Petulant PML-N will RAZE the Slums in the Capital


katchi abadis residents protest eviction 8-24-15

Here something to think about in reading Shamim Masih’s report on Christian persecution in Pakistan:

Police collusion is strongly suspected in a massive arson attack on the Christian Joseph Colony in the Pakistani city of Lahore on March 9 and legal people are questioning whether there is a property-related agenda behind the attack.

The chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry, rejected the police report on the incident during a hearing in the Supreme Court on March 11, accusing them of sheltering criminals and failing to act to prevent the violence, even though he believes they had prior knowledge that it was being planned.

He asked if a property-related matter was the real reason behind what he called police collusion in the attack, which was carried out by around 3,000 Muslim men.

It occurred on the morning of March 9, destroying at least 160 homes of low to middle class Christians and 18 shops, as well as one Catholic church and a Seventh Day Adventist complex.

Sister Marie Cecile Osborne, the principal of the Jesus Mary and Joseph Convent School in Lahore, said, “In 2012, elements close to Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of the Punjab, and his brother, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, were involved in a politico-police action to grab land in Lahore belonging to the Catholic Church.” [Bold Emphasis is Blog Editor’s]

Prior to the looting and burning of Joseph Colony, a 25-year-old Christian man, Sawan Masih, was accused of blasphemy by Imran Shahid, a crime that is punishable by death.

Masih and Imran had been friends. Dilawar Masih, a Christian whose shop was destroyed in the attack, said, “Both Imran (Shahid) and Sawan (Masih) were close friends. Imran has made the allegation only to settle a personal score, because they had quarrelled [sic] over some petty matter.”

The police then visited the area and advised the Christian people to leave, which most of them did.

But so did the police, who then did nothing to protect the property, even though they knew trouble was brewing.

She also accused the police of colluding in the attack. “Indications are the police were ordered to leave the scene before the violence began.” She implied strongly that the Sharif brothers are behind the whole affair in their attempt to get property. [Bold Emphasis is Blog Editor’s]

READ ENTIRETY (Stench of police collusion in land grab as Christian village is burned; By CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK; Sunday ExaminerHong Kong Diocese; 9/5/15)

When Shamim fingers Nawaz Sharif of the ruling political party PML-N, he is pointing to the political corruption of Pakistan’s political leaders especially as it relates to Christian forced to primarily live in urban slums in Pakistan. Shamim is a shining light in a nation dominated by Islamic darkness. Corrupt politicians aim first at helpless minorities. In the case of the urban slums (katchi abadis) this target is the displacement of Pakistani Christians.

JRH 9/9/15

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Petulant PML-N will RAZE the Slums in the Capital

By Shamim Masih

Sent: September 4, 2015 03:37

ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party in Pakistan is evidently considered against the Christians in the country. Most of the inhuman retort, like burning a Christian couple, burning Christian colonies after accusing any Christian had been in Punjab during its rule. A death penalty punishment was being added in blasphemy law by the Godfather of Nawaz Sharif, (Gen Zia ul Haq). The PML-N leader was reportedly behind the burning of the hundreds of the Christians’ houses including two churches in Joseph Colony, Lahore in March, 2013.

Now during the rule of the said party the Capital Development Authority (CDA) plans to demolish 41 slums in different sectors of the capital though few katchi abadis were regularized with no development by the CDA though promised. CDA informed the Supreme Court that katchi abadis will be demolished in four phases but no time frame was given to execute the plan.

Under phase I, the slums to be knocked down are: Street 17 of Sector I-10/1, Sector H-11/2 Kashmir Highway, Roshan Colony Sector I-12, Christian Colony Sector G-6/1-4, Dhobi Ghat G-6/2, Sector F-8/1 Nazimuddin Road, Green Belt H-12 and I-12 behind NUST, Muzaffar Colony H-11/4, Musharraf Colony G-8/4, Muhallah Dori Bagh, Miskeen Colony G-8/4, Shopper Colony G-7 Markaz, Sector H-9 and Bari Imam Katchi Abadi.

Likewise, 11 katchi abadis will be removed under phase II. They are: Chak Shahzad (PIA), Chak Shahzad Pona Faqiran, Dhoke Pathan Chamber Road Abadi, Dhoke Pathan (Sahila), Khanna Pull, New Shkrial katchi abadi, Shams Colony Bhangra Road, Rawat, Sumbal at Korak Town, Junejo Colony, Mohriyan and NIH Colony.

Five similar colonies are slated to be demolished under phase III. They are: Bheka Syedan F-11, Sectors G-12, F-12, E-12 behind Khushian Wali Sarkar and I-11/2 Bakra and Surain.

In phase IV, the slums to be removed are located at Sectors G-7/1, G-7/2 (66 quarters), G-7/3-2 (48 quarters), F-6/2, F-7/4 France Colony, Hansa Colony G-8/1, Essa Nagri I-9/1 and Muslim Colony, Bari Imam.

A petition was moved in the Supreme Court, seeking that the state is bound to provide the evicted people shelter and other amenities under the constitution. On the other hand, the civic agency submitted a report stating that the plan to demolish the slum settlements had been approved by the interior ministry. The Apex Court [is] sounding silent, besides, in February 2014 the Islamabad High Court had also issued directions in this regard.

Most of the people in these slum areas are Christians, and have been living for more than three decades. They are constantly living under threat though serving the well-to-do families in the capital. Most of them work as laborers, housekeepers, street cleaners but the authorities has not provided them housing facilities. Their children are starving and families choose to sell themselves into slavery for survival, illustrating that humanity has left the nation of Pakistan.

Mostly living across the seasonal drainages (Nalaas) and always affected by the flood every year in the rainy season but no disaster recovery plan or infrastructure has been put in place to enhance their safety and security. Victims lost most of their possessions every year which washed away with their homes or irretrievably ruined by water surge. But they again manage their livings. Many of them have been drowned during the raining season and died, left their children helpless. These people are living without any proper drainage system, no pure water facility, no regular electricity and gas facility provided by CDA.

If the CDA starts its operation against the slums, it will leave a hundred thousand Christians homeless in the first phase only. Christian Colony Sector G-6/1-4, Musharraf Colony G-8/4, Miskeen Colony G-8/4, Shopper Colony G-7 Markaz, and Sector H-9 are thickly populated areas. Thus the operation will ruin more than half million Christians in population on the ground.

Note: – I have been working tirelessly to raise voice and to help end injustice for the Christians in Pakistan. But certainly with the limited resources [I] can’t do it on a regular basis. If you feel [same need to aid fellow Christians], please support this cause that I might continue to write for Pakistani Christian. I shed tears when I heard the story of this repeating plight [of Christian persecution] and [I] hope others are moved by the tragic lifestyle these families face daily.

For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending money with this LINK to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Include Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

Correspondent,

Pakistan Today, (About Pakistan Today)

Blogger and Human Rights Activist

________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Any text enclosed by bracket is by the Editor.

© Shamim Masih

Duplicity of Pak Govt. toward Religious Minorities


Shamim Masih writes about how the Pakistani government is ignoring all of Pakistan’s religious minorities to the favor of Sunni Islam. In my case I am interested in how Sunni Muslims get away with persecuting Christians with nearly no legal recourse.

JRH 7/4/15

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Duplicity of Pak Govt. toward Religious Minorities

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 7/3/2015 5:02 PM

ISLAMABAD: My article printed on June 20, 2013 at Daily Times, Islamabad (SlantRight 2.0 version) stated that Pakistani Christians have thrown some of their political support to Pakistan Muslim League (N) [Wikipedia] in the election on 11 May 2013, even though they have reason to be wary of his return to power. A majority of the Pakistani Christians are not optimistic about Sharif’s government because of their religious approach and prejudiced mind set. In general, Pakistan is unable to achieve its desired status in the comity of nations despite have good natural and human resources; the reason is that there is injustice at the heart of all its systems on all levels.

The PML-N’s history of ruling over Punjab province is marked by several episodes of anti-Christian violence. Although blasphemy laws are being misused in the country widely but most of the cruel incidents against Christians happened in the Punjab province under Sharif’s rule [PCP – 5/25/15; SWI – 3/11/13]. Present PML-N government has not only shown its duplicity in Punjab province but exposed at the federal level as well.

After the deadly blasts in two Churches of Yohanabad which killed at least 17 people and around eighty people were injured in the explosions, yet normalcy hasn’t returned. Many families haven’t returned to Youhanbad. The suicide bombings in two churches were timed to cause optimum damage since there were 2000 worshippers present in the Sunday mass. But volunteer security guards and policemen engaged the suicide bombers at the gate at the cost of their own lives. The angry [Christian] mob burned the two [Muslim] suspects who were later found to be innocent. The media devoted more airtime to lynching and the mob’s vandalism than to the aftermath of the bombings. Thus the real image of Christians was forged. We heard Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, addressing the Parliament termed the lynching the “worst form of terrorism.” His outburst prompted the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to urge the authorities to exercise caution and “avoid giving the impression that they are keen to pursue the killers of the two men than they are in protecting the minority community’s rights against terrorists’ attacks.” No one has ever been punished for all the crimes committed against the Christian community but police have registered terrorism cases against hundreds of the Christians, identified through video footage and photographs of the mob attack. Each night since, said Pastor Ashknaz, plainclothes policemen arrived, “prop up ladders, break down doors and pick up the men on basis of more suspicion.” Residents claimed police have even targeted children. The authorities appear more concerned with Muslim victims than Christian ones.

Another discriminatory behavior from Punjab government is that with a population of 100,000 mostly Christians of Youhanabad are still deprived of the Metro Bus service at Youhanabad station. They use the bus terminal where they face systematic harassment each day. Especially Christian women of the area have been facing harassment after the incident. The very next day, people started pouring out of mosques to avenge the killings; the Muslim mob violence went public, several Christian boys from the area were beaten, allegedly in retaliation to the lynching. A church has also been vandalized, its windows were broken and doors marked with black paint. The attacks may be sporadic, but the fear they cause is very real. Aslam Pervaiz Sahotra and many others are still waiting for justice behind bars. In this cruelty Christian associates of PML-N have join hands with the sitting provincial government. The prominent member gets boots [uncertain meaning?] from the CM Shahbaz Sharif couple of years back [Might reference Sharif’s secret negotiations with Islamic terrorists]. None of the responsible person from the government side has yet visited the heartbroken community.

Now when Interior Minister forced “Save the Children” to shut down its office in the country, then he added many other INGOs to follow strict new licensing procedures. Recently Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan canceled the visas of three Philippine nuns, prompting a lawsuit from the Catholic Church. Express Tribune reported that they were accused of “engaging in employment in violation of their visa category.” The nuns have been working in Pakistan for decades, but now they were told they must leave. Abid Nazir, an attorney said that these nuns are “missionary workers” and have devoted their lives to educating and helping impoverished children in Pakistan. He fears that interior minister has a personal dispute with principal. Nazir said Nisar Ali Khan’s wife used to work as a teacher at the school but resigned in 2011 after the dispute with principal.

Still, the controversy is another example of how Pakistan is again taking a more aggressive stance toward some foreigners trying to work here. When US missionary inquired about a months old travel request, a communications officer said the matter was being held up by the Interior Ministry. Pakistani government is practicing unannounced banned on international missionaries visiting Pakistan just because of personal liking or disliking. The recent crackdown is so surprising; there has been no known trigger for it. During the last visit of Secretary of State John Kerry, said both Pakistani and U S officials have been stressing that relations between two countries have greatly improved.

It’s a mindset of the present government; [viz. the] Interfaith Harmony Ministry is merged and all minority issues are held. This means, there are no minorities’ voice neither in the legislation nor outside the house [See “Government failed to promote interfaith harmony in Pakistan”- PCP 2/22/13 and “International Religious Freedom Report for 2011” – U.S. State Dept.]. This government cunningly has sidelined all the minorities’ so called representative in the parliament house. It is noteworthy that if the democratic process in any state has to be checked then one must look at how its minorities are treated. No society can aspire to call itself democratic if it systematically excludes specific groups from the full protection of laws, provision of equal rights and opportunities.

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

++

Human Rights Activist, Diplomatic Correspondent, MOFA, Diplomacy, UN, F & S, MOST, PTI and Daily Sama Islamabad (Urdu language)

Shamim’s Blog: http://oiwerk.blogspot.com/

For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending money with this LINK to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Include Shamim’s phone – +92-300-642-4560

_________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All source links and any text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

My killer is my judge


Pakistani Christians Protest Blasphemy Laws

We Christians need to pray for the Christians of Pakistan. Muslims commit acts of violence against the Pakistani-Christian community with impunity. Those Christians affected by violent persecution then are subject to criminal persecution as well as the few Christians that have escaped Muslim violence. The criminal persecution is legal in Pakistan and that surrounds Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws. The Blasphemy Law is used as a false accusation tool against Christians to settle disputes between Christians and Muslims AND to cease the property of the few Christians that are owners.

 

Below Shamim Masih writes with the gloom Christians face in Pakistan. I can read between the lines in Shamim’s report to understand this gloom is taking a toll on him as well.

 

JRH 5/30/14

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Mera Qatil he mera munsif hy

(My killer is my judge)

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 5/29/2014 4:32 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The threat matrix for Pakistan religious minorities has changed radically now after the Pakistan Muslim League (N) came in power. There was numerous blasphemy cases registered in the Punjab province during the rule [of the] PML-N regime in the past and the same practice [goes] on. A Christian family including children and women were burnt alive and the Christian colony was set ablaze in Gojra city in 2009. In the province of Punjab, Sangla Hill and Joseph Colony, Lahore; the same practice [was] seen, blasphemy cases were registered for their vested interests but no action is being taken against the forged complainants.

 

This is not the end, as soon as the PML-N government came to power in the federal [government], Islamabad slum settlements were cautioned to vacate and were considered [as] encroachment. The inhabitants [have been] there for four decades. Now officials in the capital of Punjab province, Agency, along with the police from different stations reached at the Katchi abadi [i.e. the slums] in Qaziabad and Gulshan-i-Ravi with bulldozers and excavators in the early morning. The workers began demolishing houses amid cries of women and children. The Punjab government seems in a hurry now to crush the Christians during their rule. The colony was reportedly built some 40 years ago and during the Nawaz Sharif’s first government, he then promised them that no one would force them to leave their houses. But during his rule he has lifted them all. In recent past; the Islamabad High Court’s Justice Shaoukat Aziz Siddique had directed Capital Development Authority (CDA) to clear the slum settlements from the Capital, Islamabad. Let me give you [some] Urdu poetry: Mera qatil he mira munsif hy, kia mery haq mein faisla dy ga (My killer is my judge, will he decide anything in my favor).

    

The case is not related to Christians only but others are suffering too. A university professor was entangled in a blasphemy case and his attorney was killed. A blasphemy case was registered against 65 protesters in his favor. Shaista Wahidi (Geo TV anchor), her TV owner and two partakers had to flee from the country due to this reason [i.e. the Blasphemy charge]. A man in a small district, Shariq pur; accused in blasphemy case was killed during his judicial investigation. A foreign national non-Muslim doctor was killed during his visit to Pakistan.

   

Pakistan is a country where the majority of its population is living below poverty the line. Unemployment, poverty, illiteracy and terrorism are common problems. But religious minorities face discriminatory laws and other issues as well. Christians in the country stand nowhere, if [they] live along seasonal drainage or a katchi abadi, it is considered encroachments. If [a Christian] takes a sip of water, they are considered untouchable and sent to jail for life imprisonment. [This] is the basic reason with Asia Bibi [who] has been suffering for years. Lahore High Court is hanging her case hearing with a lame-less excuse. Another pregnant woman was killed right under the nose of Lahore High Court, Lahore. The law and order situation is beyond control.

  

The problem with Pakistani Christians is unity. Fortunately or unfortunately; they are all born leaders and do not want to sit with others. I personally feel this is basic reason of their sufferings. During the last two decades; the Hindu minority have proven that they are the largest minority in the country. None of Christian parliamentarians has spoken even a single word for their favor in NA. There are two mummies seen who [are] always seen roaming about here and there during the session in the recent one year.

 

Unfortunately we don’t have any national level regular platform to highlight the issues. The national papers and private TV channels don’t give ample space for Pakistani Christians’ issues. Although there are some private TV channels running under Christian religious administration but again I would say, these people have made it family ownership and promoting their families instead raising real cause and issues Christians are facing and we can’t highlight the actual issues. Their agenda is totally different.

  

Religious leaders and social activists are running for their vested interests. Many Christian families are suffering in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. UNHCR is not paying heed to these asylum seekers. They have reportedly paid in hundred thousand [Blog Editor: I am unsure if Shamim is talking in terms of dollars, rupees or people] for immigration. Most of the Christians are shifting to other countries and the rest do not find any future in the country. Are we equal citizen; If not should we stand for our rights?      

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

__________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Content enclosed in brackets is from the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

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Democratic State or Feudalism


pakistan-blasphemy-protest

 

Shamim Masih reports that Pakistan’s Prime Minister led an All Parties Conference (APC) initiated on September 9, 2013 to bring a sense of unity in Pakistan by sharing in a dialogue with other political parties on curbing Islamic terrorism. The problem Shamim had with the APC is that the word “All” was a falsehood. Perhaps Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif concept of “All” meant all the Sunni Muslim political parties at the exclusion the political parties representative of minorities. Since Shamim is a Christian his disappointment centers on the lack of Christian minority political parties. Shamim compares the minority exclusion to good old fashioned feudalism as in medieval historical governance. Shamim also mentions that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed founder of the Awami Muslim League (AML). The AML’s manifesto (see last link) is still Islamic Supremacist in its principles; however the manifesto decries the discrimination and violence against minorities Pakistan. I suspect Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s stand to bring more civil rights to Pakistani minorities is the chief reason Shamim mentions him.

 

JRH 9/22/13

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Democratic State or Feudalism

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 9/20/2013 4:41 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: All Parties Conference – APC was held in Prime Minister’s secretariat on Monday 9 September, 2013. Addressing the political leaders at the APC, PM Nawaz Sharif said that he considered dialogue as the priority option to curb terrorism in the country, the solution to address the terrorism issue is sorted out with consensus after thorough deliberations by the participants at APC. He said that it is need of the hour for all political forces in the country to shun politicking on issues of national importance such as terrorism and energy crisis, and join hands to address them unanimously. “We have to rise above politics on some issues and develop a nation consensus for the sake of this country,” said Prime Minister told the political leaders. “If we will continue to take decision with consensus, the people will have more trust on democracy.” Nawaz Sharif said the country’s history witnessed unprecedented smooth democratic transition as the new government took over and a president left the Presidency with honor and prestige.

 

Later, Director General ISI Lt. Gen. Zaheer ul Islam briefed the participants of the APC on security situation in the country.

 

It sounds good that the government is interested to take other political parties in confidence while taking decisions in national interest and wanted to join hands with other political forces in the country. In the said conference the government called up the party leadership of his own choice not all political parties’ leadership was invited there. Sheikh Rasheed, the outspoken party head of Awami Muslim League was ignored with few others as well. At the same time, no Christian political party head was invited to APC.

 

The government should take minorities leadership in confidence while legislation and addressing national issues. Pakistan Christian Congress, All Pakistan Minorities Alliances – APMA, political parties have been struggling for minorities rights for years. Pakistan United Christian Movement, Pakistan Minorities Alliance and few others emerging political parties are passionate to protect non-Muslims’ rights in Pakistan. From decades on no government has ever taken non-Muslims in confidence while addressing national issues or legislation. In the end it results to add in [the] sufferings of minorities, all discriminatory laws are witness to it. Shanti Nager, Gojra, Sangla Hill, Gujranwala and Joseph Colony [Youtube video of Joseph Colony Destruction], Lahore incidents are [the] result of these discriminatory laws. Hundred years old church in Mardan city was turned to ashes. And at the same time, Governor Salman Taseer’s and Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination was [the] result of hate speech of the cleric.

 

Pakistan is considered a democratic country but I have not been able to understand its system, there are two electoral systems adopted at the same time in the country. General election system is democratic while selection of reserved seats of minorities and women seats is totally at big political party’s prudence as proportional system. So minority’s members go into the legislative assembly through back doors. It is also reported that they use different means in terms of money or whatever to get in, and the amount very obviously starts in millions.

 

It is unnatural that these minority members coming in the assembly by paying hi-bribe and [then] talk about minority’s issues. It is reported that one of the previous minority ministers said that I am not here through your votes; you don’t need to expect anything from me, when some Christian visitors asked to solve their issues.

 

[The] Electoral process in Pakistan needs to be revised. Democracy cannot flourish in a country where a feudal system exists because this system negates democratic system.

______________________

© Shamim Masih

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets and links within Shamim’s article are added by the Editor hopefully adding clarity.

 

Shamim Masih

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

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Use Public Office to Protect Christians’ Rights


Nawaz Sharif 2- PM Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif – Prime Minister Pakistan

 

Here is an important editorial about the plight of Pakistani minorities and Christians in particular. That picture is not a rosy one. Shamim sent this to me a while ago but a recent move has me a bit behind in monitoring my emails. Due to an assumption of a lack of awareness of Pakistani politics and religious affairs I will link to some of organizations and people Shamim writes about.

 

JRH 6/25/13

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Use Public Office to Protect Christians’ Rights

Christian Minorities in Pakistan

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: June 16, 2013 3:54 AM

 

ISLAMABAD – The peace interventions ratio in Pakistan is always disproportional in the supply and demand. Pakistani society is gradually dipping into disharmony and going awry as demand increases and supply is less than its required level.  Pakistan is unable to achieve its desired status in the comity of nations despite having good natural and human resources; the reason is that there is injustice at the heart of all its systems and levels.

 

Pakistani Christians appear to have thrown some of their political support to Nawaz Sharif in the May 11 election, although they have reason to be wary of his return to power. During the campaign Nawaz Sharif promised that his party would give equal rights to minorities, including Christians. The PML-N even took the unusual step of thanking minority voters for their support. There could be unbelievable positive change for the Christians because the way Shahbaz Sharif rehabilitated Christian’s families of Joseph Colony, which was attacked by Muslim protesters in March this year, and have changed Christians’ view about Sharif’s party. If so, the PML-N will have to overcome a history that Christians find worrisome.

 

The Taliban, in turn, have close connections with Islamic militant organizations, including Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan– SSP, a banned terrorist organization, which has been targeting minority-Muslim Ahmedis and Shias, as well as Christians. The SSP still operates in Punjab province under a new name, Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat, which reportedly has struck a bargain with Sharif’s party for some of the PML-N seats in the Punjab provincial government.

 

During the time in power in the 1990 – 93, the PML-N included the fundamentalist Islamic group Jamat-e-Islami in its coalition government. We have experienced that PML-N tried to bring Islamic laws in the country in its last ruling tenure. The majority of Christians are not optimistic about Sharif’s government because of their religious approach and close linkages with fundamentalist groups, said Sajid Ishaq, central President PTI, minorities’ wing.

 

The PML-N history of ruling over Punjab province is marked by several episodes of anti-Christian violence. The village Shantinagar, 1997, seven Christians were burned alive in Gojra, in 2009, attacked on Christians in Khokharki, Gujranwala in 2011 and most recent riots in Joseph Colony in 2013.

 

Albert David, Chairman Pakistan United Christian Movement, whilst commenting on the current situation said that the mandate given to PML- N is an opportunity for the government to bridge the widening gap between the state and Pakistani Non-Muslims, especially Christians. Devising of Standard Operating Procedures and ensuring that they followed religiously by the law enforcement agencies while dealing with any case of blasphemy could be one of the many confidence building measures (CBMs). This would ensure that the law is only applied to preserve its real spirit and sanctity and not to settle personal vendettas, which at times affects people from all faiths, including Muslims. Apart from this dealing with some of the other political issues including electoral system, census (to determine exact population of Christians), denationalization of Christian institutes and revitalization National Commission for Minorities could be some of the other CBMs.

 

Blasphemy Laws are widely criticized as its being misused by Muslims trying to settle scores and extort property, but are also popular with ordinary citizens. The Blasphemy Law is one of the major causes of the Christians’ troubles in Pakistan, especially in the Punjab province. Basharat Khokhar, who had been falsely charged with blasphemy in 2008, doesn’t expect Sharif to change or review it now.

 

“The religious-fanatics are responsible for the tense situation of Christians in Pakistan, and this nothing to do with the government,” said Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, Ex- MPA and social rights activist. “This is big challenge, if Mian Nawaz Sharif does not take any practical step in favor of Christians to protect them from extremists, the situation would be worse, he added.

 

If Mian Nawaz Sharif wanted to bring some changes for Pakistani Christians; here are few recommendations:

 

1-     Census: Christians are the biggest minority in the country, while Election Commission of Pakistan – ECP has declared them 2nd biggest minority. Christians are living in every corner of the country and Hindus majority living in Sindh province. So census can give you the exact figure.

 

2-     Election not Selection for the minorities: It is beseeched that PML-N, while honoring its commitment must include minorities in every walk of field and give dual voting rights to minorities so they may express their will and elect their representatives. Selections of minority candidates are totally at major parties disposal, which is not true representation. PML-N has been given a heavy mandate and religious minorities stood with Nawaz Sharif so he must draw parameters to bring their true representation in the parliament. If PML-N doesn’t take initiative it may mean that the government has certainly given clear message that minorities are still not emancipated and are the second grade citizen, which is disenchanting and disheartening.    

 

3-     Equal representation in the legislative body: The Christian community in particular has been targeted and internationally ostracized in the past. Even in the present government the representation of Christians in the National Assembly at reserved seats is not in accordance with their population. Christians who are in majority among minorities communities of Pakistan are reduced to 3 out of 10 reserved seats in NA. Such a representation of minority community on reserved seats at national level has caused serious apprehension among the Christian community who find it beyond any justification.

 

4-     Restoration of Ministry of Minority Affairs: It sounds good that PML-N declare Kamran Michael as Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping but he is not representing the religious minorities neither would be in position to solve their issues. The PPP government has accommodated them creating the Ministry for National Harmony, which is merged into Ministry for Religious Affairs. How would you think that a person having a long beard and a Muslim rigid mind set can represent other religious minorities? This may be a tough one for Nawaz Sharif, and I am pretty sure if he is really serious to show his love for religious minorities, as he mentioned during his election campaign. It is very important for all religions of Pakistan whether Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and Parsis to live in peace. Shia and Sunnis and other Muslim sects need to exist in harmony.

 

5-     Denationalize Christians’ institutions: The Missionary schools, Colleges and Hospitals were nationalized during ZA Bhutto regime. During the Parvez Musharraf government few institutions were denationalized so it would be a token of gesture to Christians, the denationalization of rest of the missionary schools, colleges and hospitals in Punjab province.

 

It is not worthy that if the democratic process in any state has to be checked than one must look at how their minorities are treated. No society can aspire to call itself democratic if it systematically excludes specific groups from the full protection of the laws, provision of equal rights and opportunities. 

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

___________________________

© Shamim Masih

Edited by John R. Houk

 

Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

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Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank :         00010855
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number :                 405527
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FOR EURO TRANSFER.
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Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
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Leaders fear more violence against Christians


CLAAS panel at Lahore Press Club

 

Intro: Leaders fear more violence against Christians

John R. Houk

© June 4, 2013

 

Evidently the last election cycle in Pakistan has placed a government in place that will increase the yoke of bondage among Pakistani Christians. Christian leaders in Pakistan are so fearful of the situation that they are exploring possibilities for a Christian exodus to nations in which Christianity predominates. In my mind that means Western nations and probably the USA is at the top of that list.

 

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) political party came to power after the recent 2013 elections in Pakistan. The Party leader Nawaz Sharif apparent Islamic religious views fall to the purist (i.e. Radical Islam) side of Islam. This means religious minorities in Pakistan can expect a rough ride because of this. Since Christians are often viewed as the lowest form of existence among Pakistani minorities that means Believers in the Resurrection and accompanying Salvation in Christ Jesus have a target for persecution and exploitation on their heads in Pakistan.

 

Check out this excerpt from Martin Barillas writing for Spero News about Pakistani Christians:

 

After the recent elections that brought to power the “Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz” (PML-N) party and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, many Christians are skeptical. In a recent conference held in Lahore, a group of Christian leaders said that Pakistani Christians are worried about the future.

 

Among their concerns is the prosection (sic) of Pakistan’s Muslim blasphemy laws, which are often used to persecute Christian minorities. Nadeem Anthony, a Christian lawyer, told the Fides news agency, “The majority of Christians do not have high hopes in Sharif’s future government because of his religious conservative approach and links with fundamentalist groups. Sharif was also in favor of the blasphemy law, which is a major cause of problems for Christians in Pakistan,” he recalls.

 

 

Christians note that perpetrators of anti-Christian violence apparently act with impunity in the majority Muslim country. Following the 2009 affray [SlantRight Editor: See this Christianity Today article to see what happened in 2009], only 17 people were charged with murder and another 113 charges with aiding in the massacre. All were released within a few months. “The witnesses were systematically intimidated and silenced,” said Peter Jacob of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan. (Read Entirety; 6/3/13)

 

Shamim Masih is a Pakistani Christian journalist in Pakistan. He shares the underlying fears growing among Pakistani Christians because the PML-N in the 2013 elections.

 

JRH 6/4/13

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Leaders fear more violence against Christians

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 6/3/2013 2:03 PM

 

Lahore:  Joseph Francis, International Director, CLAAS, said in a press conference here today that Pakistani Christians are in great fear to face more violence and torture during the next government of PML-N.

 

In the press conference at Lahore Press Club, Joseph Francis said that “we are afraid that during the PML-N rule, Pakistani Christians will face more violence as they have faced similar situation in the past during PML-N government. Gojra, Korian and Joseph Colony incidents were being planned by the fanatics and supported by PML-N leadership”, he alleged.

 

Talking to the media, Martin Javed Michel blamed that Joseph Colony incident was backed by PML-N leaders Malik Riaz, Chaudhry Shehbaz, Dr. Asad Ashraf, Ghazali Saleem Butt and Mushtaq Mughal and it was reported to the police as well. “But unfortunately, Premier Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif have not taken any notice against them and the same leaders are in the ruling elite and will create more problems for Christians“. He said, “we are Pakistanis since our forefathers and have been faithful to the country but unluckily, since partition, we are being treated as second class citizen“. “If the situation remains same as it seems, then Pakistani Christians will be forced to leave the country as Hindu community left for India in the recent past“, he feared.

 

Joseph Francis, working for the victims for the last two decades has requested the foreign countries like Australia, Canada, America and European Union to open their gates for Pakistani Christians. He demanded the Christian countries to provide shelter for the Pakistani Christians as they are not safe in Pakistan. India opened their gates for Hindu fellows why can’t Christian counties do the same for Christians, he demanded. He demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan to form a Commission for fact finding of the Joseph Colony incident and culprits should be punished.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

________________________

Intro: Leaders fear more violence against Christians

John R. Houk

© June 4, 2013

__________________________

Leaders fear more violence against Christians

 

Shamim Masih

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

Pakistan Elections 2013


Nawaz Sharif - PM Pakistan 5-2013

Nawaz Sharif

 

John R. Houk

© May 14, 2013

 

Pakistan had its elections on May 11, 2013. Clearly the winning political party is Pakistan Muslim League – N (PML-N [The “N” stands for Nawaz]) meaning the new Prime Minister in Pakistan is Nawaz Sharif.

 

It appears that Nawaz favors a Free Market but is an adherent to purist Islamic ideology that makes up Radical Islam. The Pakistan Taliban believes democracy and voting are un-Islamic practices. Mohammed Hanif writing for The Guardian wrote this about Nawaz’s PML-N his cricket turned politician rival Imran Khan of Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI or Movement for Justice Party)

 

The Taliban’s real success is that they bet on the winners. They promised not to attack Khan and Sharif’s parties. And these parties will be in power. But the Taliban have never contested an election before. And they are soon to find out that politicians never keep the promises they make during the heat of the campaign. (Pakistan elections: how Nawaz Sharif beat Imran Khan and what happens next; By Mohammed Hanif; The Guardian, 5/13/13 14:00 EDT)

 

Nawaz has said he desires better relations with the USA and arch-rival India. Imran has said he desires to dissolve all military cooperation with American led forces in Afghanistan and ALSO to end the Pakistan government’s war against the Pakistani Taliban.

 

It is my opinion not to trust a self-proclaimed Islamist like Nawaz and at least Imran is upfront about his hatred for the kafir (i.e. infidel or in this case Americans).

 

Shamim Masih – my source from Pakistan – is a Christian and I believe he supported the major loosing political party – Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP). Shamim has written favorably about at least one PPP candidate that appeared to demonstrate concern of the persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

 

JRH 5/14/13

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Election 2013

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 5/13/2013 2:39 PM

 

Christians congratulate the nation for the successful completion of parliamentary elections and would work with newly elected government for the prosperity of the country. Shamim Masih, President Reformation for Empowerment and Alleviation of Poverty – REAP and a journalist, while congratulating PML-N party’s victory in the general election 2013 has demanded the party head Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif to protect minorities’ rights as he has committed during his election campaign.

 

Pakistani Christians religiously and historically have proven to be loyal to their land and always have been subservient to its governments. It’s every Christian’s religious obligation to be obedient to masters.

 

As it is written in the Bible; “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters and to please them well in all things; not answering again”. Titus 2:9 It is further written “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward”. 1-Peter 2:8

 

The previous government was busy in their luxurious life of being in Government and sidelined the religious minorities and I hope the PML-N government will restore the ministry of Minorities Affairs which was transformed into Ministry of National Harmony which was established in 2011.

 

The Social Rights activists’ organizations welcome the coming government, World Vision in Progress – WVIP representative said we hope that PML-N will stop the misuse of blasphemy laws and forced conversion.

 

Albert David, Chairman Pakistan United Christian Movement (PUCM) has launched its candidates in this election said that minority candidates are elected under proportional representation system, but minority voters cast votes for Muslim candidates running for national and provincial constituencies. PUCM chief demanded PML-N chief will ensure equal opportunities for members of minority communities.

 

Basharat Khokhar, a human rights activist said that our community is already living below the poverty line, and when someone forces them to join their rally by showing them a gun, they give in. He urged that successful minority candidates in the actively advance minority’s interest instead of towing their respective parties’ line.

 

Tariq Chaman, president Union of Minority Journalist of Islamabad/Rawalpindi congratulated the PML-N chief and he wants Christians to be given proper jobs in government departments and not that of a sweeper. He further vows that when Mian Sharif expressed his willingness to take all parties on board but stopped short from crediting minority voters’ contribution towards his party’s Muslim candidate success. He hoped that the history will not repeat during PML-N rule and minorities will live in peace.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

____________________

Pakistan Elections 2013

John R. Houk

© May 14, 2013

__________________

Election 2013

 

Shamim Masih

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