Christians in Pakistan


Pakistan Persecutes Religious Minorities

 

Intro to Christians in Pakistan.

Editor: John R. Houk

May 4, 2014

 

On Thursday I posted a Shamim Masih news article in which he exposes the political discrimination that runs rampant in Pakistan against Christians and other non-Muslim minorities. In this post Shamim continues exposing how the Muslim majority nation is politically fixed in a state of Islamic Supremacism in which Christian poverty is nearly institutionalized. Shamim gives a brief history lesson of how Christians became institutionally impoverished by ending the secular republic dreamed of initially by Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah ironically demanded India be split between the Hindu majority and the largest minority which were Islamic. I doubt that Jinnah would have admitted but the Muslim conquests of the Indian subcontinent were brutal toward Hindus and Buddhists were ethnically cleansed** to make room for what would eventually be the Muslim Mughal Empire. Muslim Mughal rulers continued the oppression of Hindus but periodic Hindu revolts managed to build periodic kingdoms resistant to Islamic Supremacism. I suspect Jinnah saw the writing on the proverbial historical wall if India had a Muslim minority that undoubtedly would have a Hindu majority not too friendly to the Islamic Supremacist trademark embedded within Sharia Law. Hence Jinnah’s vision for a secular version of a democratic republic with a Muslim majority to be called Pakistan while India would remain with a Hindu majority was a case of political survival.

 

[**Buddhists ethnically cleansed:

 

The conquest of Central Asia and Afghanistan by the Muslims was a major blow to Buddhism. Historian, Pramanath Bose writes that “Buddhism…got so engulfed in the superstitions of Turanians that it transformed itself into some of the grossest forms of Scythian idolatry.” Buddhism as an ethical system had little impact on Central Asia, which explains how Islam was able to overwhelm this huge region in so short a time.

 

It was this decline of Buddhism which brought up the resurgence of Saivism and Vaishnavism. And Shankara, by incorporating many of the Buddhist doctrines into Hinduism, made Buddhism redundant. But the final blow to Buddhism came with the advent of Islam in India.

 

Muslim invaders made it a point to extirpate Buddhism from India. They destroyed every vihara, where the monks lived and taught. Thus, the 500 viharas built by Ashoka in Kashmir and the 600 feet high stupa built by Kanishka were the first to be destroyed. Historian Vincent Smith says that the monks, who survived the holocaust, fled to south and to the Himalayas (Nepal, Tibet). In short, few dared to stay in India. The invaders also destroyed Taxila and Nalanda, the two great Buddhist universities. The cream of Buddhist scholarship lived here. Thus, every symbol of Buddhism was destroyed as part of a deliberate policy. (Was Buddhism driven out of India? By M.S.N. Menon; dhammaweb.net; 1/22/06)

 

Hindu Brahmanism began the displacement of Buddhism in India and Islam cleansed the Buddhist remnants.]

 

My conclusion of Jinnah’s visionary thinking is mine and probably not the thinking Pakistan or Indian historians. Another irony is Jinnah’s secular Pakistan republic devolved into a series of dictatorships that transformed the nation into an Islamic State. In contrast the Hindu majority of Islam has evolved into the largest democratic republic on planet earth in which diverse minorities not only have enfranchised rights on paper but has had political leadership from the minority population. I believe Islam is still the largest minority in India but there are also large minorities of Sikhs and Jains (and more) which are somewhat eclectic combinations of Islam and Hinduism. Thanks to Islam, Buddhism has nearly been exterminated from its birth region of India.

 

Without further ado here is Shamim’s report of political discrimination against Pakistan’s Christians and other non-Muslim minorities.

 

 

JRH 5/4/14

Please Support NCCR

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

Christians in Pakistan

Each one – Teach one

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 5/3/2014 8:50 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan came into being in 1947 under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah had repeatedly promised equality of citizenship, but this promise was not kept by his successors. Pakistan became an Islamic Republic in 1956, making Islam the source of legislation and cornerstone of the national identity, while guaranteeing freedom of religion and equal citizenship to all citizens. With the governments of Z. A. Bhutto and Zia-ul-Haq more inflexibly Islamic laws transformed Pakistan.

 

During the regime of these two rulers, Christians of the country were divergent. This is evidenced in cities established by the British, such as the port city of Karachi, where the majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pakistan’s largest church, stands, and the churches in the city of Rawalpindi, where the British established a major military cantonment. European and wealthy native Christians established colleges, churches, hospitals and schools in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Roman Catholics and other protestant denominations have organized themselves throughout the country. Politically, groups like the Pakistan Christian Congress – PCC have arisen. Christians had second largest educational and health chain in the country. The civil dictator Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had been engaged in re-action and nationalized Christian’s health and educational institutions.

 

Constitutional Discrimination:

 

Z. A. Bhutto introduced discriminatory laws against religious minorities. He declared Ahamdis as non-Muslims, thus it opens new doors to constitutional discrimination. Non – Muslims are barred from becoming the President or Prime Minister. Furthermore, they are barred from being judges in the Federal Shariat Court, which has the power to strike down any law deemed un-Islamic. Chief justice of the Supreme Court, chief of Army Staff and chief minister and governorship is not mentioned in the constitution but it is an unseen restriction.  Several hundred Christians along with Muslims themselves have been persecuted under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and death sentences have been handed out to at least a dozen. Forced conversion is on; while conversion to other faiths than Islam is not prohibited by law. The Blasphemy Law is widely used for vested interested. Misuse of blasphemy laws become practice. Churches and Christian’s colonies are attacked and set ablaze. Thus Pakistan becomes a state of perpetual fear for minorities.

 

Division among Christians created:

 

With the start of new era, (ex) President Parvez Musharaf introduced a new electoral system for minorities. This opens new doors to corruption; affluent members from the minorities become parliamentarians. Minorities are divided into two groups, some are in favor of the present electoral system, and others are struggling to restore the democratic electoral system for minorities. Muslim political parties have introduced “Minorities Wings” and thus they have created division. The selected segment follows the same agenda of their mother party. This clearly means they are not representing their community but their lords.

 

Flimsy Dwellers:

 

Most of the Christians in the country are living below poverty line. Mostly live in slums, known as “katchi abadis” and often euphemistically called “colonies” are tucked into the corners of the big cities’ neat grid pattern. They house tens of thousands of people unable to afford the city’s high rents, in flimsy dwellings put up with concrete, bricks and sacking. Some are located on drainage cuts designed to channel away the heavy rains of the monsoon, and many have no access to electricity, gas or main water supplies. These poor people can[not] afford tuition fees, so their children remain uneducated. Ironically Christian institutions instead of paying attention towards deserving students, they expel them from their institutions. According to the data given by social activists, in Rawalpindi district only more than 30 students were expelled this year due to non-payment of the tuition fee. Still Christian organizations claim that they are serving poor Christians. Sources said that some Korean organization was interested to establish an institution to educate Christian students, but due to the self-centeredness of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance–APMA’s leadership, they rolled back their plan. This attitude shows their commitment towards Christian betterment. It is observed during the last decade that every third self-proclaimed chairman with some financial background has started a “face book” political party. Honestly speaking, if they contribute in community development [it is] instead self-projection.

 

Recommendations:

 

Since Christians are being persecuted under the severe condition, all prominent Christian leadership should stand shoulder to shoulder to each other. Each and every in charge of these parties should take responsibility to teach at least one Christian student for better future generations. Educational institutions with religious back ground should take in deserving student. There are some individuals and organizations [that] are doing do well. But if the available resources are divided and destroyed into non-productive business, the result would be same.   

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets indicate additions by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

 

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

Top of Form

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

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

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

High-handed Leadership


Muslims Persecute Christians banner

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

 

JRH 3/9/14

Please Support NCCR

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

High-handed Leadership

 

By Shamim Masih

3/9/2014 3:27 AM

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

   

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

 

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

 

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

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Bracketed content is added by the Editor.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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

 

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

Top of Form

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

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

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