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.

 

UN and U.S. wake up to protect Ahmadiyyas


Abram & Melchizedek meeting

Intro to ‘UN and U.S. wake up to protect Ahmadiyyas’

Editor John R. Houk

July 6, 2014

 

Pakistani Christians are the ignored minority in Pakistan. Shamim Masih writes about Western governments and Western Christians being more concerned about the plight of other non-Muslims minorities and of Shia Muslim minorities more than Pakistani Christians. Ignoring Christians in Muslim majority lands is a heinous act founded upon political correctness and the Left Wing denigration of the Christian faith to rid the world of the Biblical world view that used to be the mainstay of Western culture.

 

The Ahmadiyya (Ahmadi, Qadiani or Lahori) consider themselves to be Muslims yet the majority Sunni Muslims in Pakistan have legally declared them to be non-Islamic. For Sunnis this places Ahmadis on the same level as Shias. Shia Muslims don’t like Ahmadis for the same reasons the Sunnis do not. Since all three groups consider themselves Islamic, I can imagine all hold Christianity in disdain. Ahmadis seem to be more peace oriented Sunni or Shia Islam yet they still consider Christianity a devilish religion. They just don’t embrace the convert or die principle of the two largest sects in Islam.

 

Here is an excerpt about Ahmadis which really began as a late 19th century movement originating in present day Pakistan but then was British ruled India:

 

The Ahmadis are a Muslim sect which was founded in Qadian, Punjab, in the nineteenth century. Its founder was Mirza Ghirlam Ahmad, a Muslim who claimed prophetic status as the Mahdi or Messiah, in succession to Krishna, Jesus Christ and Mohammed. The Ahmadis accept four of the five basic principles of Islam, namely prayer five times a day, the Ramadan fast, the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Haj) and alms-giving. They do not accept the fifth principle, that of the Jihad or Holy War against non-believers. Many Muslims regard them as heretics and refuse to accept them as a legitimate part of Islam.

 

Today Ahmadis are found all over the world but the core community is in Pakistan: estimates vary from half a million to six million people out of a total population of over 96 million, but three million to four million is the most commonly accepted figure. During British rule of undivided India many were employed in government service and after partition many crossed the border from Indian Punjab into Muslim West Pakistan, where they continued to play a prominent part in the civil and diplomatic services and in industry and commerce.

 

Like many successful minorities the Ahmadis attracted hostility. It was felt by many that their influence in society was READ THE REST (Ahmadis of Pakistan; FAQs.orgWorld Directory of Minorities; Copyright © 2008 – Advameg Inc. – Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)

 

 

JRH 7/6/14

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UN and U.S. wake up to protect Ahmadiyyas

 

By Shamim Masih

7/5/2014 8:29 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: We learnt the story from The Bible, when Abram heard that his brother (Lot) was taken captive, He brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. Genesis 14: 14-16 (KJV)

 

14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

 

When Abram learned that Lot was a prisoner, he immediately tried to rescue his nephew. It would have been easier and safer not to become involved. But with Lot in serious trouble, Abram acted at once and rescued him. The U.S. based organization “The Human Rights Watch” reportedly asked Sri Lanka not to deport members of Pakistan’s minority Ahmadiyya community until the UNHCR had full access to them and determined their need for international protection. At least 142 Pakistanis, mostly Ahmadiyyas, arrested in police sweeps in Sri Lanka in June 2014 are being detained and are at risk of deportation, the Human Rights Watch said. “Sri Lankan authorities are threatening Pakistani minority group members with deportation at the very time when persecution of these groups is escalating in Pakistan,” said Bill Frelick, refugees’ director at Human Rights Watch.

 

It is good to know in the prevailing situation when the persecution on the basis of faith is reaching a high degree. A U.S. organization raised its voice to protect Pakistani minorities, but why they [did] particularly mentioned the Ahmadiyyas? Let me [be] clear [about] this; it is not the first time that U.S. people raised their voice for Pakistani minorities especially Ahmadiyyas not Christians. It’s common practice that the UN and U.S. ignore Pakistani Christians. Christians from Gojra, Kurian village, Joseph Colony, Lahore, Peshawar and other cities are seeking asylum in different countries but their applications were rejected. Despite registering with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, these Christians have been given a shut-up call. Most of [the Christians] went [tried to go to other nations] or [are] willing [to leave], to save their lives and avoid future persecution. During the Gojra, Joseph colony and Lahore incident – [attacks on Christians], none of the survivors were given protection or IDPs [International Displaced Persons] status from UNHCR, neither [has the] U.S. has raised any voice for this poor segment of the society. On the other hand, hundreds of the Shia Hazara [Pakistan’s Shias Under Attack] community and Ahmadis are travelling to Europe, Australia, America and UK on regular a basis. Hundreds of the families were displaced during Rimsha blasphemy case and many of them are still living in tents in Islamabad slum area. They were not given the IDPs status at that time.

 

I have given the example of Abraham; he went there to save his nephew Lot, we as Christians are brothers. When we accept Christ as savior thus we become the sons of Abraham (father of the nations). But U.S. Christians (especially talking about the ruling class) has never been lenient towards Christians. The U. S. government and USAID have always been adding aid to the Muslim world, which means adding fuel to fire. While poor Pakistani Christians are still in pitiable conditions. In response these radical Muslims in [the] shape of Taliban are attacking [Christians]. Let me make it clear that all U.S. people are not in favor of Muslims; recently U.S.

congressman Rohrabacher has asked to ban aid to Pakistan for persecuting Christians.

 

Pakistani Christians have been facing discriminatory laws and persecution for the last two and half decades. The law and order situation is getting worse day by day. One can imagine; when Pakistan has failed to save its own sensitive installations from the hard-core terrorists, how come they protect the weak segment of the society when they are not even willing? The situation becomes more pathetic when the foreign office disowns refugees “detained” in Sri Lanka. Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam [Foreign Affairs Spokesperson] was unsympathetic to the plight of the detained refugees in Sri Lanka, saying: “These people (asylum seekers) obtained asylum in Sri Lanka by badmouthing Pakistan. If they are in trouble, I have noTasnim Aslam Khan - Pakistan Foreign Affairs spokesperson idea.” “I don’t know of any operation being conducted by Sri Lankan authorities against Pakistani refugees,” she added. [No Respite]  

 

In this situation, Christian countries should know and realize the sensitivity of the issues Pakistani Christians are facing. UN, U.S. and EU should honor its international obligations and allow their institutions to ensure that no Pakistani Christian is deported to face the risk of persecution or torture. Sometime we must get involved in a messy or painful situation in order to help others. We should be willing to act immediately when other need our help. 

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

____________________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All info enclosed by brackets is from the editor. All links not enclosed by links are from shamim Masih.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

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

 

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Pakistani Christians Doomed to Oppression under Islamic Rule of Law


pleasing-allah-by-burning-christian-homes

John R. Houk

© June 28, 2014

 

I started this post as an introduction to Shamim Masih’s latest journalistic contribution about Christian life in Pakistan. My intro became too long ergo I am posting it followed by Shamim’s report entitled “Care for Christians in Pakistan”.

 

Shamim demands social justice for Pakistan minorities with his emphasis on Pakistan’s Christians. Some of the questions Shamim asks:

 

Will I be safe today? Do I actually have the right to live freely? Can I walk on my own?

 

Shamim is typical of Pakistani-Christians. As a Christian he desires religious liberty without oppression. As a Pakistani Shamim is wholly devoted to Pakistan as the nation of his birth – he is a Pakistani patriot.

 

A lot of Pakistani-Christians because of birth and once experiencing the British legal system prior to 1947, have a difficult time realizing the obvious. As long as Pakistan calls itself a Muslim Republic Christians and all non-Muslims will be second class citizens (Pakistan is a Sunni majority nation so Shi’ites are included in minority discrimination).

 

Pakistani-Christians look back to Pakistan independence in 1947 (carved away from India with the intention of providing Muslims political security from the Hindu majority of India proper). Pakistan’s founder – Muhammad Ali Jinnah – in speech stumping for independence expressed a desire for a secular Pakistan in which all religions and ethnicities were to be respected. Because of this even the Pakistani-Christians loved Jinnah and his legacy. Due to the nature of Islam, if Jinnah was ever sincere, I doubt he would have succeeded. At any rate the Jinnah legacy lives on among Pakistani-Christians because Jinnah did not live long enough to maintain the original Constitution. After Jinnah’s death in 1948 of lung cancer, Pakistan began to devolve into an Islamic State. Z.A. Bhutto (latter hung in 1979) expressly began to use Islam as a unifier of the Sunni Muslim ethnicities of Pakistan followed by the Quran and Sharia Law becoming the standard of the rule of law. It is my opinion as long as the rule of law is based on Islam, Christians are doomed to be persecuted and marginalized in Pakistan.

 

JRH 6/28/14 [Please scroll toward the end to view Shamim’s donation info]

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Care for Christians in Pakistan

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 6/28/2014 12:58 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Social evil is one of the most brutal and biggest curses to any nation which plays the vital role in the destruction of the society in any country or state. Pakistan is amongst one of those countries which are facing various disparaging social evils which have affected the law and order situation in the country, national harmony and peace.

 

Will I be safe today? Do I actually have the right to live freely? Can I walk on my own? These are just some questions every Pakistani asks himself every day. But as a religious minority member, I feel 200% insecure [more] than Sunni Muslims. There has been an unprecedented number heinous acts committed against religious minorities lately, whether it be violence, blasphemy, rape cases. Justice is still pending for countless cases in the country and the state has failed to deliver what is promised since independence – equality and justice for all. Development is not mere statistics based on only economic growth. What position does Pakistan have, when the cries of the minorities are stifled and the meek are silenced? On one hand we boast of a nation and its unity in diversity and on the other hand religious minorities has no voice of their own. They are merely shunted to the periphery for the society.

 

Sometimes I feel nothing can stir the consciousness of the people. We live in a materialistic era where money presides over the social issues, our own humanity. We all suffer from the ostrich syndrome. We think nothing is wrong till we start suffering. We fail to push forward the need for a change, a revolution.

 

September 22, 2013, witnessed the most brutal act that created ripples of protest all over the world. Twin explosions at All Saints Church in Peshawar killed more than 80 people and wounded over 100 others. The heinous act was strongly condemned in Pakistan and the world as well. Many houses in Joseph Colony, Lahore were set ablaze including two churches. I thought that the leaders and police would have more empathy for the sufferings of the weaker segment of the society. Finally the Supreme Court of Pakistan took Suo Moto [Latin Literally translated, it means “on its own motion,” and the term generally refers to a situation wherein a judge acts without request by either party to the action before the court – in Pakistan] action and the Supreme Court of Pakistan has brought smiles on the faces of the poor strata of the society.

 

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan ordered the federal government to form a national council of minorities’ rights for protection of minority rights and ensuring religious harmony. The order further stated that those responsible for religious hate speech on social media must be brought to justice and children who face harassment at their schools because of their religious beliefs should be protected. The apex court also ordered the formation of a special force to protect of worship. [Blog Editor: Pakistan SC 32 page in pdf and in English]

 

Chief Justice (CJ) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani ordered federal and provincial governments to meet a quota of minorities in employments in all services. The court asked the registrar to form a three-member bench to ensure the order is carried out. The new bench will also take up any cases related to the abuse of minorities. The said rulings were made in the detailed judgment on a suo moto case pertaining to the suicide bombing attack on a church in Peshawar in September, 2013.

 

Although the CJ has ordered the formation of a National Council of Minority Rights the fact is – extremism is on the rise and especially when blasphemy laws are still on the statute book. If we observe the past practice of the government, it is difficult to say whether government will take interest immediately to implement the order. The past practice is minority faith groups including Christians, are frequently targeted and the misuse of the blasphemy laws in particular has been blamed for increasing inter-religious tensions across the country. And Pakistan was also named the sixth most violent place for Christians to live by leading persecution charity Open Doors. [Blog Editor: Actually the Open Doors WWL has Pakistan at number 8. I am guessing Shamim’s source for 6th as a persecutor of Christians comes from Carey Lodge writing ChristianToday.com.]

 

Pakistani Christians have welcomed the CJ orders but ground reality is totally different. We’ve viewed the past practice of the Pakistani government and society, in this situation we can only hope that after clear and cogent instruction from the CJ, the Pakistani government especially during the PML-N ruling takes positive steps towards making minorities feel secure in the country.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

__________________________

Pakistani Christians Doomed to Oppression under Islamic Rule of Law

John R. Houk

© June 28, 2014

_______________________

Care for Christians in Pakistan

 

Shamim’s report is an edited version by John R. Houk

All links and text enclosed brackets are from the Editor

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

 

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

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FOR GBP TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:
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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
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                405527
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High-handed Leadership


Muslims Persecute Christians banner

Shamim writes about how Islam has transformed Pakistan from a secular State at its founding to a Muslim State dominated more and more by Islamic intolerance. Islamic intolerance in Pakistan has corrupted those who are considered leaders in Pakistan’s ever decreasing Christian population into kowtowing to the Islamic Supremacists that appointed them.

 

JRH 3/9/14

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High-handed Leadership

 

By Shamim Masih

3/9/2014 3:27 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: Religious minorities are widely viewed as beleaguered or under attack since Z. A. Bhutto’s regime. Even then Pakistani Christians follow his ideology. At the time of partition in 1947, around 23 percent population was comprised of non-Muslims citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately 3-4 percent. Religious minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis have been the targets of suicide bomb attacks, several incidents of violence and intimidation were reported including abduction and subsequent forced conversion of girls. Worship places and graveyards of Christians and Ahmadis have not been spared. Regular reports of graves being excavated and vandalized appear in the press and via community reports. 

 

General Zia brought in rules and regulations which were supposed to bring Pakistani law more in tune with the Sharia, or at least the Sharia as interpreted by him and his cohorts. These laws, which included the infamous blasphemy law, had a long term impact on Pakistan’s minorities. Since then there has been a steady rise in incidents involving attacks on both Christians and Ahmadis during the last two decades. Blasphemy law has targeted religious minorities on a regular basis. In spite of the case’s dismissal by the court, Rimsha and her family had to be kept in a safe house to prevent vigilante action against her and finally Rimsha and her family shifted to Canada.

 

During the British era, blasphemy laws were used infrequently and were reserved for prosecution of clerics, authors and preachers who caused inter-communal violence by attacking other faiths. But since 1982, any individual can be charged with blasphemy, leading to vigilantism and frivolous accusations against Pakistan’s minorities, especially Christians. Before 1986, only 14 cases of blasphemy had ever been reported, whereas between 1986 and 2012 around 1300 people had been charged.

 

I believe that all Christians are not saints but human beings and often make mistakes but I certainly believe that there is even limits to telling lie. Bhutto nationalized Christians’ institutions and since then Christian students are out of educational institutions. Even now Christian students are being expelled from missionary institutions due to the lack of sources. But Paul Bhatti’s claimed that he has supported 4000 Christian students and funded 15 Christian students for higher studies abroad and 100 million provided for rehabilitation of worship places. I didn’t see any support for Christians during his time. This huge fund is beyond the total grant to the Harmony Ministry from the government, which is around 20 million per year. During the vigil mark slain minister Shahbaz Bhatti’s third death anniversary, I heard people claiming, and they are promoting his vision; I try to recall, what Shahbaz Bhatti or his followers have done for the community but found nothing but this scandal. Sitting as federal minister in government, if he delivered a statement in the favor of persecuted women is not worthy to take credits. He was elected through the democratic process but was selected by a big Muslim political party. Candidates appointed to reserved seats are not real representatives as they do not get their votes. The selection system adopted for minority members has opened the doors of corruption, says Albert David– Chairman PUCM. Thus he was not a public representative. When a majority of fellow Christians are going through sufferings we are not worthy to take any credits. Nazir S Bhatti, president PCC declared joint electorate conspiracy against religious minorities. The PCC has filed a writ petition in the IHC against this system.

   

Besides flagging the incidents, the HRCP report laments the failure to do away with discriminatory laws including the constitutional provision barring non-Muslims from key government positions. Instead of abandoning the promise of revising and improving the law, the government should create consensus on the need to reform it. Educational institutions, Technical training centers and women empowerment is required to empower the Christian community.

 

If I look around and I could hardly find few passionate Christians, who delighted to extend their hands to all affected areas and people in need. There is a lot of information regarding the recent and past Christian persecutions that sway Pakistan over and over. Scientists say that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can create a tornado in Texas a week later. Clearly, in today’s deeply connected Christian world, truthful unbiased and unfiltered news about realities of persecution is a basic need to address. Christian persecution news coverage is pitiable in Pakistan, but reminding the Christians around to unite, remain prayerful and patient so that we can ripple Christian love and concern through our own individual lives and the consequent lives we inevitably affect around us.

 

But unlikely there are many so called Christian leaders wasting the resources shaking up with Muslim ullmas [Blog Editor: I could not find a reference to “ullmas”. Perhaps in the context of sentence the reference is “ulema,” “ulama” or mullah] and contributing in main political parties. The Islamists are prevailing in the battle of ideas. Secular voices have been either physically eliminated or removed from the mainstream by judicial means. Therefore, it is in the interest of neighbors and the international community to support the minority communities in Pakistan and to support the voices of those Pakistanis who refuse to give up the idea of a pluralist society.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Bracketed content is added by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

 

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

Top of Form

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

 

Bad to Worse to Very Much Worse


I_Don't_Suppot_Islamic_Repression_religious_minorities

Shamim provides a bit of an update pertaining to a marriage in Pakistan that is quite controversial between Asim Saleem (a Christian young man age 22) and a Muslim girl identified only as Sunair (age 20). Also paints a word picture of the plight of non-Muslim and non-Sunni Muslims that includes poverty, discrimination. Blasphemy Law frame-ups, overall oppression and exploitation. The Pakistan minority religious persuasions mentioned are Christians (Here, Here, Here and Here), Hindus, Shi’ites and Ahmadis.

 

 

JRH 2/23/14

Please Support NCCR

*******************************

Bad to Worse to Very Much Worse

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 2/20/2014 9:20 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Targeting religious minorities in Pakistan will remain a sore spot in the Asia. Pakistan, 96 percent Muslim is one of the most hostile nations for religious minorities. All religious minorities in Pakistan, not just Christians face discriminatory laws, forced conversions, and bombs and shootings aimed at minority-sect Muslims, such as Shiites, Hindus and Ahmadis. Pakistan was among the top five overall for restrictions on religion, singling out its anti-blasphemy laws as a prime example, says Pew Research Center. The report found that violations reached unprecedented levels because of growing incidents of sectarian violence against religious minorities including Shiites. The government also failed to protect Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus, it said. Pakistani courts frequently use blasphemy laws to give death or lifetime-jail sentences to minorities accused of insulting Islam. The government continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief.

 

In the country it is typical to kidnap Christian girls to force conversion to Islam then forcibly force the girl to marry a Muslim. And the courts protect it as well. On the other hand if a Muslim girl willingly and voluntarily decides to marry a Christian man in many cases it is illegal and in all cases Islamic rabble rousing will most likely occur to reclaim the Muslim girl to her family. I published a report about a Christian boy, who took a bold step to cross-faith marriage a dangerous ambition in Faisalabad. But Muslim leadership warned the local Christians to produce the couple otherwise they will set ablaze their houses.

 

It is a common practice that minority’s girls are abducted and forcefully married to Muslims. But now things have gone from bad to worse to very much worse. Though the constitution guarantees freedom of religion in papers but there are reports of forced conversions to Islam, kidnappings of non-Muslims, job discrimination, persecution at job places, blasphemy arrests and razing of minority houses and worship places remain commonplace.

 

In the recent [of the Christian boy and Muslim girl], reportedly, the married couple was recovered and [the Muslim] religious leaders of the area forced Christian elders [with the ultimatum] that if both (boy with girl) remain and practice Islam, they will spare them. Otherwise, [be] ready to face hardships; so the boy [was] forcibly converted to Islam. Apparently the girl had willingly agreed to live [with the] Christian boy in a peaceful manner. [In the mean] while the hardline jihadists in Pakistan have threatened the couple with death if he lives with the girl or even leaves her. This is a worse situation in the country that not only girls are forcibly converted to Islam but now boys need to convert and practice Islam. The major example of this case is Pakistani cricketer Yousaf Yohana [a Christian converting to Islam under suspicious circumstances], who turned [his name] to Mohammad Yousaf and [began] practicing Islam [Muslim article on situation dated 4/23/09].

 

Religious minorities; especially Christians are often stuck on the lower rung of the economy, often working as servants, sweepers and day laborers. So they normally don’t want to go into the courts due to the lack of resources and protection. In spite of this bleak outlook, minority leaders are not speaking internationally in the media but [are leaving that to] the human rights organizations. The world is turning to interfaith harmony for a more tolerant Pakistan, they argue, [that] would translate into another goal for many. 

___________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Everything enclosed in brackets are by the Editor.

Shamim Masih provided the resource links except where bracketed.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General 

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

 

FOR USD TRANSFER.
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

No place for minorities in Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan


Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa - Pakistan map

Intro: No place for minorities in Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan

The political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) failed to win Pakistan’s parliamentary elections in May 2013. Pakistan’s big winner was Nawaz Sharif. PTI’s leader Imran Khan managed to form a provincial government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). Khan made campaign promises that implied he will bring Pakistan out of corrupt governance with the aid of all Pakistanis. The insinuation of “all” means majority Muslims, minority Christians, minority Shia Muslims, Hindus and Ahmadiyya Muslims. The term for this new united Pakistan is Naya Pakistan.

 

Of Pakistan minorities those considered on the lowest rung of existence by the majority Sunni Muslims are Christians and Ahmadis. Thus unless a Christian is a beneficiary of condoned wealth by the majority they are in some worst terms of poverty and considered social pariahs.

 

The Naya Pakistan promises or manifesto relating minorities which is allegedly is inclusive of Christians runs something like this:

 

Imran, who chose the venue of Saturday’s rally for being the site where Indian Muslims first made their official demand for a separate homeland, pledged in his speech to always “speak the truth with the nation”.

 

He went on to assure that he would wage a ‘jihad’ against oppression and side with the oppressed, including women and minorities, if he came to power.

 

“I will establish the supremacy of law, I will not have property or bank accounts abroad,” he said, alluding to accusations of corruption against politicians.

 

“It is my promise to you that I will … (Bold Emphasis Mine – ‘Naya Pakistan’ rally: Imran ignites poll drive; By AFP / Anwer Sumra; The Express Tribune; 5/24/13)  

 

Shamim Mehmood (Masih) is not trusting of Imran Khan’s promises for a Naya Pakistan.

 

JRH 7/6/13

Please Support NCCR

******************************

No place for minorities in Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan

 

By Shamim Mehmood

Sent: July 5, 2013 10:28 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: A lot has been written about the plight of minorities in Pakistan – some by the minorities themselves and some by the majority. Minority rights in Pakistan were always broken. Majority always copes while minority bears the brunt.

 

In this piece, however, I want to focus on another aspect of the statement Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader issued, which I doubted pertaining to Christians. I heard Imran Khan many times and observed that he is not favorable toward Pakistani minorities. During the 2013 election drive, he never favored them neither has he given priority to Christians in the priority list submitted to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Christians are the biggest minority in Pakistan but placed second on purpose. [SlantRight Editor: In trying to verify Shamim’s premise that Christians are the actual largest minority in Pakistan I discovered it is depending on who you read. What is evident is that Christians and Hindus are the largest minorities. The Christian-Hindu populations are essentially neck-n-neck as to which is largest. In order to offer the benefit of the doubt to Shamim the Pakistani-Hindu population seems to be on an exodus out of Pakistan which favors the emergence of Christians as the largest minority.]

 

PTI is a pro-Islamic political party and it is clearly seen that the PTI leader has been favoring the Taliban and has been in favor of Jammat-e-Islami – which is a radical political party and an ally party of the PTI in KPK. The PTI chief had been claiming from years that his party will provide justice to every citizen irrespective of cast, creed and religion but I personally observed him as rigid/fundamentalist. Finally, the PTI nominated Chief Minister in KPK is showing the real face of the PTI after coming in power in one province of Pakistan. While delivering his statement, he said that sanitary workers (cleaning drains, streets and roads) jobs will be given to minorities (Christians, Hindus and schedule casts) only. Muslims from the province are not eligible for this job. On July 2, 2013, RAZA ROOMI and BEENISH SALEEM have spoken about this statement on CAPITAL TV in SEEDHI BAAT (Talk Show).

 

Finally, someone from the PTI has spoken and has shown the double standard of their mentality. It is worth reflecting that in Europe and America Muslims have built mosques by the thousands and practice their faith daily, and it does not cause any disruption. Lately, since 9/11 there has been some change in attitudes by Europeans’ but it is minor compared to the horrors minorities face in Pakistan.

 

Christians of vicinity have been serving the nation in the educational, health and social sectors. Unfortunately, ZA Bhutto nationalized their institutions and declared them second class citizens. Now, the PTI leader is forcing them to perform cleaning or sanitary jobs.

 

Parvez Khatak has really hurt the feelings of the minorities. Christians are disappointed from the change they planned to bring in the country.

 

Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCP) has strongly condemned the statement and demanded immediate clarification from Imran Khan, chief of PTI on his party leader. He urged the Pakistani Christians to stay away from PTI because the next step might be to announce separate dress for non-Muslims in KPK.

 

Albert David – Chairman Pakistan United Christian Movement – PUCM declared it, highly insensitive, discriminatory and biased remarks from PTI leadership. PUCM chief has demanded a public apology and resignation from Mr. Khattak otherwise the PTI will face a strong protest by Non-Muslim Pakistanis if the leadership of the PTI does not take immediate action. Is this the “changing” that the PTI had been rallying for, David questioned the PTI leadership?

 

Shireen Mazari PTI spokesperson said when I asked about this statement, she sent me a text massage saying [SlantRight Editor: I am assuming Shamim is paraphrasing in English from the original language], “It was not against minorities. He spoke against the previous minister who hired hoards of sifarshis as sweepers and once in there these people said they could not do the job as they were “Muslims” and wanted to be posted elsewhere! So the CM said if these people refused to do the job they were hired for because they were Muslims and wouldn’t clean (etc.) then they should be fired and Christians who needed the job should be hired instead.” So how is that being against minorities?

 

It is amazing that the people refused to do the job they were hired for and CM declared this job is only for minorities. I wanted to ask the Christian campaigners, who have invested their time and money for this day?

 

It does make me feel that there must be some form of racism or discrimination towards people of other faiths especially in Pakistan where the minority is less valued or less valued as a worthy human being and thus are given jobs that is considered as lower-end jobs for (according to some societies) lower- class/worthless/low status people. I, however, think that is simply bang out of order. You can’t go round treating people who are not on the same level as you or who don’t share the same religion as you to give them jobs that are inferior just because they are inferior to you on the basis that they are not Muslims. It is morally wrong way to go about dealing with people.

_______________________________

© Shamim (Masih) Mehmood

Edited by John R. Houk

Explanatory links added by Editor

 

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