Silencing the Dissent


Repressing Free Speech

Minorities are still being persecuted in Sunni Islam-dominated Pakistan. This is especially the case for Pakistan’s Christian minority. Adding to the repression is a process of silencing online social media.

 

JRH 8/10/16

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Silencing the Dissent

 

By Shamim Mahmoud

Sent 8/8/2016 5:32 PM

 

Pakistani minorities under the leadership of Federal Minister for Human Rights, Kamran Michael are planning to celebrate Minorities’ Day on August 11. The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) former government had declared August 11 as minorities’ day; however, some minority groups chose to observe August 11 as black day to register their protest over the abuse of minority rights. Following the footsteps of the PPP government the present PML-N government has also announced to dedicate August 11 as minorities day.

 

On August 11, 1947, the founder of the nation Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah had announced the freedom for the minorities living in new born Pakistan. But it is very unfortunate that after sixty-nine years, Pakistan is ranked sixth on the list of the countries where Christians are most persecuted, according to the World Watch List 2016.

 

The survey conducted by Open Doors, an organization working to help persecuted Christians and churches worldwide, highlights the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as Christians. The report found that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws continue to be abused to settle personal scores, particularly against minorities, including Christians. A Christian couple was thrown into the brick kiln where they worked and burned to death after being accused of blasphemy, orphaning their four children. Two churches in Lahore were bombed, killing 25 people and wounding dozens. An estimated 700 Christian girls and women are abducted every year and often then raped and forcibly married to Muslims,” the report added.

 

The list ranks North Korea as the most oppressive place in the world to live as a Christian. It adds that in 2015, the persecution grew most rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa, while in the Middle East Islamic States and Pakistan violence increased the migration of the Christian population from the region. The index measures the degrees of freedom that Christians have to express their faith in six spheres- private, family, community, national and church life, while also measuring levels of violence.

 

The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance has released its annual report for 2015 and showed serious concerns over the minorities’ situation in Pakistan, especially the issues pertaining to the country’s blasphemy laws. Giving reference of the assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti for raising their voices against the blasphemy laws in Pakistan, especially in the Asia Bibi case. The report expressed that although the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a positive development has expressed its concerns about widespread misuse of blasphemy laws and issued a detailed judgment warning against false blasphemy accusations and stating that in Islam a false accusation can be as serious as blasphemy itself, but unfortunately, criticizing the reforms to blasphemy laws in public was still dangerous in any Pakistan society. The report further stated that terrorist groups like Taliban have continued to severely persecute religious minorities, especially the Christian community, considering it an agent of the West and in revenge of the western intervention such as US drone strikes in Pakistan areas. The report also gave the reference of blasts and firing in churches in Youhanabad and Iqbal Park on the eve of Easter celebrations.

 

Earlier hundreds of the Christians houses in Gojra and Joseph Colony, Lahore were set ablaze. And twin blasts in Peshawar Church killed at least 80 and hundred were injured.

 

Where is Quaid’s Pakistan?

 

The report further disclosed that due to religious persecution, around 11,000 Christians are seeking asylum in Thailand. A Hindu parliamentarian claimed that 5000 Hindus emigrate from Pakistan every year due to discriminatory treatment, forced conversions and fears of their safety. The report stated that in the months of April and May 2016, it was also reported that as many as 18 Christians’ girls were kidnapped and forcefully converted in the Punjab province alone.

 

Due to the religious persecution thousands of Christian families are looking for their future in Thailand. It is pertinent to mention that European countries do not encourage Pakistani Christian visitors. Even these countries adopt stricter policy when find the applicant from the same faith. Most recently “World Youth Day 2016” was held in Poland and reportedly there were more than six thousands of applicants but the Poland embassy rejected a maximum amount of visa applications on frivolous grounds and granted only 400 – 500 visas to Pakistani Christians. The weird part of the story is that journalists’ visa applications were denied without any cogent reasons.  The officials in EU countries on the condition of anonymity said the visa officers had orders from the “higher level” to reject the maximum number of visas from the Christians background. It means, poor Pakistani Christians face the same behavior from the either side.

 

Cyber Crime Bill 2015

 

The Cyber Crime Bill 2015, tabled by the Minister of State for IT aims at regulating the online conduct of individuals/organizations. The Bill passed by the Senate now awaits final approval by the NA [National Assembly] before the president enacts it into law. The controversial Bill has been criticized by the IT industry and civil society for curbing human rights and giving enormous power to law enforcement agencies. It certainly intended to leash in the power of social media, given its increasingly transformational role in shaping public opinion and holding rulers accountable. No doubt, it aims silencing the dissent.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondent

Islamabad

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

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.

Shamim Masih 4

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

+92-300-642-4560

__________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All text enclosed by brackets as well as source links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

About Shamim excerpted from a past email:

 

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.

 

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

 

Shamim Mahmood correspondence photo

 

Diplomatic Correspondent

Daily Times, Islamabad

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

Blogger and Human Rights Activist

http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

+92-300-642-4560

_______________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All links or text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood (Masih)

Introducing Shamim’s Christian Advocacy in Pakistan


John R. Houk

© May 26. 2016

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Shamim Mahmood writes of potential solutions to alleviate discrimination by the Sunni Muslim majority against Pakistan’s Christian minority.

 

Pakistani-Christians are horrendously persecuted in Pakistan via both extra-legal (e.g. terrorism and prejudice) and legal paths primarily through enacted Blasphemy Laws in this Islamic Republic. More egregiously the Blasphemy Laws are used as an instrument of false accusations for various reasons such as revenge, monetary extortion, property acquisition and such nefarious evil designs by Muslims against Christians.

 

Shamim is a great brother in Christ; however, his faith in the historical promise of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah of equal rights for all of Pakistan’s religious minorities. Particularly after Jinnah’s death untimely right after Pakistan’s 1947 birth made the equal rights promise a historical delusion. It is my humble opinion that the declaration of an Islamic Republic meant that religious minorities not bowing as dhimmis to Sunni Muslims made an equal rights promise a delusion.

 

Muslim love of the Quran that tells them to physically coerce non-Muslims through humiliation to convert or to kill them if they insult Islam or its pseudo-prophet Mohammed is a dooms day promise toward Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.

 

A Muslim apologist will tell a Christian that Islam is peace and makes provision for the People of the Book which are Jews and Christians. And indeed the Quran has those provisions. Unfortunately, those provisions of the Quran spoken by Mohammed were abrogated by the Islamic prophet after the conquest of Medina. Mohammed grew weary of courting the favor of Jews and Christians and sadly and suddenly the moon-deity Allah began telling Mohammed to subject Christians and Jews in humiliation even death for insults. (Later one of four honored Caliph’s that assumed the reins of power after Mohammed’s death figured out how to sustain the then Muslim minority with a stinging protection tax. Failure to pay meant death.) Thus it became an insult for a Christian to proclaim Jesus the Son of God who died on a cross and was resurrected by the Father in bodily form at oneness with the Father and Holy Spirit.

 

Quotes of Quran from “The Quran and Christianity” (6/23/16):

 

In the Quran, Christians are generally referred to as “people of the book” and then in the various suras and ayahs (or chapters and verses) a number of references are made. In 2:120, “Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion. Say: ‘Verily, Islamic Guidance is the only Guidance. And if you were to follow their desires after what you have received of Knowledge, then you would have against Allah neither any protector nor helper.”

In 3:56: “As to those who disbelieve, I will punish them with a severe torment in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.” In 3:85: “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.” In 3:118: “O you who believe! Take not as your helpers or friends those outside your religion since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed we have made plain to you the verses if you understand.”

3:178 states: “And let not the disbelievers think that our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness. And for them is a disgracing torment.” Hardly encouraging for the basis for a peaceful co-existence and a comfortable pluralism.

 

Here are some Quran quotes in “Does The Quran Mention Jesus? What Do Muslims Believe About Jesus?”:

 

Muslims reject the idea that Jesus was God and consider the belief blasphemous (Sura 5:75).  Islam says that Jesus was an apostle of Allah just like all the other apostles of Allah (Sura 5:78).  The Qur’an says that anyone who believes Jesus is “the Son of God” is imitating “what the unbelievers of old used to say.  God’s curse be on them; how they are deluded away from the Truth” (Sura 9:30). …

 

 

Islam says that Jesus was never crucified on a cross

 

There are several competing theories put forth by different Muslim scholars concerning Jesus and the cross.  Nevertheless, they all contain the belief that Jesus did not die on the cross for the sins of the world…or anything else (Sura 4:157).

Here are some Quran quotes from “JESUS THE “SON” OF GOD”:

 

Muhammad, the founder of Islam, misunderstood what the term “Son of God” meant with respect to Christianity.  He thought of it only in terms of sexual reproduction, i.e. that God fathered a child through sexual intercourse with Mary.  Therefore he spoke out against it.

 

Christians also reject that God had physical intercourse with Mary, but we understand Christ being God’s Son as an analogical term.  We believe that the eternal Son of God, one with the Father from all eternity, united to Him in one Spirit, “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and took “the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).  We believe in the incarnation of the Son of God.

 

Muhammad did hear the Christians proclaim Jesus the Messiah as God’s Son, but understanding or not, he specifically denied that Jesus was the Son of God.  He said in the Quran,

 

Sura 2:116 – “They say:  “God has begotten a son”.   Glory be to Him.  No, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth:  everything renders worship to Him.”

 

and,

 

Sura 9:30 – “The Christians say the Messiah is the Son of God, that is a saying from their mouths.”

 

Muhammad was unable to distinguish between the Christian belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Arab Pagan belief in idols as offspring of God, i.e., Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat, (these were idols worshipped around Mecca as daughters of the supreme God – or Allah).   Muhammad misunderstood that Christians in no way consider Jesus – the Son of God, in the same way the Arab Pagans understood their idols.

 

I think you get the idea. There will never be equal rights for a Christian residing in a nation in which the Quran and Sharia Law define culture and society and its rule of law.

 
That’s my take though and not Shamim’s.

Should Shamim give up and quite being a Rights Advocate for Pakistani-Christians? ABSOLUTELY NOT! On Christ’s ascension to the right hand of the Father He gave a message to the disciples who were the minority of their faith in their day:

 

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

 

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[b] (Matthew 28: 16—20 NKJV)

 

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[a] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

 

19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.[b] (Mark 16: 14-20 NKJV)

 

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them,“Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

 

40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.[a]41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.[b] 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

 

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

 

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[c] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24: 36-47 NKJV)

 

AND this is why Shamim Mahmood should NEVER stop being a Christian Rights Advocate among a Muslim Sunni majority that have been taught to hate non-Muslims their entire lives.

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan by Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination Islamabad. Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

JRH 5/26/16

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Way Out to Long Sufferings

Join hands to save the lives of Pakistani Christians

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent: 5/25/2016 9:47 PM

 

Islamabad (Shamim Masih):

 

7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Exodus 1:7-10)

 

The world has seen surly seen the oppression of Christians living in Pakistan. Since Zia’s regime, there are more than 1400 blasphemy cases registered and thousands of the Christians girls have faced force conversions and huge numbers of persecution cases were registered against religious minorities. According to the sources more than sixty people accused of blasphemy were killed before their respective trials were over though the death sentence has never been implemented.

 

Affected before partition of Indo-Pak, this section was introduced in 1860 [Blog Editor: See the PDF “Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan: A Historical Overview” Beginning page 9 for British 1860 blasphemy law & Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860)] and was meant to prevent religious violence. Prior to 1986, only 14 cases pertaining to blasphemy were reported. But later it is being used to settle personal secures. And thus minorities of the country have been facing persecution under this unsympathetic blasphemy law.

 

To me persecution of Pakistani Christians is aligned with other issues as well, like poverty. There are different options to get rid of long sufferings. Being an optimist, here are few recommendations, and I feel this is workable and can minimize the level of persecution. Major portion of this marginalized community lives in outskirts under/below the poverty line. Ninety percent of poor girls work as maids and thus become the victims of domestic violence or being raped. This leads to being forcefully married and are asked [Blog Editor: more often forced] to convert to Islam. A major portion of the youth are unemployed or work as laborers with a low salary or bonded labor. Practically speaking, any Christian working under Muslim bosses face discrimination in/on a regular basis. Even Isfan Yar Bhandara [or Isphanyar M. Bhandara] (minority parliamentarian) confessed that minority parliamentarians receive discriminatory development funds [Blog Editor: 2 articles on discriminatory practices with Development Funds – HERE & HERE] in the lower house.

 

Education is the first and foremost priority, go to school is a right of every child and to ensure the provision of an education facility can fix the problem. Church based institutions and other buildings can be used to educate the Christian community. Big donor agencies can take this initiative and I assure you after fifteen years, things would miraculously change. Drop out ratio has gone higher ever since the standard of the public school education cannot meet the required result and education at private sector is much expensive.

 

So provision of better employment opportunities to the marginalized segment of society is the only solution for a better future. There are a number of measures one can take to save their skin. For example; providing small loans in establishing their own businesses in livestock, petty trading, agriculture, stitching, embroidery, handicrafts and small scale rural manufacturing can raise the living standard of the poor population. This will help them start earning on their own instead of relying continuously on cash grants by some donor agencies/church based organizations. Any interest free loan scheme can alleviate unemployment and poverty from this marginalized segment.

 

There may be some organizations working on the same issues but we need to take as a challenge and start working at broader level. Otherwise there are a number of options youth can choose on their own, that may be destructive not constructive. So I suggest constructive measures can save Pakistani Christians as a sense of deprivation is prevailing among the Christian youth in Pakistan. And it’s an alarming situation.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

 

SUPPORT Shamim’s Christian advocacy in Pakistan by Western Union sending money with this LINK to the destination Islamabad. Shamim’s email is shamimpakistan@gmail.com, Western Union may ask for Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

 

Diplomatic Correspondent

Daily Times, Islamabad

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

Blogger and Human Rights Activist

http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

______________________

Introducing Shamim’s Christian Advocacy in Pakistan

John R. Houk

© May 26. 2016

_____________________

Way Out to Long Sufferings

 

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets are by the Editor. Links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood (Masih)

Christian Girl Abducted in Broad Daylight


Christian girls Kidnapped and forced Muslim Marriage

Christian-Pakistani young woman was kidnapped in Pakistan then forced to convert to Islam followed by a forced marriage. Shamim Mahmood (Masih) submitted this news. Here are some links with similar information but with tidbits of further details if you look at them:

 

Christian family ‘devastated’ after daughter, 24, is kidnapped on the streets of Pakistan and forced to marry a Muslim man; Daily Mail; 5/16/16 12:06 EST – UPDATED 5/18/16 03:04 EST

 

Brazen abduction of Christian girl in broad daylight by two masked Muslim men sparks concern over her safety! BPCA; 5/16/16

 

Christian woman ‘snatched off street and forced to wed Muslim but police won’t make kidnappers free her’; Daily Mirror; 5/18/16 17:53 – UPDATED 5/18/16 19:27

 

Pakistan: Christian woman abducted and forced to marry Muslim kidnapper; Christian Today; 5/17/16

 
Christian Woman in Pakistan Kidnapped, Forced To Marry Muslim Captor, Family Devastated: ‘Jesus is The Center of Her Life’; The Gospel Herald; 5/17/16 12:53 PM EDT

 

Christian girl, abducted in Pakistan last year, forced to marry Muslim captor; Deccan Chronical; 5/17/16 2:57 pm IST

 

Below is Shamim’s version.

 

JRH 5/17/16

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Christian Girl Abducted in Broad Daylight

In Christian Populated Area of Lahore

 

Maryam Mushtaq - kidnapped by Muslim in Lahore Maryam Mushtaq – The Victim

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent: 5/16/2016 9:05 PM

 

Islamabad (Shamim Masih): It was broad daylight, on Thursday, May 12, 2016; a 24 year-old Christian divorced woman was kidnapped whilst returning home from Excel Education School, an adult learning center in Bihar Colony Kot Lakhpat, Lahore. She joined this institution and started learning only few months back, as Maryam Mushtaq decided to educate herself to help her family out of poverty that she might be able to earn a higher wage. She was undertaking a very basic level Matriculation education (GCSE standard) and was hoping to progress onto further education for an eventual full-time career in teaching.

 

On the sad day, around at 13:30 hours whilst she was walking back to her house with her younger brother Rohail Mushtaq (11 years) and Maryam was fully force grabbed by two Muslim men with their faces covered with masks. The abductors bundled Maryam into the back of a white Toyota Corolla, Licence plate LEA -5393. The men hurled abuse at young Rohail and threatened violence if he intervened and the young man simply froze in fear. However, two men on motorcycles saw the abduction and chased the vehicle but sadly the kidnappers escaped.

 

Mussarat Mushtaq - mother of Christian kidnap victim

 Mussarat Mushtaq – mother of Christian kidnap victim

Mussarat Mushtaq (53 years), the mother of Maryam reported the abduction to local police at Liaquatabad Police Station and registered a first incident report (FIR). Police initiated an investigation on the license plate of the vehicle and then phoned the owner. After two days on 14th May 2015 Police called Mussarat to the police station explained to the family that Maryam had been married to a 32 year-old Muslim man Muhammad Ali and showed certificates of Maryam’s marriage to her.  Cases like this are normally rejected outright however due to a number of witnesses having observed the crime; it seems Police had no option but to register a crime.

 

ID card for the kidnapper Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali ID – Muslim Abductor

 

 

Marriage Certificate or FIR (Can't read Urdu)

I don’t read Urdu – Either an FIR or Marriage Certificate

Mussarat told that “Three years ago my husband died of cancer, two years ago Maryam’s sister died. Now kidnappers have taken away my daughter, I am devastated. Maryam was a good intelligent hard working girl, she went back to college to improve her chances for employment so that she could support her family. The kidnappers have destroyed her future.  Maryam had a good relationship with her brother Rohail and remaining sister Khusboo (23 years), they would know if she had been interested in this man. None of them have ever even seen him before. Maryam like the rest of us attends church every week there is no way she would give up her whole life and salvation to marry a Muslim man. Jesus has always been the centre of her life.”

I met the investigating officer Mohammed Razaq, who told him that police were taking this kidnap case very seriously.

“Police are following through on a kidnap and forced marriage charges and are bringing Maryam and Muhammed Ali to the local court in the next few days, for an initial hearing. However, Maryam, has not been removed from the clutches of Muhammed Ali and it is feared she will be coerced into stating she is in a lawful marriage. The fact that she has been found so quickly is advantageous as the pressure applied by the abductors will be minimal; moreover, the daylight abduction yielded a number of material witnesses.”

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:

“Yet again an innocent Christian girl has been kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriage.  We do not know the depravity or the brutality she has had to face but her entrapment will have a sordid edge to it no doubt. Police have responded relatively quickly, but had to in circumstances of traumatic daylight abduction that was witnessed by many. The abductors are known and yet the girl still has not been returned to the family and it is feared that corrupt police could collude with the kidnappers if bribed significantly.  A justice system that does not permit the release of an abductee to her family is indicative of a flawed and failing rule of law.

 

May God grant this poor woman freedom and a chance to fulfill her ambition of becoming a teacher, where she might be able to teach love and hope where so much cruelty exists.”

The family has requested help with legal counsel for Maryam and a safe relocation whiles the lethargic legal process of Pakistan, slowly proceeds. The initial solicitors’ fee will be $500 and a safe house for 3 months will be in the region of $300 per month. If you would like to help with a donation, please contact at shamimpakistan@gmail.com **

 

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

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

Shamim Mahmood correspondence photo

Diplomatic Correspondent

Daily Times, Islamabad

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

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

 

___________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced by brackets and some links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

FRESH CALL FOR RELEASE OF ASIA BIBI


Asia Bibi

Intro to ‘Fresh Call for Release of Asia Bibi’

By Dan Wooding
Intro by John R. Houk, blog Editor

May 17, 2016

 

If you read this blog you may have run into some occasional posts about Pakistani-Christian Asia Bibi sentenced to death for defending Christianity from Muslim bigot gals at a well after demonstrations of Asia for drinking out of the Muslim well after some laborious work. In Pakistan they call that blasphemy. A blasphemy charge is punishable in the Pakistan rule of law by a death sentence. Asia Bibi has been on death row awaiting the sentence of hanging to be carried out if Western nations fail to pressure the Pakistan government. She has been in a hostile to Christians-hostile prison since about 2009 and on death row since 2011.

 

The Oxford Human Rights Hub briefly describes Pakistan’s blasphemy law and briefly describes the unfair way Asia Bibi’s unfair trial presentation even according to Pakistan jurisprudence:

 

Section 295-C criminalizes words, representations, imputations, innuendos, or insinuations, which directly or indirectly, lead to “defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet” (PBUH). If proven, the offence carries a mandatory death penalty. As is evident from a plain reading of the provision, elements of the offence are vague and over-broad, open to subjective interpretations, and give virtually no instruction to the public, law enforcement officials or the judiciary regarding what behavior is prohibited.

 

During proceeding’s in Asia bibi’s case, for example, there was no debate about which of the three alleged statements were blasphemous, what the “reasonable person” standard required to be met in the interpretation of Section 295-C was, or whether Asia bibi possessed the requisite criminal intent to commit the crime. Yet, she was convicted for blasphemy and sentenced to death. (Asia Bibi’s “Unfair Trial”; By Admin.; Oxford Human Rights Hub; 8/10/15)

 

One source’s description of an idiotic blasphemy violation:

 

Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian and mother of five.  She helped feed and support her family by working in fields picking berries, working alongside Muslim women in Punjab province.  Asia’s was one of three Christian families in a town of 1,500 Muslim families.  As many readers can imagine, the Christians lived, and continue to live, with constant abuse, harassment, and threats.

 

One day while working in the field, Asia became thirsty.  She walked to a well and drank some water from a small metal cup set nearby.  A Muslim women saw her do this and spread the word among the other Muslims in the field.  As a kafir, Asia was not allowed to drink from the same place as Muslims drink using the same cup they use.  As a kafir, she was considered filth, and the cup was now tainted.

 

The Muslim women in the field surrounded Asia, verbally abused her, and insisted she convert to Islam immediately.  Asia said, as she had said so many times before: “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.  He died on the cross for me.”  The Muslim women became enraged.  That evening, a mob of Muslims converged on Asia’s house, where they beat her and her family.

 

Eventually the police arrived and put her in prison to protect her from the mob.  Shortly thereafter, the police arrested her after discovering that she had committed blasphemy.  Because Pakistani courts follow sharia law, a non-Muslim’s testimony carries half the weight as that of a Muslim.  As a result, Asia couldn’t adequately defend herself.  (The crime of blasphemy is so grave that reporters refused to repeat her testimony for fear they would be accused of blasphemy.) (Who is Asia Bibi, and why should we care? By Carol Brown; American Thinker; 11/3/15)

 

Below is as an update about Asia Bibi’s continued persecution by Dan Wooding of Assist News Service.

 

See Voice of the Persecuted Asia Bibi tag

 

JRH 5/17/16

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FRESH CALL FOR RELEASE OF ASIA BIBI

 

By Dan Wooding

May 16, 2017 22:35

Assist News Service

 

AUSTRALIA (ANS – May 16, 2016) — The Primate of Australia, Archbishop Philip Freier, has increased the pressure on Pakistan over their continued detention of Pakistan Christian mother, Asia Asia_Bibi 2Bibi, under the country’s much criticized blasphemy laws, by writing to Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Australia, Naela Chohan, and Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, about the case.

 

Last month, members of the Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, called for a fresh investigation into her case, leading to her “honorable acquittal.” Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010, after being accused of insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed after she took a sip from a drinking vessel before handing it to her Islamic colleagues.

 

“It is clear that a disgraceful application of Pakistan’s blasphemy law, 295c, has brought tragedy and shame upon [Asia Bibi] and indeed the beautiful nation of Pakistan,” Archbishop Freier later wrote on his blog, in an article republished by ACNS (http://www.anglicannews.org/comment/2016/05/free-asia-bibi.aspx).

 

In his letter to Australia’s Foreign Minister, he asks Ms. Bishop to pursue justice and mercy for Asia Bibi and for the protection of the Christian minority in Pakistan. In his letter to the High Commissioner for Pakistan to Australia, he asked that Pakistan re-open Asia Bibi’s case and acquit her, and also work to protect Christians in Pakistan, who go constantly in fear of their lives and property.

 

“I wrote to Ms. Chohan that Pakistan and Australia share interests and values, including the priority of justice with mercy,” Archbishop Freier said. “The treatment of Asia Bibi fails this fundamental test of our shared humanity, and her continued imprisonment brings shame.”

 

What caused the blasphemy charge against Pakistani Christian wife and mother, Asia Bibi?

 

Asia was raised in Ittan Wali, a small, rural village in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab, thirty miles outside of Lahore, and one day in 2009, she was picking berries in the sweltering heat, in a field with a group of Muslim women, who worked on the farm of Muslim landowner, Muhammad Idrees. Her family was one of only three Christian families in the village of more than 1,500 families

During this time, she was asked by some of the other women, to get some water for them from a well. On the long and dusty walk back, she took a sip of water from the vessel, and when the Muslim women discovered this they became extremely angry, and in an exchange, she told them: “Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins…. Our Christ is alive.”

 

After uttering these words that she used to defend her faith against the mocking co-workers who tried to make her convert to Islam, she could never have dreamed the shocking consequences that would follow.

 

The Muslim women began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They Archbishop Philip Freierannounced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

 

“Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into protective custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but the police claimed they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders,” explained a Voice of the Martyrs spokesperson.

 

“Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

 

“Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into protective custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. Christians urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but the police claimed they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.”

 

After a lengthy trial, on Nov. 8, 2010, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. Her attorneys filed the appeal promptly, and now wait for the Lahore High Court to rule. If the appeal is rejected, Asia would be the first woman to be lawfully executed under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. She remains in prison, waiting to hear the high court’s ruling.

 

But that wasn’t all. There were two shocking events related to her case:

 

* On Jan. 4, 2011, the governor of Punjab province, where Asia lives, was assassinated by a member of his security team. Though a Muslim, Salmaan Taseer had spoken out repeatedly in favor of a pardon for Asia Salmaan Taseer with Asia Bibi being finger printedBibi and for a reexamination of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Governor Taseer also met with Asia in prison.

 

* On March 2, 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet and another person who had spoken out on behalf of Asia Bibi, was also assassinated for his support of her.

 

The Voice of the Martyrs has supported Asia Bibi and her family since the time of her arrest. In July, 2011, VOM launched www.CallForMercy.com in an effort to gather 1,000,000 signatures from around the world asking for Asia’s release.

 

In Pakistan, more than 150,000 Christians have also signed a petition demanding justice for persecution victims, including Asia Bibi. Now you can join with The Voice of the Martyrs and its Pakistani brothers and sisters in a call for mercy.

 

“Invite your friends to visit www.CallForMercy.com  and add their names to the petition as well. VOM will deliver the petition, along with the list of signers, to the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC,” added the VOM spokesperson.

 

Photo captions: 1) Asia Bibi. 2) Archbishop Philip Freier. 3) Salmaan Taseer with Asia Bibi at the prison where she was fingerprinted. Many believe that this visit lead to his murder. 4) Dan Wooding recording his radio show.

 

________________________

About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 53 Dan Wooding recording his radio showyears. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren, who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and the author or co-author of some 45 books. Dan has a radio show and two TV shows, all based in Southern California.

 

*** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net).

 

About ASSIST and Dan Wooding

 

Dan Wooding has been my friend for over 20 years, and I hold him in the highest esteem. I love his stories, his courage, and his conviction.

 

Dan and his wonderful wife Norma have been faithful to God and the call to share the stories of Christians working around the world for decades. They have been through difficult times, and have always found a way to get the work done.

 

Dan tells his own story of being a British journalist gone a bit wild after growing up on the mission field with his parents. Then Dan was convicted to tell the stories of Christians being killed and persecuted in countries where their faith left them vulnerable to abuse and worse. Dan has been in many dangerous situations in order to get the story out to the rest of the world.

 

 

The ASSIST news site gives you access to stories that are of interest to Christians worldwide, some of them would never be told without Dan Wooding’s help.

  

Dan interviews people whether famous or intriguing every day.  He writes their stories, shares them on international radio shows, and videos as well.

 

If you have a heart for missions and helping Christians around the world, get to know Dan Wooding and his work at ASSIST Ministries today. READ ENTIRETY

 

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2 Christians Tortured by Pakistan Police


John R. Houk

© May 12, 2016

 

Persecution of Christians continues in Pakistan. This time it wasn’t a Muslim mob crazed over the ludicrous Islamic practice for punishing those who blaspheme their false Prophet Mohammed, Islam and/or their false deity Allah. This time it has become public knowledge that some Lahore policemen brought in two Christians for questioning over an alleged crime. The crime is ill-described by news outlets reporting on the incident. BUT of not the police interrogation included brutal torture of the Christian men Faraz Masih and Doya Masih.

 

VIDEO: Lahore has become the executioner, held pransanyt 2 people barbaric violence Express Urdu 

 

Posted by John Houk

Published on May 12, 2016

 

An Urdu language broadcast from the Pakistan news outlet called Express News shows stealth taken photos of Pakistani-Christians Faraz Masih and Doya Masih being tortured at the Shalimaar police Station in the city of Lahore.

 

The LEAD article I’m cross posting calls the accused crime as being to “defraud”. The Nation reports the accused crime was mugging:

 

LAHORE: Two members of the country’s Christian community are battling for life in a private clinic after undergoing police brutalities for a couple of days in Lahore’s Shalimar police station.

 

Thirty-year-old Faraz Masih and forty-year-old Doya Masih were picked up by the investigation wing of the Shalimar police station in connection with a mugging case last week.

 

A close relative of the suspects visited the police station and covertly took pictures of the suspects, which would send chills of horror down the spine of any sane person. When the man shared the gruesome photos with crime reporters, the issue came into the notice of the senior police officers. …

 

 

The family members paid several visits to the police station and met the victims only after paying bribe to the lower subordinates. A relative of one of the suspects today told The Nation that when they fell unconscious in the police lock-up, the suspects were shifted to a private clinic by the policemen.

 

“The police investigators applied third degree torture methods during interrogation. They were demanding one hundred thousand rupees for the release of the suspects. The poor families were unable to pay the bribe,” said the frightened relative while requesting anonymity.

 

 

“They were paraded naked, thrashed, punched, and kicked on their private parts. Their hands and feet were tied to a charpoy and they were tortured brutally in upside down position. The policemen also threw salt and pepper on the victim’s injuries to force them to confess to the robberies (whether they had committed or not)”.

 

The police during interrogation uses multiple methods of torture to extort cash and information from crime suspects. Although the police are asked to use scientific methods of investigations yet the suspects are tortured by police to force them to confess the crimes.

 

Interestingly, the police in the Punjab province are paid bribe for both purposes – to torture and not to torture the suspects. The policemen are bribed to avoid torture on suspects belonging to rich and influential families while the poor are subjected to severe torture to get bribe.

 

The rest of The Nation story are interviews of past Police torture victims (Police use of brutal torture methods continues unabated; By Ashraf Javed; The Nation; 5/9/16 9:35 pm)

 

The Nation updated the above with a bit of an editorial on May 11 entitled, “Police Brutality”.

 

Since I began this post with a Youtube video of the tortured victims from Express News, here is the English translation of the Urdu language report (note Google Translate couldn’t figure a couple of words):

 

Lahore:  are hanging 2 Shalimar police station altka investigative personnel have brutally tortured and News raised the issue of the police authorities took notice of the incident were suspended 4.

 

Are according to Express News took in Lahore Shalimar police arrest 6 days ago 2 people followed hanging them upside down and tied to the bed, the two officials were targeted and inhuman violence, investigative team members down unto them when both of them were naked people chtrul and the condition being shifted to a nearby hospital.

 

After walking on the other hand, Express News reported police torture and police authorities took notice of the incident suspended 4 officers in charge of the investigation, including Hammad Tariq Butt and ASI. (Lahore has become the executioner, held 2 people barbaric violence pransanyt; Express News [Urdu]; 5/9/16)

 

See Also

 

Bilawal condemns inhuman torture of two Christians by Lahore Police; The News; 5/11/16

 

Pakistan: Christians Tortured At Hands of Police; The Sclerotic Goes to War; 5/11/16)

 

Below is the LEAD story.

 

JRH 5/12/16

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Two Christians Subjected to Excruciating Torture by Lahore Police

 

By LEAD FAMILY

May 11, 2016 09:48

Legal Evangelical Association Development

 

LAHORE: Two Christian go through inhumane torture at the hands of the Lahore police. In keeping with details, two men were booked by the police under charges of defraud. While carrying out the investigations the police hung one of the men upside down with a bunk and tortured him inhumanely. The other was stripped naked and tortured.

 

Christians Tortured in Pakistan

Christians Tortured in Pakistan

 

The reprehensible incident took place in Lahore’ Shalimaar police Station. The two men Faraaz and a Christian Doya Masih were hooked by the police and underwent vicious torture without the FIR being filed. After the news of the incident was aired, Superintendent Police Investigations, has sacked four police personnel found involved in unleashing vicious torture on the two captives.

 

On the other hand, the police tried to justify the abject investigatory torture by claiming these captives have confessed to more than 12 instances of robbery. After the photos of the two captives became public, S.P. Investigations took notice of the incident and issued orders of dismissal of Hammad Butt – In charge of investigations, ASI Tariq, Constable Sadiq and Arif.

 

Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights Defender who heads LEAD strongly condemns the barbarically torture of the police on two Christians as they refused to confess the crime they did not commit. Police in Pakistan have been known to torture suspects, especially if they are Christians, to obtain confessions in the crime they do not commit.

_______________________

2 Christians Tortured by Pakistan Police

John R. Houk

© May 12, 2016

___________________

Two Christians Subjected to Excruciating Torture by Lahore Police

Edited by John R. Houk

 

About Sardar Mushtaq Gill from webpage panel:

 

Mr. Sardar Mushtaq Gill, Human Rights Defender, is a 34-year-old law graduate from Lahore Punjab University, Pakistan. He is married and has four children. He runs the LEAD organisation.

 

The protection and promotion of the right to freedom of religion and belief constitute the core work of LEAD; to educate and teach and to create awareness of this precious right. The main problem in Pakistan is religious intolerance and discrimination which affect religious minorities and create in them the feelings of insecurity of life and property.

 

We hold seminars and workshops among students and teachers of different schools and educational institutions to discourage violence and to promote respect of faith in Pakistan.

 

We approach authorities to end discrimination and promote harmony among those who possess different faith. We also provide free legal assistance to those who are victims of religious and sectarian violence and victims of discriminatory laws of land without difference of faith and creed.

 

Sardar Mushtaq Gill, Advocate High Courts, is the Chief Counsel of LEAD, it focuses on discriminatory and constitutional law. It is as a non-profit organisation does not charge for its services. Its women Rights Chapter is being run by Farzana Imran (WHRD) who is head of women Chapter.

 

ABOUT LEAD

 

LEAD- (Legal Evangelical Association Development) is an organisation, a REGISTERED relief, development, advocacy and Free legal aid organization dedicated to working with children, families, communities, Churches and different denominations to overcome poverty and injustice. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are motivated by God’s love to serve all people regardless of race, religion, denomination, gender or ethnicity.

 

Email: leadpakistan2009@gmail.com

 

Expected outcomes:

 

Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) is expected to:

 

1.To contribute in the field of Human Rights work in Pakistan and religious Liberty for everyone in this world and Pakistani minorities. 

 

2.To contribute to promote religious tolerance among majority and religious minority communities of Pakistan

 

3.To take steps to READ THE REST

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

Please Support NCCR

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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