Status of Christians in Pakistan
Pakistan Christian Congress files petition with UNO for Refugee Status for Pakistani Christians. Nazir Bhatti
|Mr. Ban Ki Moon,
United Nation Office,
Appeal to award Refugee Status to Pakistani Christian on constitutional genocide and persecution by Muslim in Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
I, the undersigned , Nazir S Bhatti, Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC, on behalf of 20 million Christian in Islamic Republic of Pakistan wish to draw your kind attention on enforced migration and displacement of thousands of Christians from Swat valley, Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera and FATA after threats to convert to Islam or die by Islamist elements. These families are staying with their relatives in Punjab and Sindh provinces facing immense miseries and hardships after denial by government of Pakistan to provide any assistance or security. The hundreds of Christians families of victims of blasphemy are living in hiding for safety of life weather accused are acquitted or in jails. Thousands of Christian families keep on shifting residence in different parts of Pakistan on threats by influential Muslims or in fear of implication in fabricated cases by police. The mass migration of poor oppressed Christian is never brought on record by government of Pakistan nor any human right organization have urged for their settlement where they may live peaceful life.
It will be very important to note in 21st century that Christian are treated as untouchable by Muslim majority on basis of religion and cannot dine at any roadside vendor, restaurant and hotel which is worst type of hate on globe towards Christian in Pakistan. If any Christian on journey or away from home is hungry and attempts to eat in any Muslim owned dinner, he is beaten and tortured by Muslims and forced to pay for plates and glass in which he eats or any thing he have touched. The Pakistan Christian Congress PCC presented many memorandums to government from 1985-1998 to legislate against curse of un-touchable to ensure social justice in society but such demands were neglected. The curse of un-touchable have prevented Christians to take part in profitable catering industry because Pakistani Muslim terms Christians as infidel under Islamic decree which prohibit to eat any food prepared by them.
The churches are being attacked, pastors are being threatened, social activists are charged under blasphemy, teenage girls are gang-raped by Muslims and Christian women are enforcedly converted to marry by Muslims in Pakistan. There are innocent Christians accused of blasphemy behind bars and hundreds facing trials under fabricated false cases; The Churches in Bahawalpur, Islamabad, Chianwali, Sangla Hill, Toba Tek, Sukkur, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and in many villages have been attacked by militant Muslim extremists groups killing hundreds of Christian worshipers but non of killer is arrested and brought to justice from 1998-2009. The government also failed to protect Christian institution of Murree School, Taxila Hospital, Bible Society and Justice and Peace Organization at Karachi, from attacks of extremist Muslim groups who massacred Christian social activists.
The Muslim militants Martyred Bishop John Joseph, a first and only Punjabi bishop of Catholic Church of Pakistan, dioceses of Faisalabad, but establishment forced Christian clergy tools to declare his martyrdom to be a suicide. The Pakistani Christian Congress PCC demanded to constitute an independent Tribunal to investigate killing of Bishop John Joseph but conspiracy was hatched to close his murder case. Many other pastors and evangelists have been gunned down in broad day light but killers are never arrested and brought to justice in Pakistan.
The Christian youth has been denied opportunities of professional and higher education in Pakistan which has created socio-economic disaster among poor families. The government have closed doors of employment for Christian youth in armed and civil services to force them to become laborers and accept low grade jobs of sanitary workers.
There is no Christian General in Armed Forces, no Christian Secretary in Civil services, no Christian Chairman in any of government Corporation, no Christian Inspector General of Police IG, DIG, SSP, SP, DSP and SHO in four provinces, no Christian High Commissioner, Ambassador and Counsel General in any Foreign Mission of Pakistan, no Christian Justice in any High Courts or Supreme Court of Pakistan and no Christian Director or Deputy Director in any Directorate of Pakistani government which is total denial of due share in power and resources of state to millions of Christians.
The census is never conducted fair and transparent and Christian data is manipulated to decrease representation of Christian in democratic institutions. It will be interesting to note that Christians had four seats in legislative assembly of Pakistan when house comprised of 48 legislators in 1947. There were six seats reserved for Christians in national assembly of Pakistan in constitution of 1973 of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which were reduced to four in national general elections of 1985, when house was of 232 members. In national general elections of 2002, the total house consisted of 365 but Christian seats remained four. How amazing it makes mockery of Census Division of Pakistan that population of Muslims keep on increasing but population of Christians decreasing?
The Islamic laws of blasphemy, Hadood Ordinance, Article 203, law of Evidence and Compensation have been implemented on Christians which have created feelings of security and safety of life by the hands of militant or by government agencies which is clear count of constitutional genocide since 1985.
The Pakistan Peoples Party PPP government have been also failed to award equal basic democratic rights to millions of Christians like previous military regimes. The PPP led government have imposed one Christian tool as Federal Minister for Minorities and declared him head of “Minority Commission”. It is on record that government of Pakistan entered into an internationally recognized pact with Indian government in 1950, known as Liaquat-Nehru Pact to further safeguard the minority’s rights in the neighboring states. The facts to enter in this pact were that problem of religious minorities aggravated a lot during late 1949 and early 1950. At this critical moment of the history of South Asia, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan issued statement and emphasized on the solution of the problem of minorities in the two countries. He also proposed a meeting with his Indian counter part to determine how to end the persecution. The two Prime Ministers met in Delhi on April 2, 1950 and discussed the matter in detail for six long days. On April 8, the two leaders signed an agreement, which was later given the name; “Liaquat-Nehru Pact”. This pact provided a bill of rights for the minorities of India and Pakistan. According to the agreement, the government of India and Pakistan solemnly agreed that each shall ensure, to the minorities throughout its territories, complete equality of citizenship, irrespective of religion; a full sense of security in respect of life, culture, property and personal honor. It also guaranteed the fundamental human rights to the minorities, such as freedom of movement, speech, occupation and worship. The pact also provided for the minorities to Participate in the public life of the country, to hold political or other office and to serve in their countries civil and armed forces. Liaquat-Nehru Pact provided for the mechanism to deal with the oppressive elements with iron hand. Both the governments decided to set up “Minority Commission” headed by acting Justice of higher court in their country with the aim to observe and report on the implementation of the pact.
The government of India constituted “The Minority Commission” headed by Justice of Supreme Court of India, according to the referred pact and legislated according to presentations of the Muslim leaders to their personal laws and election systems but the government of Pakistan failed to constitute such effective “Minority Commission” headed by acting Supreme Court justice for recommendations or the presentations of the Christian leaders in Pakistan. The Indian religious minorities are enjoying due share in power and Indian Muslim have their independent Law Board to protect their personnel law while in Pakistan, the Muslim judges are issuing decrees under Islamic laws on Christian divorce and marriages. The Present PPP government following the foot steps of previous regimes have also nominated one Federal Minister for Minorities to be head of “Minority Commission” instead of any Justice of Supreme Court violating Liaquat-Nehro Pact.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan being a member of United Nation and one of signatory member state of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights announced in UN Charter have always neglected the respect of fundamental right of the creed or language, according to Articles 9-29 of Islamic republic of Pakistan constitution of 1973. In the elections of 1971, for first time after independence, the Joint Election system was endorsed in the legal framework. During legislation of Joint Electorate system in the 1973 constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, no Christian presence was in the house while Muslim members of parliament created selection instead of election. We wish to submit that Christians never demanded Joint Election system nor were any recommendations of Minority Commission according to Liaquat Nehru Pact, as such commission never existed in Pakistan since 1950. The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared in his Fourteen Point doctrine, the Separate Election system for minorities in Pakistan, keeping in view his meetings and discussion with the minority leaders during the Pakistan movement. The minorities enjoyed the separate election system from 1947 to 1956 by electing their own representatives for democratic institutions in Pakistan to raise their voice.
In Joint Election system, Christian vote in their respective constituencies to Muslim candidates while Muslim members of parliament select Christians tools of Muslim feudal lords and business tycoons on reserved seats which can not be termed democratic. On other hand the Dual Voting system for the Kashmiri Muslims is in operation where they vote within territory of Pakistan to elect their legislators for the legislative assembly of Azad Kashmir and also vote for national assembly of Pakistan in their respective constituencies. The Christians have demanded Dual Voting rights which have been denied and Joint Electorate has been imposed on them.
In my letter to UNO offices on August, 2002, I appealed to press upon government of Pakistan not to impose Joint Election system on Christians but to constitute “Minority Commission” headed by Supreme Court Justice to provide an opportunity of presentations to Christian registered political parties, civil society leaders and clergy on election system of their choice. I also invited your kind attention on miseries and hardships of Christians youth, women and seniors in Pakistan who have been treated as second class citizen and deprived of their basic democratic rights.
Again, I wish to bring to your kind notice that present regime of PPP is making false promises with Christians and not sincere to solve their problems to ensure justice. The PPP government announced to reserve seats for Christians in Senate of Pakistan in elections of February 2009, but failed to fulfill promise and again there is no Christian representation in Senate of Pakistan. The Prime Minster declared 5% quota of jobs for Christians in government employment but never issued any official notification in this regard. The incidents of arrests under blasphemy, gang-rape of teen age Christian girls, forcibly conversion of Christian women and their kidnaps, desecration of Churches and victimization by police are at peak now which have forced Christians to not trust government any more when government have no respect for international treaties like Liaquat-Nehro Pact and Universal Human Rights Declaration of UNO being a signatory.
PCC appeal United Nations to appoint special envoy to visit Pakistan to verify persecution, victimization and genocide of Christians by hands of Muslims, Muslim militants and establishment by direct meeting with migrant Christians and victims of oppression, rape and torture instead of meeting with clergy and their umbrella civil society organizations or commissions which are continuously misleading international forums on directives of government. We also appeal your honor to award refugee status to families of victim of rape, blasphemy laws, wrongfully confined by administration, displaced Christians and Christians in general for settlement where they may enjoy peaceful life at liberty.
Nazir S Bhatti, Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress
Editor, Pakistan Christian Post
February 25, 2009.
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