Insensitivity of Pakistani Christian politicians and civil society leaders


August 12, 2010 - NYC - Pakistan Christians Protesting Oppression (Photo Dr. Nazir Bhatti)

 

Shamim writes about Minorities Day in Pakistan and how its original intent has been lost by an increasingly Islamist government and ignored by Pakistan’s Christian elites.

 

JRH 8/11/13

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Insensitivity of Pakistani Christian politicians and civil society leaders

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 8/10/2013 8:31 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The PPP government had declared August 11 as minorities’ day in 2009 by the effort of then minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated in the country’s capital in 2011.

 

The day signifies Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 in which he had said, “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – that has nothing to do with business of the State.”

 

Pakistan was established as a secular Islamic republic at the inception of its nationhood in 1947. As the years have distanced itself from 1947 Pakistan has become more and more entrenched in the purist Islamic thought that revolves around the Theo-political jurisprudence of Sharia Law.

 

I had a privilege to attend the celebration of the minorities’ day ceremony in the President House last year. The present government (PML-N) is in no mood of celebrating minorities’ day. On the other hand, the Christian country’s head; US 2nd time elected President Barack Obama has arranged an iftar party in the White House this year and had proudly announced to support Muslims in the world.

 

[Video: President Obama Hosts an Iftar Dinner (7/25/13)]

 

However, information Minister Parvez Rasheed (giving lame less excuse) said that the day is falling during Eid holidays. Though Pakistan is going through a testing time but minorities are on our priority list, he added.

 

The Information Ministers’ statement sounds good only on paper, but we (Pakistani Christians) are very well aware of the priorities of the ruling party. In my post submissions about the plight of Christians in Pakistan that has provided lenses to view the priorities of the ruling party. Gojra, Shantinagar, Sangla Hill and Joseph Colony incidents mount up during PML-N regime in the Punjab province. After coming in power in the federal [government], PML-N holds the only representation of the minorities “Ministry of National Harmony” in their own hands.

 

In the wake of the critical situation, a criminal silence and a careless attitude of Christian leadership [See Also “Between Heaven and Hell”] in the country is alarming. Pakistani Christians express their deep concern for the continuation of peace and harmony not only in Pakistan but in the whole world. There have been many wake-up calls, but Pakistani Christian politicians/religious leaders have gone into a long snooze. The cases of Bishop John Joseph, Shantinagar, Gojra, Joseph Colony, Asia Bibi and Rimsha are an example of Christian leaders’ callousness.

  

Minority Day/Equality Day/Black Day

 

During the recent week, I received invitations from different active Christians’ political/religious groups celebrating this day as; some said Minority Day, Equality Day and others said this day [is] as [a] black day. These leaders have declared the day according to their own mindset and pretend themselves as community leaders. On this day, these leaders will spend huge money for their vested interest. It is pathetic that when these so-called leaders are requested to support a needy person, they will not go for it and will present a list of excuses. Let me give you the recent example; during the past week, two Christian girls and a boy working in a beauty salon accused of theft were sent to jail on a judicial remand in the capital. As these workers were the only sources of income in their families. I requested a local political leader to support them in terms of providing surety bonds for their release but he refused simply saying that I don’t know anyone in Islamabad. Then I asked human rights champion (who claims a higher-ranking in human rights service); to provide legal aid and was surprised at his answer that it does not fall into our organization’s policy. (I am not mentioning their names [yet in this] story, will disclose next). Now I heard that the both leaders are arranging events on this day [Minorities’ Day].

 

The role of clergy in [this] development has left a question mark. Evangelical churches and bishops are involved in land grabbing. These black sheep must be marked. (I will write a detailed story on it as well)

 

I always emphasize to put heads together, and have been writing for the unity among Pakistani Christian.

 

When all other parties, groups and organizations can put their heads together and be unanimous on the solutions, why can’t Pakistani Christians sit together for their rights?

 

Instead of pronouncing moral judgments on everything and anything, why can’t Pakistani Christians stand altogether for Christians’ welfare as a whole?

 

Christians stand nowhere:

 

The West neglect Christians as a whole: America, Europe, and Britain too often ignores the persecution of the Christians as a whole and focus on individual Christians, who do not present a true picture there [in the West]. Most of the beneficiaries are Muslims from UN organization. Embassies have their own social sector’s head to support Pakistani Christian, if they want [or choose]. But it is observed they normally ignore Christians even granting a visa while granting visas to Muslims/Hindus and Ahmedies [Ahmadis or Ahmadiyya – ABOUT2010 Massacre].

 

Only a small number of individuals enjoy this status. The rests are suffering and suffering in the name of Christianity.

   

Some local Christian politicians, civil rights champions and religious leaders have been making money on the pretext of safeguarding minority rights but these financial resources are being used in getting positions in other political parties and for their vested interest instead [of] spending those funds for achieving Christian prosperity/unity. Some of them, as Christian representatives, have been a part of the constitutional assembly which approved the blasphemy law and they kept quiet at that time. Now, we have a few Christians’ political parties registered to contest general elections but have no contact with the Christian community at grass root level and have not shown any seriousness in guarding Christians’ rights and are rather busy in making deals with major Muslim parties.

 

I always write to seek greater civil rights for the Christian minority in Pakistan. Christianity is a very small minority in Pakistan but suffering a lot. I have been working actively for a democratic, tolerant and progressive social order and for socio-economic and political rights of religious minorities especially for Christians in Pakistan.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

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Edited by John R. Houk. Brackets and links indicate direct editor contribution.

 

© Shamim Masih

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

Top of Form

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR GBP TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         00010855
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR EURO TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         10847
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

 

Between Heaven and Hell


PAKISTAN-UNREST-RELIGION

Shamim Masih writes about the gap between the poor Christian majority of Pakistan and the wealthier Christian minority of Pakistan. Shamim’s text is Mark 12: 31 of which the context can be found in Mark 12: 28-31. Shamim’s ire might seem to American Christians that are to the right of the political spectrum as a Social Justice and Spread the Wealth concepts of Left Wing American Christians (A more detailed exploration of Progressive Christianity HERE). Nonetheless, the persecution that is too often felt by Pakistan’s poorer Christians while the wealthier Christians promote themselves or market a business that is more beneficial to Pakistan’s majority Muslim population is a bit of a back stabbing to Pakistan’s poorer Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

 

JRH 8/10/13

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Between Heaven and Hell

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 8/6/2013 12:34 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: The Bible shows that there are two great commandments. The first commandment is to love God with all our being. The second commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. So how do we show that we love our neighbors?

 

Jesus said, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 

Let me give you a story of a Christian from West Virginia, he narrates:

 

“I’ve always loved to work on cars. Whenever I was out driving and saw someone alongside the road with car problems, I stopped to help. It was rewarding to fix their car, but more rewarding to help them.

 

“One time in the dead of winter, I found this stranded couple trying to stay warm in their freezing car. No one had stopped to help. Another time, a family of six was trying to make it to their relatives for some food to eat. They had put a couple of dollars of gas in their old car, hoping it would be enough. It wasn’t.

 

“I was always thankful to God that I could help. But just like them, one day my car broke down. I had a flat tire and had no spare. I was in the middle of nowhere. But then, something happened I will never forget!

 

“I got out and leaned against my car, wondering what I was going to do. Seemingly out of nowhere, two men in an old wrecker suddenly pulled along beside me.

 

“‘You need a tire, don’t you?’ asked one of them. Before I could even answer, they got out of the wrecker, grabbed a tire from the back, and changed my tire as I stood there speechless! When they finished, I asked, ‘How much do I owe you?’ The man simply replied, ‘Nothing. We all need a hand every now and then.’ They promptly turned around and drove away.

 

“I know that God sent these ‘Good Samaritans’ to help me. God says that when we look out for others, He will look out for us. He proved it to me that day.”

 

Street life:

 

More than 25 million Pakistani Christians are living below the poverty line. The Life of Christians living in the slum areas is not better than street life.

 

On the other hand, Christian leadership [in Pakistan] includes religious, social and political [privileges] enjoying luxurious lives. Do they justify that they are following Christ’s teaching? Correct me if I am wrong, charities are based on the teaching of Christ, “love thy neighbor”. So it is mandatory for religious leadership and it applies to social leadership as well. But ground reality is totally opposite. It is reported that some Churches in Pakistan have properties worth billions of dollars in the shape of Christian Missionary Schools, Colleges and Hospitals which are being run as business concerns and benefiting Muslims only. And [the Christian] establishment of Pakistan uses its clergy to speak against issues of common Christians on international forums but I assure them that they do not represent a common Christian. Pakistani Bishops have luxury homes in the UK, France, the US, and Europe, whereas the communities for whom these donations are received are living in the slum areas.

 

Even non-profit organizations –NGOs funded for charitable programs- spend millions of rupees for their personal promotions and for their own luxuries rather than doing something for poor’s. I will soon uncover the stories behind the closed doors that [demonstrate] how these black sheep play with the sentiments of marginalized community.  Where does a common Christian stand, “between heaven and hell”?

 

It is also reported that the same NGO workers have been fighting to hake [perhaps bake or hack] the case. It is pathetic that the Church that is the essence of Christianity is not seen anywhere.  Reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel. Jesus said that the essence of Christianity could be summed up in two inseparable commandments: Love God, and love thy neighbor. First, Christian Community Development is concerned with reconciling people to God and bringing them into a church fellowship where they can be a disciple in their faith.

 

But can a gospel that reconciles people to God without reconciling people to people be the true gospel of Jesus Christ? Our love for Christ should break down every racial, ethnic or economic barrier. As Christians come together to solve the problems of their community, the great challenge will be to partner and witness together across these barriers. Christian Community Development [I am uncertain if Shamim is referring to the concept of rich-poor unity or to an organization. I found a Pakistani NGO that could also be the reference of Shamim – Christian Development Organization of Pakistan (CDOP)] recognizes that the task of loving the poor is shared by the entire body of Christ, black, white, brown, and yellow, rich and poor, urban and suburban.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_________________________

Edited by John R. Houk. Take note that everything in brackets are editor notations.

 

© Shamim Masih

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

Top of Form

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR GBP TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         00010855
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR EURO TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         10847
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

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