Interview with the Polish Ambassador


Piotr Opaliński – Poland Ambassador to Pakistan

 

Shamim Mahmood – a Pakistani Christian advocate/journalist – has submitted some interesting information on foreign relations between Pakistan and Poland derived from Ambassador Piotr A. Opalinski.

 

JRH 2/3/19

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Interview with the Polish Ambassador

 

By SHAMIM MAHMOOD

Sent 2/2/2019 11:43 PM

 

ISLAMABAD (Online) Mr. Piotr A. Opalinski, the Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan has said that Poland values its historical links with Pakistan and enjoys the multifaceted collaboration. Currently, the two countries are significantly developing their political, economic and defence cooperation. The current trade volume is reaching a half billion Euro and there are good prospects for the further growth of their bilateral trade. Peace and stability are the key for the development of the region. Poland supports the peace process in Afghanistan and acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating the talks between the US and Taliban.

 

Talking to the ‘Online News Agency’ in an exclusive interview, the Polish Ambassador Mr. Piotr Opalinski said that the relations between Pakistan and Poland are ‘excellent and very cordial’. He pointed out both at the ongoing political dialogue as well as enhancement of economic cooperation, especially in the areas of energy and exploration of natural resources, in which Polish companies have been engaged in Pakistan since last 20 years. He said that Poland’s vast expertise and long tradition in coal mining, defence production, agriculture and food processing offered new opportunities for the mutually beneficial cooperation in these areas as well.

 

Ambassador said, that Poland supported the inclusion of Pakistan in the GSP Plus by the European Union (EU) to grant non-reciprocal preferential treatment to Pakistan’s exports. He emphasized that the geographical location of Poland in the exact centre of Europe made it very suitable to become a hub for Pakistani products designed for the European market. The bilateral trade volume in 2018 raised to about 500 million Euro. The trade balance is in favour of Pakistani exports, mainly textiles (90 percent), with a relatively smaller share of leather products, sportswear, foodstuff and surgical instruments.

 

Ambassador Opalinski also said, in the area of development cooperation Poland was directly working with Pakistani partners – local organisations capable of a very efficient implementation of the projects. Some of the best examples of educational projects supported i.e. by the Polish Embassy were the primary schools in Kaghan Valley and Bari Imam area of Islamabad. They are providing quality education, counselling and medical care for the children.

 

Answering a question about visa policy, the Ambassador said it was based on the common Schengen Visa Code, as Poland, being one of 26 Schengen Member States, issues the visas allowing for a border-free movement of travellers in the whole area in all categories of travels – businessmen, tourists, students etc. The available statistics indicate that the number of visitors from Pakistan to Poland is gradually increasing.

 

Talking about the regional and international situation, the Ambassador appreciated Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process and its efforts in facilitating the talks between the US leadership and Taliban. Poland wholeheartedly supports peaceful resolution of the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, to the benefit, stability and development of the whole region.

 

Recollecting his very good personal experiences of nearly ten years of diplomatic service in Pakistan (first tenure as Deputy Head of Mission and now as Ambassador) Mr. Piotr Opalinski said the Polish-Pakistani friendship, transcending through different times and geographical distance was deeply-rooted in history and time-tested. He referred to the memories of Polish refugees who were granted shelter in Karachi during the World War and to the Polish pilots, who made a great contribution to the development of the PAF and civil aviation at the nascent stage of Pakistan’s statehood. He said, all this, and more fascinating stories of Polish-Pakistani personal relations of friendship, would be described in an excellent book “Freedom Under the Pakistani Sky” by Polish author Mrs. Anna T. Pietraszek [Polish Wikipedia], which is going to be launched in Pakistan later this year. Ends/

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

Diplomatic Correspondents

Online Int’l News Networks

Daily Jinnah [Urdu]

Daily Morning Mail

Journalist, Blogger and Social Reformer

+92-300-642-4560

[Blog Editor: Shamim also does Christian activism in Pakistan. It can be dangerous work in Islamic Pakistan. Please consider a contribution. The last I heard services like PayPal are not supported in Pakistan. The Western Union is a good way to send money which will transfer into Pakistan Rupee – https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/send-money.html; Shamim Mahmood; Islamabad; +92-300-642-4560.

+++++++++++

Blog Editor: This Facebook video should be of interest in relation to Polish refugees helping to build the Pakistan Air Force after WWII:

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Edited by John R. Houk

Source links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

MoHR Purposed Amendments in Christian Marriage and Divorce Acts’


Marriage & Divorce Among Christians

An Intro to Shamim’s ‘MoHR Purposed Amendments in Christian Marriage and Divorce Acts’

 

Intro by John R. Houk

© April 8, 2017 (Intro- JRH & ‘MoHR Purposed …-SM)

 

Shamim Mahmood (Masih) addresses marriage and divorce reforms for Christians in the Pakistan legal code. The tenor of Shamim’s report is to bring Pakistan law into the 21st century with a focus on women’s rights pertaining to marriage and divorce.

 

I’m a bit old fashioned choosing to agree with the New Testament:

 

Matthew 5:31-32; 1 Corinthians 7: 10-16 (NKJV)

 

Marriage Is Sacred and Binding

 

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[a] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

 

Footnotes:

 

a Matthew 5:32Or fornication

 

Matthew 5:32Or fornication

 

Keep Your Marriage Vows

 

10 Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. 11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.

 

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

 

In full disclosure, I have been divorced. My first wife divorced me because my Christian beliefs did not coincide with the lifestyle she desired to live. I remarried in 1990 and have had a long happy Marriage to this very day (minus a few marital spats along the way).

 

Now addressing the issue of domestic wife and child abuse/battery. I definitely do advocate a married remain together when one inflicts violence upon another, even though the New Testament does not provide for consequences for such marital abuse for either the husband or the wife.

 

However, the New Testament has commands for the way a married life is to be conducted:

 

1 Corinthians 7: 2-5 (NKJV)

 

Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

 

All you husbands need to read the above verses to make sure there is no misunderstanding about how to treat one’s wife in these next verses:

 

Ephesians 5:22-29 – ff (NKJV)

 

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

 

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

 

There is no room for wife beaters among Christians. Adultery and unbelievers appears to be the principles behind divorce. BUT, if you are a man of God DO NOT allow a man to beat on his wife even if you must take matters in your own hands. Even if taking action means you at the very least call upon the rule of law to take care of a wife beater.

 

Ok, I know … this is an American perspective. I can only imagine how women are treated in a Muslim dominated nation like Pakistan. Christians definitely need the law to be on their side in greater context in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Below, Shamim address marriage and divorce in Pakistan.

 

JRH 4/8/17

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MoHR Purposed Amendments in Christian Marriage and Divorce Acts

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent 4/7/2017 10:46 PM

ISLAMABAD: Christian leadership agreed to bring reforms in the Marriage and Divorce acts to protect women rights. The clergy, parliamentarians and civil society have agreed to bring amendments to Christian Marriages Act 1872 and the Divorce Acts of 1869 of the constitutions of Pakistan.

 

A national level consultation of religious leaders, civil society and Christian parliamentarians was held to discuss Christian Marriage and divorce Acts. Senator Kamran Michael, Federal Minster for Human Rights stated that the Government is aware of the need for greater protection and promotion of minority rights whether it is legislation, education, health, nutrition or violence against them. He informed that Christian Family matters among the Christian community are dealt with by the Christian Marriages Act of 1872 and the Divorce Act of 1869. Since both the Acts are centuries old and need to be reviewed as certain provisions became outdated; they smack of colonial rule. Talking to the UCANews Senator Kamran Michael said the incumbent government is committed to protect the rights of every citizens of Pakistan especially women, children and minorities [Similar Thought Pakistan Point]. He said to facilitate the Christian community across the country, Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) [MoHR update from Pakistan Today 3/19/17] has obtained Resolutions from Provincial Governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan to regulate matter pertaining to Christian Marriage and divorce. He also referred first national consultation held in August 2016 wherein the same bills were thoroughly examined.

 

Mr. Sharafat Ali Chaudhry, Legal consultant, MoHR presented the Bill and stated that in these drafts, it has been proposed that the registration of marriage will be responsibility of the State and solemnization will be done by the Church. Age of marriage both for male and female has been proposed to be 18 years, and both male and female must be from Christian background, he further informed. Under the present applicable law of Christian Divorce Act 1869, there is only one ground of divorce available which is raising allegations against the chastity of the spouse, however, in the proposed draft, other grounds of the divorce have been proposed for the parties.

 

A Legal Consultant pointed out difference of opinion among different Christian religious communities. A detail discussion was held and it was proposed that more consultations are needed to have a unified legislation. It was also proposed that Representatives of National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) may also be invited during next consultations as registration of marriages is responsibility of NADRA and Christian community is facing problem in getting marriage certificates.

 

A detailed discussion was also held to discuss amendments in divorce. It was informed that there has been a bill in the national assembly related to health issues wherein amendment has also been proposed in the Christian Bills. Legal consultant elaborated ground for divorce and raised the issue that mental and physical illness as well as cruelty shall be included in the grounds for divorce. Numbers of ground were proposed by the participants in view of current changed social, economic and cultural situations.

 

Senator Kamran Michael stated that the law is for Christian community and all denomination shall unanimously approve it. He was of the view that there shall not be amendments which are in contradiction to the Bible, however, clergy may like to consider different options and grounds for divorce. He further purposed another consultation meeting in Islamabad next month wherein the amendment proposed during current meeting will be discussed.

 

All denominational heads from Roman Catholic, Church of Pakistan, Presbyterian, and Salvation Army, members from the civil society and Christian parliamentarians were part of the meeting and agreed to the purposed amendments.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

 

 

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

 

Email: shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

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

+92-300-642-4560

 

___________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All source links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood – MoHR Purposed Amendments in Christian Marriage and Divorce Acts

I Beg to Differ


hypocrit-defined

Shamim writes of the Islamic moral hypocrisy in its application to Pakistan religious minorities, especially Pakistani Christians.

 

JRH 3/1/17

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I Beg to Differ

 

By Shamim Masih (Mahmood)

Sent 3/1/2017 8:53 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: Various cities in the upper parts of Pakistan were jolted by earthquake tremors on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. I heard one of my friend saying that God is angry with us and thus there are earthquakes and other natural disasters etc.  It is common practice in Pakistani society; especially Muslim prayer leader decry in Friday prayer sermon counting the possible reasons why God is angry and reasons of natural disasters. The major reasons quoted are: selling alcohol, committing adultery especially during Ramanza [aka Ramadan], Women going out for shopping in the markets, co-education system and youth using mobile phones and latest technology. These are botched up priorities and it is very painful to see the priority list of do’s and don’ts of the Moulanas.***

 

[***Blog Editor: As an American blogger, I was not certain what a “Moulana” was. Google-America was not cooperative. That search suggested alternative spellings. In the context of Shamim’s paragraph I am going to guess two Google alternatives: Maulana and Mawlānā.

 

Maulana (The Free Dictionary):

 

     n. Islam

 

  1. A Muslim man respected for his religious knowledge or scholarship.

  2. Used as a courtesy title for sucha leader or scholar.

 

Mawlānā (Wikipedia):

 

Mawlānā (/mɔːˈlɑːnə/; from Arabic مولانا, literally “our lord/master”)[1] is a title, mostly in Central Asia and in the Indian subcontinent, preceding the name of respected Muslim religious leaders, in particular graduates of religious institutions, e.g. a madrassa or a darul uloom, or scholars who have studied under other Islamic scholars. ***]

 

Looking analytically, what is agonizing is when mentioning sins, the sin of telling a lie, cheating, hypocrisy, bribery, killing poor and innocent people, injustice from bottom to top, child abuse even in Madrisas (seminaries), the religious leadership and elders of the society conveniently overlook adulteration of foodstuff and medicines. I am not a supporter to those mentioned above but we can realize that selling wine would be one or few persons, the rest are teetotalers. Fornication would be an individual act. So how comes so grave a sin in the whole society? These could be sins but major sins are overlooked and moulana sahib [Islamic titular veneration] straight away jumps to mention drinking, dancing, modern dressing and using cell phones etc. etc.

 

For those who believe, God is actually unhappy because of our botched-up priorities. Bribery is now accepted as norm, people give false testimony in sensitive legal cases like blasphemy and then proudly mention it to others. (It is pertinent to mention that in giving testimony usually an oath is taken on Religious books) Telling lies has become a regular affair and being truthful and righteous is considered a weakness. Discrimination and inequality are against a special segment of the society. And thus, God is unhappy and keeps warning us to sort out our priorities.

 

A Superiority complex and forced imposition have made this world hell. There is no peace, stability, security and equality in the society. Freedom of speech is merely seen in papers but claimed all over. The poor are becoming poorer and rich are more rich. Thus, poor especially religious minorities are at risk. Hundreds of individuals have been falsely accused because of property disputes or personal vengeance. Blasphemy laws put Christians and other religious minorities at risk. Discriminatory laws have restricted minorities’ representatives to grow in all avenues of life. Touching the Quran or any other book of Islam, expressing or publishing atheistic opinions and preaching of other religions are consider as crime in Pakistan. Christians are often falsely accused of participating in these activities, but in and of themselves these laws are unjust constraints on religious freedom.

 

Christians and other religious minorities should be free to exercise their religion without fear of unjust persecution. This has to end, we must not rest until there is peace, security and equality for Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. This creates a stigma which condemns religious minorities to live under the permanent threat of death. The lives of the poor hang on a very thin thread.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

shamim-masih-pakistani-christian-journalist

 

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

 

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

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

+92-300-642-4560

__________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Text embraced brackets and source links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

Interfaith Harmony between Islam and Other Religions?


can-islam-be-peaceful

John R. Houk

© February 6, 2017

 

My Brother in Christ Shamim Mahmood was involved in the Pakistan version of the World Interfaith Harmony Week is a feel-good annual global event instituted by the United Nations in 2011:

 

World Interfaith Harmony Week is an annual event to be observed during the first week of February starting in 2011.

 

World Interfaith Harmony Week was proclaimed by the General Assembly in resolution A/RES/65/5 adopted on 20 October 2010. In the resolution, the General Assembly, points out that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace and establishes World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

 

Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people, the General Assembly encourages all States to support during that week the spread of the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions. (World Interfaith Harmony Week; United Nations) 

 

It is my opinion most of the world’s religions can have a cooperative dialogue; however once one or more religions become upset with one or more other religions proselytizing among adherents, then I suspect the cooperation will come to a screaming halt. And yet if competition halts cooperation, most religions are tolerant enough in their belief systems to not erupt into riotous violence in these modern days of the 21st century – THAT IS except one religion in particular. ISLAM!

 

Let’s look at the significant religious tenets of some major religions in relation to dealing with hostile people against a particular faith.

 

Buddhism

 

Much like Christianity Buddhism has various sects that I am not going to examine. There is a central belief among all Buddhists on violence even there is doctrinal disagreement on other issues.

 

The Buddhist tradition is most clearly associated with non-violence and the principle of ahimsa (“no harm”). By eliminating their attachments to material things, Buddhists try to combat covetousness, which in itself has the potential to become a source of anger and violence against others. …  Some Buddhist texts do sanction taking human lives in exceptional cases to protect the sangha or defend the innocent. However, most Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists today reject even these exceptional justifications of killing. … (Buddhism on Peace and Violence; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World AffairsGeorgetown University)

 

More thoughts on contemporary Buddhism in regard to violence: Buddhism: Peaceful or Violent Religion? By ALAN PETO; AlanPeto.com; 6/23/13)

 

Hinduism

 

The subject of violence has engaged the best minds in India’s religious history. Although Mohandas K. Gandhi has made non-violence synonymous with Hinduism, the tradition has long recognized legitimacy of violence under some circumstances. The dominant, pragmatic approach has endorsed violence when necessary to protect one’s state or people from external or internal attacks. A divergent tradition, insisting on the complete renunciation of violence, was ascendant during the period of the Upanishads. It asserted that violent action must, by the law of karma, produce a violent reaction, and that any action that promotes the interest of one at the expense of another individual is rooted in spiritual delusion that obscures the single spiritual reality—Brahman. The conflict between these competing approaches to force constitutes the heart of the Bhagavad Gita, a dialogue between the god Krishna and the mighty warrior Arjuna, who refused to fight in a righteous cause. Krishna explains that violence is not only necessary for the defense of justice, but that such violence need not conflict with spiritual life. The contradiction between the two values is resolved by disciplined action (action without regard for its fruit), insightful action (recognizing the true nature of the self), and complete devotion to Krishna. (Hinduism on Peace and Violence; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World AffairsGeorgetown University)

 

Most Americans think of Hinduism as a non-violent faith. Compared to Islam it is true but compared to the central tenets of Christianity (not often observed by history’s Christian rulers), Hinduism can have a violent side. Read these cherrypicked excerpts from the essay entitled “The Co-Existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism”:

 

The most famous Hindu of all times, Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) is widely perceived, especially in the West, as embodying the Hindu worldview and ethos. Gandhi made ahimsa (non-violence) the cornerstone of his philosophy and practice and spoke of it as constituting the essence of Hinduism. …

 

n recent years, several Hindu organizations have become aggressive and militant in rhetoric and method, reminding us that while Gandhi championed the ethic of ahimsa, there are ancient traditions within Hinduism which sanction violence under certain circumstances and that ahuimsa and himsa (violence) have coexisted uneasily in Hinduism for centuries. The relationship between violence and non-violence is a complex one and Gandhi’s representation of Hinduism must be properly contextualized.

 

 

Vedic society in ancient India did not scrupulously adhere to ahimsa as its highest value. Sacrificial rites involved the slaying of animals and Indra, one of most popular deities of the Vedic period has many warrior-like attributes. While Manu (ca.200 B.C.E.-100 C.E.), ancient India’s influential lawgiver, lists ahimsa among the general human virtues, the ksatriyas are exempt. He permits killing in self-defence and for implementing the injunctions of the Vedas. Two of the most popular epics in the Hindu tradition, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata culminate in lengthy and violent battles.

 

… We see quite clearly from the Bhagavadgita that while the tradition upholds the ultimacy of non-violence, exceptions are made for the use of violence. The Mahabharata war is referred to, in the Bhagavadgita, as a dharma yuddha. A dharma yuddha is a war fought in defence of justice and righteousness and for the security and well being of the community (lokasamgraha). …

 

 

The final characteristic of a dharma yuddha that I want to mention is that violence is justified as a last resort and only after peaceful methods of conflict resolution are exhausted. …

 

It is clear, therefore, that there are influential traditions within Hinduism which justify the use of violence under certain circumstances and which understand the use of violence to be consistent with the Hindu world-view. While it is true that ancient texts, such as the Upanisads, refer frequently to ahimsa, these texts were traditionally meant for seekers of liberation (moksa) who had entered the last of the four stages of life (samnyasa). Such persons were ritually freed from social and familial obligations and dedicated to the quest for liberation. READ ENTIRETY (The Co-Existence of Violence and Non-Violence in Hinduism; By Anantanand Rambachan; World Council of Churches)

 

Christianity

 

The practice of Christianity as embraced by varying nations that would define themselves as Christian have not followed the tenets set down during the earthly walk of Jesus Christ and the Christ’s amplifications as placed into words by direct followers of Jesus Christ. Many atrocities have occurred in history by Christian rulers in the name of Christianity that I am certain the Lord Jesus would have rebuked them:

 

51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him [i.e. Jesus] to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]

 

55 But He [i.e. Jesus] turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.[c] And they went to another village. (Bold text Editor’s – Luke 9: 51-56 NKJV)

 

Insulting Jesus was not lead to riotous violence. The Beatitudes sums up how Christians should act on a personal level:

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven
. (Matthew 5: 3-10 NKJV)

 

The Lord Jesus Christ continues with the Sermon on the Mount (excerpted for the point):

 

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

 

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

 

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5: 11, 21-25, 43-45 NKJV)

 

The New Testament is full of the sentiment of DO NO HARM. As an individual, this is a journey to ever closed to the paradigm of Jesus Christ. Don’t abandon the paradigm because of other’s actions, rather stay on your journey. If you slip into a ditch. GET UP! And crawl out of the ditch to get back onto the journey of the Christ paradigm.

 

Christians are to defend themselves though. The defense should not be acted out of hate or revenge. Rather the defense is to protect the community. Protection does not mean pillaging and raping. It means protection.

 

Islam

 

In full disclosure and if you haven’t figured it out, I am a Christian. I am definitely not a perfect Christian and yet I am devoted to Truth as presented in the Word of God, especially in the New Testament. One standard of trust in of whose I am is John 14:6:

 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Bold Text Editor’s NKJV)

 

I have to guess all religions believe they hold the keys of Truth. I don’t have a problem with that until anyone representing a different faith or secular ideology tries to force me to think divergently from the Truth I trust. One such religion targeting the belief system of Christianity are the writings revered by Muslims in the Islam way.

 

Christian Truth: Jesus Christ is the Son of God:

 

Matthew 16:13-17

 

13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Bold Text Editor’s NKJV)

 

John 5:17-23

 

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”

 

18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (Bold Text Editor’s NKJV)

 

Quran 19: 88-95

 

88. And they say, “The Most Merciful has taken [for Himself] a son.”

 

89. You have done an atrocious thing.

 

90. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation

 

91. That they attribute to the Most Merciful a son.

 

92. And it is not appropriate for the Most Merciful that He should take a son.

 

93. There is no one in the heavens and earth but that he comes to the Most Merciful as a servant.

 

94. He has enumerated them and counted them a [full] counting.

 

95. And all of them are coming to Him on the Day of Resurrection alone. (SAHIH INTERNATIONAL)

 

This Quranic section is a mere tip of the iceberg in the anti-Christian writings inherent in Islam. And I am not even going into the anti-Jewish sections and the violence that ordered upon Christians, Jews and all non-Muslims who do not bow in submission to Islam’s moon god allah and its pseudo-prophet Muhammad.

 

A website that provides a brief of more anti-Christian surahs can be located here: “Does Jesus ever claim to be God, or the son of God?

 

Keep this in mind my fellow believers in Christ Jesus the Son of God, Lord and Savior:

 

1 John 2: 18-19, 22-23; 4: 13-15; 5: 19-20

 

2:

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the[a] Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

 

22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

 

4:

13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

 

5:

19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (NKJV)

 

My above thoughts are a demonstration of skepticism that the government of the Islamic Republic is serious about ending Islamic Supremacism in the Pakistan Constitution. If Pakistan amends their Constitution to deliver the same Religious Freedom – including the Free Speech to share a non-Muslim faith without fear of retribution – that Sunni Islam enjoys, then I will be less skeptical.

 

At any rate, below is Shamim Mahmood’s participation and hope of the success of interfaith harmony between religious faiths in Pakistan.

 

JRH 2/6/17

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

World Interfaith Harmony Week

 

Sent By Shamim Mahmood

Sent: 2/4/2017 7:21 AM

 

Power of interfaith transforms fear, anger & hatred into positive human relationship: Diplomats

 

Islamabad, February 04: Diplomats based in the federal capital have highlighted the fact that prevailing world security situation has necessitated need of interfaith harmony to convert the world into a better living place. It is high time for power of interfaith to work effectively to transform fear, anger and hatred into positive human relationship”.

 

Addressing a seminar titled “World Interfaith Harmony Week 2017” organized under the banner of “Parliament of the World’s Religions” [Blog Editor: The Parliament is an international organization. My antivirus software flags its website as a yellow risk. Wikipedia has a good history.] the Ambassador of Poland H.E Piotr Opalinski said that every person reserved the very right to manifest his religion or belief either individually or in community, with others and in public or private in worship, observance, he-mr-piotr-a-opalinski-polish-amb-to-pakistan-2practice and teaching without fear of intimidation, discrimination, violence or attack.

 

Piotr Opalinski reiterated that freedom of religion or belief was fundamental right of every human being.

 

H.E Ms. Marshal Anne, deputy head of European Delegation said that in the line with universal and EU human rights are committed to respecting, protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief within their borders.

 

While speaking at the occasion H.E Joao Paulo Sabido Costa, Charge d’Affaires of h-e-joao-paulo-sabido-costa-portugalPortugal proclaimed that States have a duty to protect all persons within their jurisdiction from direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of religion o belief, whatever the reason advanced for such discrimination.

 

Ambassador of “Parliament of the World’s Religion” Mr. Shamim said that limitations to this freedom have to be strictly interpreted. He said that minorities have been increasingly targeted in hate in the country. Faiths do not bind in limits but allows social harmony and mutual tolerance for a better and progressive society. It is need of the day to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people from all faiths, he added.

 

Reference to the General Assembly resolution adopted on 20th October, 2010, the Parliament of the World’s Religions has organized “World Interfaith Harmony Week” to promote mutual understanding and inter-religious dialogue to establish interfaith harmony.

 

Members of civil society, religious leadership, media personal and diplomats have attended the event.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

 

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

 

shamim-masih-pakistani-christian-journalist

Shamim Mahmood

________________

Interfaith Harmony between Islam and Other Religions?

John R. Houk

© February 6, 2017

_______________

World Interfaith Harmony Week

 

Edited by John R. Houk

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

 

Email: shamimpakistan@gmail.com 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

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

+92-300-642-4560

 

ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS


At least for a moment Shamim Mahmood sees hope at the end of the tunnel in Pakistan’s celebration of the United Nations’ International Human Rights Day. Shamim’s observations are below.

 

kamran-michael-2

Kamran Michael

 

JRH 2/3/17

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ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent 1/31/2017 5:11 PM

 

Islamabad (Shamim Masih): Since assuming his office as Minister for Human Rights in May 2016, Senator Kamran Michael has taken historic measures to ensure protection of basic human rights of common citizens, with a specific focus on the delivery of rights for children, women, marginalized groups and religious and ethnic minority groups in across country.

 

Earlier, when this government took rule in 2013, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had appointed Kamran Michael as Minister for Ports and Shipping. However, the responsibilities of Senator Kamran were switched to Human Rights keeping in view his tremendous performance as Minister for Human Rights Punjab. Following taking charge of his new assignment, Kamran Michael has worked day and night to ensure immediate redressal of rights to all minority groups in Pakistan. In this regard, the minister visited various areas of the country to ensure rights to children, women and minorities including prisoners across the country.

 

The biggest contribution of the federal minister is various laws enacted or tabled in the Parliament to protect minorities’ rights, including Anti-Rape, Honor Killing, Criminal Bill Amendment Act 2016, Hindu Marriage Act, Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill, Child and Women Protection Bill, etc. Serious attention has been given by the honorable minister for implementation of Action Plan on Human Rights approved by the Prime Minister during 2016. A task force under the chairmanship of Senator Kamran Michael has been established to expedite the implementation by federal and provincial functions.

 

In this regard, the minister visited Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Center for Women, and ordered the improvement of basic needs to the victim children, women and groups arriving to seek assistance at the center. He also directed immediate financial and legal support to the victims of domestic violence and provision of immediate security, shelter, food, advocacy and counseling to the victims.

 

Under the objective of protection and promotion of human rights coupled with attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [Blog Editor: “SDGs” are a part of the UN Agenda 2030 globalist paradigm. I am not a big fan of anything coming from the UN and this especially the case of Agenda 2030. It is my opinion this UN Agenda threatens the sovereignty and Constitution of the USA. ON THE OTHER HAND, at least portions of Agenda 2030 can actually be productive for a nation such as Pakistan in providing hope toward upward mobility for downtrodden minorities.], the minister directed to improve the Toll Free Helpline 1099 through which the victims could seek all sorts of assistance free of cost.

 

In compliance of the minister’s directive, now the victims from across the country can register their complaints and seek assistance on the toll free helpline 1099. This will be available 24/7 very soon. Moreover, other than shelter and food, the complainants can also get legal advice from experts on human rights violations and quick relief is provided to them, their families and other vulnerable segments of the society. The Helpline received 41,510 complaints during the year 2016 while 4969 calls were received for general information and 3,073 victims were provided legal advice and 33,089 were irrelevant/unnecessary calls.

 

To protect the human rights at grass roots level, the federal minister has directed to establish Human Rights Committees at the district levels. The district level committees would be working in collaboration with the local government under the supervision of Federal Ministry for Human Rights to take immediate action on receiving complaints of violation of human rights.

 

In appreciation of the human rights activists, the ministry of the human rights organized a Human Rights Award ceremony on the occasion of Human Rights Day December 10, 2016 at Awan-e-Saddar where forty activists were given awards for their contributions for human rights by the President of Pakistan.

 

Promoting the basic rights and interfaith harmony, Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration of Ministry of Railway also launched a Christmas Peace Train. The Ministry of Human Rights also organized Sports Festival for Minorities. The Christmas Peace Train successfully completed its journey from Peshawar to Karachi starting from December 22, 2016 to January 05, 2017. The train was warmly welcomed by people at large at different stations of the country. The World and European Union has appreciated this idea.

 

Human Rights Ministry has also launched the Human Rights Song, “Rooti Ankh K Anso Ponchein” to promote the humanity. Famous classical singer Shafaqat Salamat and the Federal Minister for Human Rights, Senator Kamran Michael has sung this song.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Mahmood

 

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

 

shamim-masih-pakistani-christian-journalist Shamim Mahmood (Masih)

________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All source links are by the Editor.

 

Email: shamimpakistan@gmail.com 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw 

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

+92-300-642-4560

 

Keep Shamim Reporting


Shamim Mahmood – Christian-Pakistani Journalist

 

Shamim has been the primary source in Pakistan demonstrating how Islamic Supremacism has been a devastating tragedy of persecution for Christians by the Sunni Muslim majority. Please take some prayerful consideration to support his oft times dangerous work as a Christian and Journalist in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

 

The best method to send funds to Shamim in Pakistan is Western Union (Name: Shamim Mahmood. City: Islamabad. Phone: +92-300-642-4560). For some reason my favorite money distribution method of Paypal is disallowed in Pakistan.

 

JRH 1/8/16

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

Keep Shamim Reporting

 

By Shamim Mahmood [Masih]

Sent 1/8/16 12:28 AM

 

Hello Dear [Friend],

 

Greetings, I hope this email will find you in a good heath. I wish you a very Happy New Year, 2017. I report news that others dismiss and ignore. Please read and learn about my history and let me know how you can help me.

 

I’m an offbeat human rights reporter with a great deal of experience and a proven track record. I have an off and on perception of Islamic largesse in Pakistan. When terrorism strikes, I note the hypocrisy of a Constitution that stipulates equal rights for all Pakistani citizens regardless of religious faith. A Constitution that also stipulates Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Pakistan that follows Sharia Law and enforces Blasphemy Laws that literally can lead to awaiting death sentences in jail, unless an observant Muslim mob kills the accused violator of the Muslim Blasphemy Law first. Due to the unacceptable and prompt reaction attitude prevailing in Pakistan, I have been facing many hurdles but kept on reporting on minorities issues parallel to my official responsibilities.

 

At the dawn of 2017, I conclude that there is no standard place for me in the mainstream work force.  The most good I can do for people is to keep writing and publicizing news, this is where I ask my friends and supporters to contribute a very small monthly amount to keep me out there.

I have supported religious minorities as well as the many victims of discrimination, police brutality, racism, sex abuse and other endemic problems through journalism for many years.  I see the human race as a single entity and I write on behalf of people countrywide.  I used to be a mainstream reporter but found this type of journalism restricting and frankly, over controlled by corporate interests.

Over the past years, I have devoted my time and energy almost exclusively to a number of subjects that most media ignored or reported with great bias.  An outline of my recent efforts includes …. The Gojra incident [Dawn & Express Tribune] that left the killing of seven Christian family members. The breaking story of Rimsha Masih who was a minor Christian girl accused of blasphemy. The twin blasts in Peshawar Church. A Christian couple burnt alive in Kot Radha Kishan. Zafar Bhatti blasphemy accused and still suffering in jail. Others accused under Pakistani Blasphemy include Asia Bibi, Sawan Masih and Nabeel Masih [Christians in Pakistan & BPCA]. And the Youhanabad Church blasts and many more.

 

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

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

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

+92-300-642-4560

 

 

___________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Reference links are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

Half Citizens


pre-partition-india-hindu-muslim-majorities-map

Shamim Mahmood (Masih) gives a brief history of how Pakistani minorities had great hope of equal civil rights at Pakistan’s founding following partition in 1947 AND the evolution of massive minority persecution that followed.

 

JRH 9/28/16

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

Half Citizens

Strangers in the Town

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent September 25, 2016 7:58 AM

 

Islamabad: Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947; and is probably in a fourth generation celebrating its independence now. During the struggle for an independent country, the history is witness that Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Jews that lived in Muslim dominated regions of undivided India supported Jinnah’s vision and worked hard for a separate homeland, Pakistan. A prominent Christian politician – Dewan Bhader S P Singha – voted for Pakistan and thus this country can emerge on the map of the world. The most notable and influential Hindu figure in the Pakistan Movement was Jogendra Nath Mandal from Bengal. Jagannath Azad was from the Urdu speaking belt. Mandal represented the Hindu contingent calling for an independent Pakistan, and was one of the founding fathers of Pakistan. A leading Indian Christian like Pothan Joseph had rendered valuable services as journalists and propagandists of the Muslim League. That means that all communities have played its role for a dreamland. But unfortunately those dreams didn’t come true for minorities of Pakistan.

 

During the early days of the founder of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah, every citizen had enjoyed equal rights but gradually things have been changed. Jinnah had repeatedly promised all citizens of Pakistan complete equality of citizenship, but this promise was not kept by his successors. After the independence, Mandal was given ministries of Law, Justice, and work-force by Jinnah in Liaqat Ali Khan’s government [America accused & another bio]. He, however, realized his folly in 1950, when some lower caste Hindus were killed in clashes in East Bengal, generating a wave of refugees to India. He himself fled to India and submitted his resignation to Liaquat Ali Khan, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Since then minorities of the country have been considered as strangers while the bureaucracy and administration treated them as second class citizens in Pakistan. By time to time, legislators, bureaucracy and Mullahism proved through their acts that they do not own minorities. A series of unforgettable attacks on minorities along with the discriminatory attitude pushed many of the minorities to re-settle abroad.

 

During the past seven decades nobody ever realized to bring minorities on into the mainstream. Rather they keep on receiving persecution physically and mentally. For example, making educational calendars has become quite a difficult job in Pakistan. One has to give careful consideration, especially on religious occasions like Eids, Ashura, in addition to weather conditions and public holidays. Usually no such activities like examinations (semester, term or annual) are scheduled in these days.

 

Unfortunately, no such courtesy is extended to minorities. Throughout their life Pakistan minorities have to battle with school authorities for ignoring their festivals. At times minorities’ children had to miss term papers or monthly tests in order to attend their occasions. A sizable number of minority students appear in these tests and many of them represent from the remote areas. Most students especially girls, are accompanied by their family members while travelling to main cities. People who have travelled on Eid can understand how painful it is to travel on such festive days. Christmas, Easter, Diwali, and other events of minorities are ignored since independence. The authorities concerned should make a better plan to help those who suffer on these counts.

 

Mandal’s support for the Muslim League, his sacrifices for Pakistan, and his love for Muslims cannot be discredited. His ill-treatment at the hands of a bureaucrat is a dark chapter in our history. In Pakistan, there still exist many Jogendras who exhausted their energies in vain to prove that they are as patriotic as everyone else.

 

In the present situation, I should say, it is not only unsatisfactory but absolutely hopeless and that the future seems completely dark and dismal. The confidence of the minorities in Pakistan has not been restored in the least.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

 

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

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

 

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

 

______________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Any text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor. All links are by the Editor as a point of reference for an English speaking – Western culture readers.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

 

Pakistani Christians with false hopes of refugee status


pakistan-christians-persecuted

Shamim Mahmood continues to report on the plight of persecuted Pakistani Christians.

 

JRH 9/12/16

Please Support NCCR

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Pakistani Christians with false hopes of refugee status

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent Mon 9/12/2016 12:20 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: Religious extremism has gone to its peak since Afghan refugees entered in Pakistan. Due to the terrorism Pakistan lost thousands of its precious lives and properties. Religious banned outfits have attacked on schools, worship places, parks and even on law enforcement agencies and their places. In the past years those militant organizations have targeted the religious minorities especially Christians. In the latest episode four suicide bombers, wearing suicide vests and carrying latest firearms attacked the Christian Colony, Warsak Dam, Peshawar but due to the prompt action by the security forces they were saved.

 

The Army Chief General Raheel Sharif played an aggressive role in combating terrorism in Pakistan and due his proactive approach the ratio has been decreased. According to the recent statement by DG ISPR Lt. Gen Asim Bajwa, “[The] Pakistan Army has eliminated the militants’ groups in the country.” But the very next day, the spokesperson for TTP JA [See Also HERE], Ehsanullah Ehsan said, “We have carried out the attack.” He said the attack was a response to the Army’s spokesperson (Lt. Gen Asim Bajwa’s) press Conference who said yesterday that militant groups had been eliminated.

 

Religious minorities in Pakistan are already persecuted under stringent blasphemy law. Since military dictator General Zia ul Haq added new clauses in the law, minorities in the country feel insecure. And usually this law is misused and resultantly many people including Muslims either being killed or suffering in the prisons. In this critical condition, militants’ groups turned to attack Christians. Twin blasts in the Peshawar Church killed more than 80 worshipers and left many injured. Two churches were attacked in Youhanabad, Lahore that killed dozens of worshipers and many were injured. Later on the occasion of Easter festivity, suicide bomb blast in Iqbal Park, Lahore killed many innocent people.

 

In this itchy living environment, four years back, persecuted Pakistani Christians started reaching Thailand seeking resettlement in the West. Thailand was one of the few countries that allowed Pakistani easy entry as tourists. And nearly 10,000 Pakistanis have been gathered in Bangkok, and now most of them are living an underground existence. Alas, the UNHCR offered false hope. The typical refugee waits years just for an interview, the first step to receiving official refugee status. So far, no one among them has moved on to Europe, America or anywhere else.

 

In the meantime, Pakistan Today reported that the Hong Kong delegation had contacted the Interior Ministry to take up the issue of increasing number of illegal Pakistani immigrants sneaking entry into Hong Kong with false hopes of “refugee status”. According to the sources, the Thai government did the same about the Pakistani immigrants. Religious minorities in Pakistan face persecution. Christians are disproportionately targeted by blasphemy laws, often as retaliation for commercial and personal disputes. Sectarian murderers are publicly supported and applauded. Public response after the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri is a common example. The Government has failed to protect victims and a “deep-rooted climate of impunity.”

 

Discriminatory attitude, sectarian threats and attacks drove many Christians from their homes. Asylum seekers are struck in Thailand and other neighboring countries and endure a tenuous existence. On arrival the UNHCR typically gives them an appointment set a year or two in the future; the date often is delayed as the appointment approaches. Once the visa expires, the asylum hopefuls are unable to work legally and subject to arrest whenever they leave home. The Thai authorities stake out neighborhoods and raid apartments where refugees are believed to live. Hundreds of unlucky asylum seekers have been ended up in detention and some even died during the mean time. [See BBC and Chuffed.org]

 

Some welfare organizations do their best to help refugees, providing food, sundries and legal aid. But those can only assist a limited number of families. Many of the families’ flow ebbed after word returned to Pakistan that there is no easy exit from Thailand, those already arrived are essentially trapped. They have sold their possessions. But they see no path forward either.

 

The Europeans and the U.S. have accommodated millions of Afghan, Syrians and Egyptian Muslims in their countries; resultantly facing terrorist attacks in their countries.  Why can’t they bear the people with the same faith and values? [Bold Text is Blog Editor’s] The only feasible solution is that the UNHCR High Commissioner is supposed to make a designation with 90 days and should take up this issue on priority bases. And the U.S. and other European Countries should admit people who are not only in desperate need, but “who share the same faith and values” as the people persecuted for their faith are among the best candidates to receive asylum.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood

Editor Fire Magazine

 

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

shamim-masih-4

 

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

+92-300-642-4560

 

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

_________________

Edited by John R. Houk

All links are by the Editor and all text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Mahmood

 

Double Standard


Stop KILLING cHRISTIANS IN Pakistan

Shamim Mahmood – Christian human rights activist – writes about the disparity between Pakistan minorities and the majority Sunni Muslim population. Shamim focuses on the Christian minority which lately has been the victims of horrific acts of Islamic Supremacism.

 

JRH 8/30/16

Please Support NCCR

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Double Standard

 

By Shamim Mahmood

Sent 8/30/2016 1:31 AM

 

Islamabad: Former Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Chaudhry Abdul Majeed said that Pakistan policy regarding Kashmir seems to have failed miserably. Talking in a seminar held under International Lobbying Group Youth for Kashmir, Kashmir’s leadership unanimous call that the parliament should form a national policy of Kashmir, which the government cannot alter and the chairmanship of Kashmir Committee should be withdrawn from Maulana Fazalur Rehman. “We don’t accept a Kashmir Committee, which does not include a Kashmiri,” they added. On the other hand, Foreign Office said that Pakistan has always raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the UN. There is no doubt that Pakistan has always raised India’s human rights violation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) at all levels and said that it is not India’s internal issue but international issue.

 

Let me give you a clear picture of human rights violation in Pakistan. Christians and minorities in Islamic Republic of Pakistan are often targeted, hated, mistreated, prosecuted all the way from the workplace, in schools, playgrounds, in communities and all the way in the system right to the top. My main concern is about Christians, so they are ignored not only in Pakistan but forgotten worldwide as they are often refused by Western countries and rejected their asylum. For example, tens of thousands Syrian, Afghan, Pakistani and Egyptian Muslims got refugee status in Canada, Australia and European countries but how often do you see Christian refugees from the same countries. Thousands are leading a miserable life and looking for their future in Thailand, but UNHCR and so called international human rights defenders, are silent about their status. Where is Germany the current Chancellor Angela Markel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and even Pope Francis, who asked Catholics to accommodate one Muslim refugee family each?

 

If Muslims are unsafe in their own countries, how can one consider that Christians are safe in a Sunni Muslim dominated country, Pakistan? Blasphemy laws are the “official hanging sword” and often misused to kill minorities in Pakistan. According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) an estimated number has gone to 1,470; those have been charged under the stringent blasphemy laws of Pakistan, until 2015 and 1,116 are recorded in Punjab province alone. NCJP sources added that around 12 are facing death sentences including Asia Bibi, Sawan Masih, Zafar, Anjam Naz and Javed Naz (ALL Christians). More than fifty people accused of blasphemy were murdered during their judicial trials. Governor Punjab, Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were killed for talking about this law and its misuse.

 

In the recent past, churches and Christians’ colonies have been attacked and set ablaze. A Christian couple was burnt alive accused of blasphemy. Christian girls are routinely kidnapped, raped and forcefully converted to Islam. The government failed to protect lives and properties of Minorities. Government usually lauds about protection and rights given to minorities but practically have done nothing. When government representatives raise a voice about the human rights violation in Kashmir, [it might be] better to think about the human rights violations in Pakistan first.

 

Minorities are not given a right to choose their representative through secret belt [perhaps ballot] vote. It is a violation of basic human right. There is no minister to protect for minorities rights at the federal level. A five percent quota is announced by the previous government but not implemented, most recently; during the recent Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police Rapid Response Force recruitment; IG Islamabad totally ignored this quota. Religious Minister and Minister for Interfaith Harmony at the Federal level are both Muslim.  To fulfill the GSP plus status requirement, the government appointed a retired judge from the same faith as the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission. Later in political interest, the government appointed a Christian person as a Federal Minister for Human Rights. Taking the oath as a chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB), Mr. Saddique-ul-Farooq, — PML-N leader — assured all Hindu and Sikh Communities of the world of protection of their properties through impeccable measures. If the government is really interested to serve these minorities group, why don’t they appoint any minority person who can look after their inheritance and can even serve better its communities? [Of interest in relation to minority property in Pakistan: HERE and HERE]

 

A human rights activist, Kashif Nawab, Director (SATH [See Also Facebook]) rejected the measures taken by the present government and said that the government should take minorities in confidence while appointing heads of the institutions like chairman ETPB. He demanded the government to replace Minister for Interfaith Harmony, Peer Amin ul Hasnat and appoint any minority person as well as chairman ETPB. The government should ensure to implement 5 percent quota at all levels. [Perhaps] the government wants minorities to fight for their rights like Kashmiris, he added.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Mahmood Editor

Fire Magazine/Online TV

 

email. shamimpakistan@gmail.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/Eushaw

 

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

+92-300-642-4560

_______________________

Edited by John R. Houk

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

 

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

 

© Shamim Mahmood

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

Please Support NCCR

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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

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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.