning of their ordeal. Their first test comes at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports. They are asked hefty amounts to board the plane by immigration officials. On average one family of four people pay $800 to $1,000 for embarking on the plane. Mrs Sarfaraz Jacob who moved from Lahore in January with her daughter, son and daughter-in-law was offloaded for not paying the bribe. The next day she again tried and was able to negotiate their exit for $800. The officials do not take bribe in rupees and demand payment only in dollars. “I pleaded with them that the money I had was my pension and gratuity of public sector service as a teacher. They paid no heed to my requests and said I was going to seek asylum abroad,” she said. Interestingly all the travel documents and visas of these people are genuine and the authorities have no right to stop them.

 

When they arrive in Bangkok the real test begins. After filing for asylum they have to wait for nearly three to four months for call from UNHCR. They are given asylum seeking certificates. But during this period they are at risk of getting caught by local police as their visas expire after two months. They have to pay hefty amounts as bribe to cops to escape detention. After getting asylum seeking certificates then begins the wait for second call for interview which usually comes after one year, 18 months or after two years. During this period if they fall sick they can be treated at some designated hospitals after getting clearance from Bangkok Refugee Centre (from where they also get medicines for common diseases and illnesses). BRC medical unit is …

 

During the period of their application if some person falls sick and dies it becomes very difficult to bury the dead. A child of one Javed died soon after birth. It cost 1,800 bhat to get him buried. No welfare organisation helped in the burial. Sharoon Gill was a civil engineer in Pakistan. His mother passed away last December after renal failure due to depression and loneliness. His mother’s body was cremated and sent to Pakistan for burial. “My daughter and son were school going in Pakistan. Their only complaint was of not wearing uniform and attending school. They would look at Thai children in envy and used to ask me when they would go to school. Thank God now they attend school as I and my wife teach at this refugee school,” he revealed. There is donor fatigue and the local churches have also stopped supporting the asylum seekers and refugees.

 

Life is not easy for those who leave Pakistan and dream of finding peace again. Bangkok is an expensive city and they have to look after themselves for nearly three years before their refugee process is complete and they may be given the option to settle in third country by the UNHCR. They have to pay for food and lodgings. The last ordeal comes when they are ready to leave Thailand. According to local law the family must live in Immigration Detention Centre for seven days before leaving. They can escape detention by paying fine of 20,000 bhat each.

 

 

“In Thailand there are about 120,000 refugees in nine camps. Then there are about 1,000 Rohingyas. For the urban refugees we have to differentiate between asylum seekers and refugees. All asylum seekers seek refugee status but not all get that. We do individual refugee determination, which is also why it takes so long even after they get registered. It is a very intensive process. You get called in for first interview. Then it is very in-depth process, where we find out as to why did the person leave his home country.

 

 

Considering the situation it is high time for the Pakistan government to take up this issue and end the woes of minorities and ethnic groups who are persecuted by extremists in the name of religion or for their own vested interests. The solution to Pakistani refugees’ problems needs to be explored by the Pakistan government to end their medical insurance exploitation. (Another exodus of refugees from Pakistan; By EMANUEL SARFRAZ; The Nation; 3/19/14)

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PAKISTAN: Legalising prostitution — the Wisdom of the UN?!

 

According to a research, modern day trafficking, aka slavery is a $32 billion annual industry and according to the U.N. about 2.5 million people around the world are ensnared in the web of human trafficking at any given time.  The usual victims of atrocious crimes of sexual and gender based violence, including rape against women & girls (young, adolescents and teen) are poor, uneducated, rural and trafficked ones.

 

 

… According to a news report published in the Express Tribune (Pakistan) on 24, February 2014, the country may join the group of some 44 countries already on the ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ as human trafficking is rising in the country at an alarming level – the number of most-wanted human traffickers in the country has jumped from 89 to 141 in the last four years.

 

 

Ps: I want to quote Ms.Nasreen Azher, former member of the National commission on the status of Women, a renowned and highly respected woman rights activist of Pakistan who while responding to my email on this issue to some important human rights, child rights and women rights network in Pakistan wrote “I agree Rakhshanda. That the UN is even considering legalizing prostitution is outrageous. It shows how the market is ruling the world and corrupting human values and causing human suffering. The pimps, exploiters and, of course, the traffickers, as well as  those who buy sexual services should be penalized.  Thanks for sharing. Regards.Nasreen” (PAKISTAN: Legalising prostitution — the Wisdom of the UN?! By Dr.Rakhshinda Perveen; Asian Human Rights Commission; 3/25/14)

 

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REPORT: AT LEAST 700 CHRISTIAN WOMEN FORCED INTO ISLAMIC MARRIAGES YEARLY IN PAKISTAN

 

A new report reveals that at least 700 Christian women are kidnapped and forced into conversion to Islam and Islamic marriages in Pakistan each year.

 

According to the Fides agency, the Solidarity and Peace Movement, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, associations, and institutions, including the Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops, has prepared the alarming report. The report also revealed that about 300 Hindu women experience the same fate each year in Pakistan.

 

The authors of the “Forced Marriages and Forced Conversions in the Christian Community of Pakistan” report have cautioned, however, that the number of women cited is the official number of reported cases; “the true extent of the problem is probably much bigger, since many cases are not reported.”

 

The report explains that the Christian and Hindu women cited are between the ages of 12 and 25, from poor families and lower social classes. Many of the kidnappings are never filed as complaints due to fear of threats. In the cases that do make it to court, the women are often abused and intimidated, then claim they have converted and married freely, leading to the dismissal of these cases.

 

“Under the custody of the kidnapper, she may suffer sexual violence, forced prostitution, domestic abuse and beatings, if not human trafficking,” the report notes.

 

… (REPORT: AT LEAST 700 CHRISTIAN WOMEN FORCED INTO ISLAMIC MARRIAGES YEARLY IN PAKISTAN; By DR. SUSAN BERRY; wahdat News; 4/11/14)   

Judge Ordered to Demolish Slum Settlements


Islamabad Slum Street Existence

Shamim Masih writes about the conditions of slum suburbs of the Pakistan city of Islamabad AND the government intention to destroy theses slum areas and force the resident to leave. Shamim doesn’t write of the government plan to whence the poor families are to be moved except that there seems to be dialogue about making plan which really has not been developed other than destruction and eviction. The salient point is that these impoverished residents are Christians condemned by their faith to survive in the junk jobs that Muslim reject imposing a lack of education and the lack of the availability of social enhancements which degrades healthy living.

 

JRH 2/8/14

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Judge Ordered to Demolish Slum Settlements

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 2/8/2014 4:09 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Life is so precious, and everyone in the world would love to live safe and sound life but the people living suburb in Islamabad (slum areas) are forced to live this kind of life there. I feel pity to think of the circumstances they are living in, how ignorant they are of the harsh realities of life, and the struggling future they have to face, may be they would not ever get the chance to see the bright colors of life. I had been visiting the slum areas since 2009, I used to imagine about slums and people living there, all I can say, it’s pathetic life they will with. It is really eye opening to actually see how people live over there. Houses are made of mud and some with bricks and cement, unpaved streets and the living conditions are outrageous, which differentiate it from the normal living places. People inhale the toxic gases from the nearby ganda naala (seasonal drainage) and God knows how they tolerate its foul smell.

 

Most of the inhabitants are Christians, migrated from different parts of the country and have been settled here in search of jobs and for a better future for three decades. These people don’t take care of their health and hygiene. No organization works for the children like sponsoring a child’s education and nutrition expenses. On Friday, a local court ordered the Capital Development Authority (CDA) official to remove all illegalkatchi Abbadi”. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the CDA to clear all settlements from the capital within a month. There are ten colonies (slum settlements) in different sectors of the capital, like Tent colony, 66 quarters, 48 quarters, katchi abadi G-8/1, 100 quarters, France colony, Essa Nagri, Dhuke Najju, Haq bhahu, and Muslim colony. The CDA official estimated that there would be around 5000 families in and around these slums. I wonder that if the Capital Development Authority will take action as per the High Court Judge, where these five thousands families will settle. There is a need to promote responsibility and healthy behaviors among the people so as to improve the social and economic status of the people of the community. Instead they are going to demolish and [endeavor] to remove them. Human rights worker, Basharat Khokher met CDA manager, Amir Ahmed Ali and requested him to take care of the necessary measures for the displaced families. If it happens, UNHCR [Editor **: Yes I am one of those Conspiracy Theory/NWO suspicious people that has a huge distrust for anything United Nations due to Agenda 21.] should come in front and should manage the IDPs.      

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

________________________________

** UN organizations more than likely may have a short term benefit for the hopeless in poverty stricken areas outside of Western nations; nonetheless the paradigm of UN Agenda 21 is one global government to arbitrarily manage natural resources, farming, land management, population management [as in depopulating earth for better sustainability] and the revamping civil rights so as not to disobey the New World Order transformation. Yeah I know it may sound nuts, but if you read the documentation I am certain your alarm-o-meter will go off.

__________________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All links in Shamim’s report are provided by the Editor with the intention of providing context.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel – 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad.

 

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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Shamim Masih Emails


Shamim Masih

Edited by John R. Houk

Posted November 19, 2012

 

Recently I posted an article by Shamim Masih exposing Hector Aleem and probably his family of being perpetrators of hoaxes at the expense Pakistani Christians and Western Christians particularly living in the USA.

 

I was one of those that posted updates on Hector as if he was a persecuted Christian and have sent money occasionally. A few other American-Christians have questioned me if Shamim Masih was for real or just another trickster defaming the Aleems. And trust me; I have had comments that definitely surly and profane usually aimed at Hector’s primary spokesperson his daughter. I chalked up those comments to Islamic Supremacists that were displeased a Christian was supporting another Christian beyond the limits of Islamic Sharia Law.

 

Below are some Masih emails beginning with an email response to one of my queries after I first came across some of his investigative journalism pertaining to Hector Aleem. Keep in mind most of this correspondence was on the level of email brevity, which I felt needed a bit editing. I believe after you read these emails you will agree with me that Shamim Masih is a legitimate reporting journalist and that his conclusions are legitimate about Hector Aleem.

 

The issue of legitimacy is important because I did take some time to think before I posted the Aleem exposé and these emails. Hector’s daughter reads in a passionate supportive nature of her father on the facebook group Free Hector Aleem. I had to re-read Masih’s investigative facts and Hector’s daughter’s passion over a few times before I made the painstaking decision not to be supportive of Hector any longer.

 

I think that is enough said, continue on with Masih’s emails to decide for yourself if his fact finding is legitimate.

 

JRH 11/19/12

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RE: Hector Aleem Story: High Profile Hector Aleem Dragged Christian Families of Rawal Town Islamabad onto the Road

 

Shamim Masih

October 19, 2012 9:10 PM

 

Dear John Houk,

 

Greetings to you in the name of our soon coming Lord Christ Jesus.

 

I feel that you have kind heart and helping Christians in Pakistan, I am so grateful for this…. I am looking at these cases around Pakistan, and went everywhere in the corner of the country… I am a free lance journalist and social activist working for Christian’s rights.

 

My earnings are through working on assignments,

 

I worked on Asia Bibi, made documentary on Asia Bibi’s case for BBC world, I broke out the Rimsha’s news first time in Islamabad and raised a voice for her and local and international media picked it up, I have been very close to Rimsha’s case…. etc etc 

 

I am sorry, if I hurt you in any sense. 

 

I know this case and its history and Hector’s working which was never for the sake of Christians or for their rights but I didn’t write on it… by any means. I remain quiet… anyway, a God fearing American lady Susan, asked me to go and solve the case. So I tried and went into its depth, it took five months and the facts are placed in front of you people.

 

There are many things, which I didn’t write… journalism ethics.

 

I read the blog you mentioned, and if you observe, Mehwish is asking for money $300 or $400 like this… sorry to say it’s not a practice, lawyers don’t charge every time. Once the fee is decided, lawyers don’t charge on a daily basis… and for your kind information, Hector Aleem is discharged from blasphemy case; see the court order below: 

 

“In 2009, under FIR No. 767, dated 28.11.2008 under sections 295-c/109 PPC, 25-D Telegraph act, Pakistani Additional Session Judge, Muhammad Sarfraz Akhter in Rawalpindi has acquitted the accused Hector Aleem, Basharat Khokhar and Robin Masih in the same kind of case.

The court stated in its order, “in nutshell on the basis of illegalities committed by investigating agency of the police and prosecution agency the prosecution has failed to prove the charge against all the said accused persons. They are therefore, hereby acquitted of the charge.”

Now he is facing the human trafficking cases, he used to take money from the people for sending them abroad in “Peace Worldwide” name, and he used to send all Muslims to other countries not Christians…

 

Even then he can be released.

 

I have been in the same sector for the last decade and so on. I know each and everything; I can manage this issue on your part.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim

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Life Threatened for Noble Work

 

Shamim Masih

10/23/2012 9:05 PM

 

Basharat Khokhar

 

I have seen Basharat Khokher (a police constable) protecting Rimsha’s lawyer Mr. Tahir Naveed Chaudhary during court proceeding in Islamabad. He went to receive Rimsha from the jail and took her to the safest place. He had also been working as a security guard for Dr. Paul Bhatti (Minister in-charge for National Harmony) and earlier for his brother (Late) Shahbaz Bhatti (Ex. Federal Minister).

 

When Shahbaz Bhatti received threats from militants then Khokher remain a target too. He went underground after the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti. But when Rimsha’s incident happened, he became at the front foot in guarding his bosses. He is the person who went to Meharabadi people to take Rimsha’s family out of the town taking his own life at risk and took them into his custody and remains with them for APMA. Unfortunately, Dr. Paul Bhatti pulled him out from the bunch without realizing the work he has done for Rimsha’s release. When the court announced Rimsha’s release order, he went there, taking her from the jail and placed Rimsha in a safe place along with her family.

 

So extremist watched him handling all the matters gallantly, and now they are threatening him. He told me that he received life threats and thus he requested his high official to provide him life security. He showed me his application to high officials.

 

This is how the life of a person becomes miserable who work for the people who face blasphemy cases. I also found that he himself had faced a false blasphemy case and court set him free in 2009.

 

Below is the court decision:

 

Earlier in 2009, under FIR No. 767, dated 28.11.2008 under sections 295-c/109 PPC, 25-D Telegraph act, Pakistani Additional Session Judge, Muhammad Sarfraz Akhter in Rawalpindi has acquitted the accused Hector Aleem, Basharat Khokhar and Robin Masih in the same kind of case.

The court stated in its order, “in nutshell on the basis of illegalities committed by investigating agency of the police and prosecution agency the prosecution has failed to prove the charge against all the said accused persons. They are therefore, hereby acquitted of the charge.

 

Khokhar’s wife was admitted to the hospital for the last couple of months. He has to take care of her and kids at home as well. All Christians are requested to pray for safety of his life.

 

I urge the authorities in Pakistan to:

 

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats received by human rights defender Basharat Khokher, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

 

2. Take measures to ensure that government officials or other public figures refrain from making statements or declarations stigmatizing the legitimate work of human rights defenders;

 

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Pakistan are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General 

REAP
+92-300-642-4560

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Albert David

 

Chosen Vessel of Christ: Albert David

Looking for the unity among Pakistani Christians

 

Shamim Masih

Sent: 10/25/2012 7:51 PM

 

ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN, (SHAMIM MASIH): For years Pakistani Christians are passing through hardships in different situations. Since Bhutto’s regime, he nationalized all the Christian’s institutions and dragged them out of the main stream, making the constitution in 1973 according to his will.

 

He butchered the Christians in Rawalpindi near Punjab house on Aug 30, 1972, captured by force hundreds of Christian schools and colleges, confiscated church properties worth billions and got registered False, frivolous and fabricated cases against the writer of these lines and his 44 companions. We are living witnesses to this crucification (sic) of the Christians of Pakistan.

 

Gen. Zia-ul-Haq (the dictator) and his follower Mr. Nawaz Sharif stampeding his shoes and they killed many Christians with discriminatory laws 295- B, C and many other black laws Passed by them are hanging upon our heads like loaded pistols or naked swords.

 

Unfortunately many so called Christian leaders are still shaking their tails behind them, thus not knowingly they became the part of it. I have been writing for the need of unity among Christians of Pakistan. Years back I asked J. Salik (Ex. Federal Minister), Col. (R) S K Tressler (Ex. Federal Minister), and Prof. Mushataq Victor (late) (Ex. Federal Minister), to unite Pakistani Christians, but they have been playing their own cards for own sake.

 

Few months back, when Salma Peter asked me to see Albert David. It was a time when, I met a man, wearing shalwar Qameez (Pakistani dress), walking briskly towards me, he welcomed me with a smiling face and really seemed passionate. We had a short introduction session and became proverbial, like we knew each other for years.

 

Albert David had inherited politics from his father. In our first meeting he shared his ideas and his work as a social activist, which showed that his interest and arrival in politics was a well thought out and planned process. Albert has an International recognition for his cutting edge work on Forced marriages and has been conferred with MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. He was the first Pakistani Christian to have received this honor.

 

As a social activist his focus has been on child rights, especially the right to education. He has a firm believe that the education is the key if Pakistani Christians are to break the vicious cycle of poverty and oppression. Since 2002, Albert and his team at SUPPORT CHILDREN have been able to support over 4000 children (directly and indirectly) towards their education. And all of this has been achieved through the financial contribution of the local people.

 

Having developed a good understanding of the issues effecting the development of Pakistani Christians whether social or political, combined with his exposure to the national and International issues. Albert recently has decided to play a role in Pakistani politics. Though very clear about the political issues and the approach to deal with these issues, Albert has been emphasizing on the need and importance of unity among the Christians. During all interactions that I have had with him or the public events where I have had the opportunity to listen him speaking, one thing that has been consistence is his passion for unity. The conviction in his voice and the body language whilst he talks about unity clearly shows his determination and dedication for the cause. This is further supported by his communication skills; he knows his audience and delivers the message according to their intellectual needs. I have witnessed him speaking to different groups in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Pothohari with complete fluency.

 

I along with many other social and political activists have been desperately looking for someone who could conscientiously lead the Christian nation with conviction, determination and above all love and care. Albert apparently ticks all these boxes but will have to convince and prove through his actions only then he would be able to muster support for the new political initiative “PAKISTAN UNITED CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (PUCM)” [SlantRight Editor: PUCM on Facebook] that he and his team have announced to launch.

 

PUCM is being officially launched on 10th November, 2012 invitation has been extended to Christians to join hands under this umbrella and to mushroom unity.

 

Albert calls this the beginning of a new era, the start of a change. May God bless you; Albert David.

 

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General 

REAP
+92-300-642-4560

++++++++++++++++++++++

Three pastors from the home town of Rimsha perplexed about religious liberty

 

Shamim Masih

Sent: 11/2/2012 12:43 PM

 

ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN, (SHAMIM MASIH):  A few weeks back I wrote an article about the root cause of the Rimsha case [SlantRight Editor: My last post on Rimsha Masih], when Qari Muhammad Khalid Chishti was released on bail against surety bond of worth Rs. 200,000/-

 

Let me remind you his statement on this issue printed in all English Papers of Islamabad on August 25, 2012, “Christian community had previously caused antagonism by playing music in services at their makeshift church during Muslim prayer time and said burning the pages was deliberate. “They committed this crime to insult us further. This happened because we did not stop their anti-Islam activities before,” he said. “Last Christmas, they played musical instruments and there was vulgarity in the streets during our prayer time. I warned them but they did not stop.”

 

During his sermon at Friday prayers, Chishti told worshipers it was “time for Muslims to wake up” and protect the Holy Quran.  (The Express, Tribune 25th August, 2012)

 

Based on his perspicacity the whole case was planted, on August 16, when Muslim extremist raised their voice against the Christians Meharabadi, Pastor Arif Shalokh – Calvary Charismatic Church, Islamabad escaped taking his family at 2 in the night wondering in the streets of Islamabad.

 

Pastor Arif ShalokhAccording to Pastor Arif, he has been serving the Lord for the last 15 years, Rimsha and her family was the member of the same church. Pastor Arif was in rented house and has been using a hall for church service. In that vicinity more than 35 families were his church members. He said he used to visit Rimsha & family occasionally. We Christians are humble and peace loving people and can’t even imagine insulting others.

 

Answering to the question raised by Qari Muhammad Khalid Chishti he said Church services normally start at 10 am and finish till 12 o clock, so during these hours there is no Azan or Muslim’s prayer time, so how come Christian’s disturb them during their prayer. Thus this is baseless and as for as vulgarity is concerned we are the part of this culture, so we are aware of our ritual and rights. Qari Khalid belongs to extremists group and he has been blaming on Christians since he is inducted in the mosque.

 

After resettling there when they started there worship session on Sunday, 7th October, they were not allowed to worship during Sunday services, so they went to the administration and filed an application to DCO. Assistant commissioner (AC) Islamabad had marked their application to SHO police station Ramna G-11 for the investigation and to report her promptly. A month later we are still hanging on dates.

 

Pastor Yousaf Masih – International Gospel Assemblies (IGA) has been working among Christians for years and having more than 100 families in his congregation. Pastor Yousaf Masih – International Gospel Assemblies (IGA)

 

Talking to BPCA representative in Pakistan, he said that since this incident happened most of the Christians families have left their houses on the same night. I have looking after them with the available resources, and once most of the families are back in the town, we arranged the Sunday Service in a house but our landlord didn’t allow us to worship even in our houses.

 

We ask the administration where is our religious liberty, on August 11, 1947 address of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to the members of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, to the status of a national covenant. That it has taken more than 50 years to reach such a conclusion is indeed most intriguing. In that address the Quaid said, among other things, the following:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State… We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State… I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”

 

Where is our right, we are Pakistani and have sacrificed for the country, why these fundamentalist are imposing Islamic culture on us.

 

Pastor Shahid Gill – Living Branch Church IslamabadPastor Shahid Gill – Living Branch Church Islamabad working in Mehrabadi for the last 3 and half years. He is having more than fifty families in his church. Talking about the religious freedom he said that we ask our landlord to construct the church building and we had paid him 5 years advance but since the incident happened, our landlord Malik Parvaiz had back out from the agreement and told us to leave the house. He has not even paid of[f] our advance so far. When we are not allowed to worship freely, how can we survive there?

 

It is clearly seen that there are some people in the country who claim the ownership, while they forget that people from other religion are Pakistani too. All Pakistanis have the right to perform their religious duties according to their religion, under the light of Quaid-e-Azam speech on 11 August [SlantRight Editor: Here is reference to the speech].

 

We all request to UN to intercede into the matter and ask Pakistani government to give us religious freedom.

 

Pictures: Pastor Arif, Pastor Yousaf, & Pastor Shahid Gill

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rimsha Masih photos

Update about Rimsha case

Islamabad High Court reserves verdict on plea seeking to Rismsha’s case dismissal

 

Shamim Masih

Sent: 11/14/2012 4:02 AM

[SlantRight Editor: My last update on Rimsha]

 

ISLAMABAD PAKISTAN (SHAMIM MASIH): Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its verdict on an application from Rimsha council Abdul Hameed Rana seeking to dismiss the Rimsha case on Wednesday 14 November 2012.

 

Abdul Hameed Rana (Rimsha’s lawyer) appeared before the chief justice IHC Mr. Iqbal Hameed Rehman taking his plea for Rimsha. He said that the honorable court has seen all the evidences and it’s been proven that the case was totally fabricated against the Christian girl of 14, Rimsha. Nothing has been proven so far so he requested the court to dismiss the case.

 

The opponent council Ch. Abdul Aziz has also given his arguments in the court today.

 

After hearing an hour discussion, the chief justice high court has reserved it verdict on an application seeking to dismiss the Rimsha case.

 

Rimsha, a 14 years Christian girl, was arrested from a suburb of Islamabad in blasphemy case on August 16 and after three weeks she was released on bail on 8th September, 2012. Rimsha and her family, who have been in fear for their lives since the blasphemy allegations, were placed to an undisclosed location after her release on bail on September 8.

 

 

Pictures: Shamim talking to the council of Rimsha Abdul Hameed Rana today in the IHC

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General 

REAP
+92-300-642-4560

_____________________________

There is slight editing by John R. Houk with the attempt to preserve the English-Pakistan accent. I pray the changes do not change the original intent of Shamim Masih.

It Appears I May have been Wrong about Hector Aleem


Hector Aleem Family

John R. Houk

© November 16, 2012

 

About a week ago I noticed an update from the Facebook group Free Hector Aleem. I admit I have been hesitant to post it. Here is why.

 

I noticed an article written by Shamim Masih that appeared to be a balanced report that focused on Hector Aleem. Here is a brief profile Masih I found at one his articles found at Salem-News.com.

 

I am Christian rights activist and freelancer Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christians rights for the different papers in the world. My aim is to create a peaceful environment in the society and to help eliminate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world.”

 

Shamim Masih was born in Sheikhopura’s village and raised in Gujranwala, a city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors (sic) Degree from the University of the Punjab, Lahore majoring in English, Economics and Statistics; he also received a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

 

Shamim’s diverse working experience includes banking and finance; serving as a social worker/counselor in interfaith harmony, Christian Solidarity activism and he is a writer and author.

 

He began working in the social sector in 2003; from 2009 onward it has been a full time role for Shamim. He has done fund raising for earthquake affected people; Shamim reached the affected areas in Pakistan in 2005 and supplied the necessary required material to the people of Toba Tak Sigh affected in 2009. He has have visited the slum settlement and established the stitching and beauticians centers in different areas of the Islamabad.

 

As a freelance writer and author, Shamim has written for different papers in the world; his expertise is in writing articles highlighting different social issues. He has served as freelance chief reporter and column writer in “Minority Times” in Islamabad, and a number of Shamim’s articles have been published in local papers as well. (From Salem-News.com Staff Page – scroll down – Masih’s profile is at the bottom)

 

 

As of this writing I do not remember the exact article that I read so I Googled Masih and Hector Aleem. Here is the investigative report posted by Shamim Masih on Hector Aleem.

 

[SlantRight Editor: More from Shamim Masih about either Hector Aleem or legitimate persecution of Christians in Pakistan to be forth coming.]

 

JRH 11/16/12

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High Profile Hector Aleem Dragged Christian Families of Rawal Town Islamabad onto the Road

 

Displaced families of Rawal Town dwelling under the sky; cold could be hard to live for them.

 

By Shamim Masih

Oct-18-2012 01:08

Salem-News.com

 

Displaced families members of Rawal Town claiming for rights and Shamim at far right

Displaced families members of Rawal Town claiming for rights and Shamim at far right

 

 

(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) – Pakistani police have arrested a Christian human rights activist after a member of militant Islamic organization accused him of sending a blasphemous text message from his cell phone.

 

Hector Aleem, 55, the director of a non-governmental organization, Peace Worldwide, is said to have raised a voice for the local Christians, who were locked in a land dispute with Capital Development Authority (CDA). Demolition of a church built at the controversial property of Park Road Rawal Town added to the ongoing tension.

 

Kausur Hector, wife of the fresh blasphemy accused told the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) that elements unhappy with Hector’s intervention in the church property case have “trapped him” in a false blasphemy case. (ANS reported in 2009)

 

Facts behind the story:

 

A God fearing lady, Susan from USA, wrote me an email in May, 2012, let me give you her statement “I got to know the Aleems, through a friend of a friend. They are friends with Melanie Woods. I happen across their situation through Melanie, starting exchanging messages through face-book with Hector’s kids. They are delightful young adult kids, who love the Lord. I pray for them, encourage them and help in other ways when I can

 

Please investigate for me about Hector Aleem and get back to me please? The family seems to be in a difficult situation, Hector has been in jail since 2009. I am pretty sure; they live not far from Islamabad Pakistan. I am not real familiar with Islamabad; I do not know how close you and the Aleems are. Since I have your permission, I will pass on your phone number to them. I look forward to hearing from you”

 

Since I got this email we exchanged views through emails’ and on her request I went to investigate the matter and bringing the fact found behind the scene:

 

Findings:

 

According to Basharat Khokher, Hector Aleem was running an organization with the name “peace worldwide” and produced good repute worldwide on the name of helping the poor Christians in Pakistan but the facts behind this were bitter to chew”. He has been involved in many unethical activities which brought him to this stage now.

 

In 2008, he was involved in the land mafia group and grabbed the piece of land in Rawal Town, Islamabad unlawfully and taking money from the poor Christians he made them to sit on piece of land, which he did not own or bought for them but of government’s land. He made a church there unlawfully to have sympathy of the world with him. He called many Christians families from different cities of the country to Islamabad. Poor Christians far from different villages came there and become the pray of his ensnare. He took Rs.3500/ from 1000 families on the name of registration for the land and thus collected Rs. 35, 00,000/- from the poor Christians.

 

On August 09, 2008 a delegation from the government include Mumtaz Alam Gillanin (Minister Human Rights), joint secretary Khalid Amin and Farid Khan (secretary), Khush Dil khan (Deputy Secretary) came to him on the piece of the land he was holding unlawfully to negotiate and to provide the alternate land for the poor Christian families.

 

But the stubborn Hector Aleem didn’t listen to them; he went to Prime Minister of Pakistan at that time Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani who showed his sympathy towards poor Christians and made a committee to investigate the issues raised by him intentionally.

 

Meanwhile Hector took passports from few Christians include Bashaarat Khokhar working for him promising them to visa stamp for abroad.

 

A committee includes Dr. Moen Masood (SSP) Ishaq Warraich (DSP) and few other officials went to investigation and found him guilty.

 

Chief Minister Punjab took action against them in November 2008 and police arrested Christians involved in it including, Basharat Khokher, David Akmal, Arif, Qazi Asharaf, Hanok Bhatti and Hector Aleem.

 

Hector Aleem than planned a false story involving his Muslim friends to file an FIR against him of a blasphemy case, in which he took Basharat Khokher with him.

 

“I have been falsely implicated in a blasphemy case. I am a human rights activist. How could I hurt feelings of Muslim brothers? I never used SMS for any kind of purpose,” Hector Aleem told the CLAAS fact-finding team.

 

And then he intentionally knotted his so called spokesman Basharat Khokher saying he has been using my cell phone and he may have done this.

 

Government took action against all the Christians families living there unlawfully and dispersed denizen. Those innocent Christians families were pulled down from the land and have been wondering in the cold winter session of Pakistan from one place to another.

 

Displaced Christian’s families then moved on the road track of sector G-7 Islamabad and Julius Salik (Ex. Federal Minister) plunged into the matter and requested the official to provide them an independent piece of land.

 

J. Salik then left the displaced families on the track and went on his way, luckily Mr. Akram Masih Gill became the member national assembly and he took those families and settled down them on CDA land in H-9 sector Islamabad.

 

Since then, displaced Christians of Rawal Town are living under the sky; they are not allowed to construct a roof for them there. They are living there in tents since 2009, with no water provision, no electricity, and no sewerage system. On my way to finding the displaced families of Rimsha case, I went there and found them living in pathetic situation ever since then.

 

Observation:

 

When I went in interviewing the different people to reach the facts, I met many peoples, Christians and Muslims as well. Based on the statements of different people, I can say that Hector Aleem has no sympathy for Christian people but greed of money and power. He or his family has no interaction with Christian people in Pakistan. His family is still mixed up Muslims and feels comfortable with them, but claiming the world and gaining benefits from the Christians in the world on the name of Christianity. He had been involved in unethical activities and human trafficking. There are cases pending against him of human trafficking and he is not paying them off the money he took from them on the name of sending them abroad. In 2009, one of his close friend who requested not mention his name said, he was neither sincere to Christians to his Muslim friends. Now I can just pray for him and his family, and I pray to God to forgive him for his wrong doings.

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© 2011 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.