Pakistani Christian community celebrates Equality Day on August 11


Tahir Naveed Chaudhry & Shamim Masih

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry & Shamim Masih

 

Shamim writes about minorities and the Christian minority in particular celebrating Minority Day under a different name in a form of a protest and calling it Equality Day. The Islamic government did not publicly celebrate Minority Day because it fell during the Muslim festival of Eid.

 

JRH 8/12/13

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Christian community celebrates Equality Day on August 11.

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 8/12/2013 7:03 AM

 

The Pakistan United Christian Movement (PUCM) is celebrating the Equality Day instead Minorities Day in Rawalpindi where leaders of minorities from Pakistan participated.

 

The leaders present a paper on how minorities are being targeted by the extremists in Pakistan, when we are equal citizen of the country, they said.

 

The government had declared August 11 as minorities’ day in 2009 by the efforts of then minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti who was shot dead in the country’s capital in 2011.

 

The day signifies Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to Constituent Assembly on August 11 1947 in which he had said, “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

 

The government is in no mood of celebrating minorities’ day.

 

However, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said that the day was falling during Eid holidays.

 

“Though Pakistan is going through a testing time—but minorities are on our priority list,” he added.

 

Talking to the gathering at Christian Study Centre – CSC Albert David, Chairman PUCM criticized the government declaring them a second class citizen in the country. Minorities have been ignored by the current government. August 11 was not only a day where Christians were especially made part of the whole nation, but a clear and wider picture was given to the members of the Constituent Assembly, he added.

 

Tahir Naveed Chaudhry Ex-MPA has launched a new political party on minorities’ day, 11 August. Talking to the media at the launching ceremony of Pakistan Minority Alliance- PMA he said that he will continue the struggle of Shaheed Shanbaz Bhatti, who played his role for Pakistani Minorities. I am the true follower of the Shahbaz Bhatti (late) and will continue the mission he started, he said.

 

Samuel Yaqoob chairman Muslim Masihi Ithad has protested on this day outside the Press Club Islamabad. He claimed that we have the equal rights according to the founders’ speech but the religious extremists are trying to draw a line between citizens of the country. 

 

Minority Day Protest - Simon Yaqoob - Muslim Masihi Ittehad 8-11-13

 

On behalf of British Pakistani Christian Association BPCA, Shamim Masih, a journalist and representative of BPCA in Pakistan held a meeting with leaders from the key faith in Lahore and an agreement was made for a peace mural to be incorporated at Joseph Colony Badami Bagh, Lahore. 

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

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Edited by John R. Houk. All links are for information and added by the editor. Shamim sent three versions of this post and I chose the one with the extra paragraph. Some of this information can be found in greater detail at the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) blog under the title, “Newly Elected Pakistani Government refuses to celebrate state celebration termed “Minorities day,” as it would tarnish Islamic Eid Celebrations!

 

© Shamim Masih

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

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Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         70008227
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527

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Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
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FOR EURO TRANSFER.
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Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
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Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         10847
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
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Insensitivity of Pakistani Christian politicians and civil society leaders


August 12, 2010 - NYC - Pakistan Christians Protesting Oppression (Photo Dr. Nazir Bhatti)

 

Shamim writes about Minorities Day in Pakistan and how its original intent has been lost by an increasingly Islamist government and ignored by Pakistan’s Christian elites.

 

JRH 8/11/13

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Insensitivity of Pakistani Christian politicians and civil society leaders

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 8/10/2013 8:31 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The PPP government had declared August 11 as minorities’ day in 2009 by the effort of then minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated in the country’s capital in 2011.

 

The day signifies Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 in which he had said, “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – that has nothing to do with business of the State.”

 

Pakistan was established as a secular Islamic republic at the inception of its nationhood in 1947. As the years have distanced itself from 1947 Pakistan has become more and more entrenched in the purist Islamic thought that revolves around the Theo-political jurisprudence of Sharia Law.

 

I had a privilege to attend the celebration of the minorities’ day ceremony in the President House last year. The present government (PML-N) is in no mood of celebrating minorities’ day. On the other hand, the Christian country’s head; US 2nd time elected President Barack Obama has arranged an iftar party in the White House this year and had proudly announced to support Muslims in the world.

 

[Video: President Obama Hosts an Iftar Dinner (7/25/13)]

 

However, information Minister Parvez Rasheed (giving lame less excuse) said that the day is falling during Eid holidays. Though Pakistan is going through a testing time but minorities are on our priority list, he added.

 

The Information Ministers’ statement sounds good only on paper, but we (Pakistani Christians) are very well aware of the priorities of the ruling party. In my post submissions about the plight of Christians in Pakistan that has provided lenses to view the priorities of the ruling party. Gojra, Shantinagar, Sangla Hill and Joseph Colony incidents mount up during PML-N regime in the Punjab province. After coming in power in the federal [government], PML-N holds the only representation of the minorities “Ministry of National Harmony” in their own hands.

 

In the wake of the critical situation, a criminal silence and a careless attitude of Christian leadership [See Also “Between Heaven and Hell”] in the country is alarming. Pakistani Christians express their deep concern for the continuation of peace and harmony not only in Pakistan but in the whole world. There have been many wake-up calls, but Pakistani Christian politicians/religious leaders have gone into a long snooze. The cases of Bishop John Joseph, Shantinagar, Gojra, Joseph Colony, Asia Bibi and Rimsha are an example of Christian leaders’ callousness.

  

Minority Day/Equality Day/Black Day

 

During the recent week, I received invitations from different active Christians’ political/religious groups celebrating this day as; some said Minority Day, Equality Day and others said this day [is] as [a] black day. These leaders have declared the day according to their own mindset and pretend themselves as community leaders. On this day, these leaders will spend huge money for their vested interest. It is pathetic that when these so-called leaders are requested to support a needy person, they will not go for it and will present a list of excuses. Let me give you the recent example; during the past week, two Christian girls and a boy working in a beauty salon accused of theft were sent to jail on a judicial remand in the capital. As these workers were the only sources of income in their families. I requested a local political leader to support them in terms of providing surety bonds for their release but he refused simply saying that I don’t know anyone in Islamabad. Then I asked human rights champion (who claims a higher-ranking in human rights service); to provide legal aid and was surprised at his answer that it does not fall into our organization’s policy. (I am not mentioning their names [yet in this] story, will disclose next). Now I heard that the both leaders are arranging events on this day [Minorities’ Day].

 

The role of clergy in [this] development has left a question mark. Evangelical churches and bishops are involved in land grabbing. These black sheep must be marked. (I will write a detailed story on it as well)

 

I always emphasize to put heads together, and have been writing for the unity among Pakistani Christian.

 

When all other parties, groups and organizations can put their heads together and be unanimous on the solutions, why can’t Pakistani Christians sit together for their rights?

 

Instead of pronouncing moral judgments on everything and anything, why can’t Pakistani Christians stand altogether for Christians’ welfare as a whole?

 

Christians stand nowhere:

 

The West neglect Christians as a whole: America, Europe, and Britain too often ignores the persecution of the Christians as a whole and focus on individual Christians, who do not present a true picture there [in the West]. Most of the beneficiaries are Muslims from UN organization. Embassies have their own social sector’s head to support Pakistani Christian, if they want [or choose]. But it is observed they normally ignore Christians even granting a visa while granting visas to Muslims/Hindus and Ahmedies [Ahmadis or Ahmadiyya – ABOUT2010 Massacre].

 

Only a small number of individuals enjoy this status. The rests are suffering and suffering in the name of Christianity.

   

Some local Christian politicians, civil rights champions and religious leaders have been making money on the pretext of safeguarding minority rights but these financial resources are being used in getting positions in other political parties and for their vested interest instead [of] spending those funds for achieving Christian prosperity/unity. Some of them, as Christian representatives, have been a part of the constitutional assembly which approved the blasphemy law and they kept quiet at that time. Now, we have a few Christians’ political parties registered to contest general elections but have no contact with the Christian community at grass root level and have not shown any seriousness in guarding Christians’ rights and are rather busy in making deals with major Muslim parties.

 

I always write to seek greater civil rights for the Christian minority in Pakistan. Christianity is a very small minority in Pakistan but suffering a lot. I have been working actively for a democratic, tolerant and progressive social order and for socio-economic and political rights of religious minorities especially for Christians in Pakistan.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_________________________

Edited by John R. Houk. Brackets and links indicate direct editor contribution.

 

© Shamim Masih

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR GBP TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
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
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         10847
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227