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

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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.

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© Shamim (Masih) Mehmood

Edited by John R. Houk

Explanatory links added by Editor

 

Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

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