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June 28 2014 7 28 /06 /June /2014 19:26

http://media.philly.com/images/20130927-Pakistan-Christian.jpg

Picture of Christian girl killed at Peshawar Church in Pakistan - suicide bombing

 

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]

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

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

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 Bottom of Form

 

 

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