Toronto: November 22, 2014. (ICV) The Pakistani Canadian Christians with a very heart would like to share with you the current situation of the Christians in Pakistan. Christians living in Pakistan face victimization, discrimination and persecution on a daily basis and it is a situation that they cannot escape for it continues to grow worse day by day.
Recently, On November 4, 2014, a Christian couple named Shahbaz Masih and Shama Bibi were burnt alive in a brick furnace in a place called Kot Radha Kishan near Lahore, Pakistan. They were allegedly accused of desecrating pages of the Quran and a mob of 1,200 people gathered to teach them a lesson by beating them so badly that their bones broke and then proceeded to put them in a furnace and burnt them alive.The Christian community in Pakistan continues to live in fear and is intimidated by the growing Islamic fundamentalism and intolerance. These extremists are sending out their message loud and clear; non-Muslims are not welcomed in Pakistan and with that, all non-Muslims lose their freedom and safety within their own homeland. Christians played a vital role in the creation, development and prosperity of Pakistan, yet they are continuously being treated as second class citizens.The discrimination, victimization and persecution of the Christians in Pakistan have become a norm within society. All Saints Church in Peshawar was attacked by suicide bombers, 175 homes were burnt to ashes in Joseph Colony, Lahore. There was a huge massacre in the city of Gojra where 7 people were burnt alive within one family. A 14 year old girl names Rimsha Masih was falsely accused of burning pages of the Quran in Islamabad and Asia Bibi, a mother of five, continues to serve her death sentence under the pretext of blasphemy. When people try and speak out against these injustices, they too are being killed horrifically. The murder of the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer and the Federal Minister of Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti are examples of such occurrences, however, even despite all these recent cases, no fair trial has been performed and the country remains silent towards these incidents.
Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws are a naked sword hanging over the head of every Christian and all other religious minorities living in Pakistan. Our children and women are easy targets and are being victimized due to this cruel law which threatens the existence of Christians in Pakistan. It has been translated into a psychological warfare for our coming generations.
We submit to the government of Pakistan the following demands:
1. The misuse of the Blasphemy Laws that allow extremists to commit these acts of violence with freedom must be stopped immediately.
2. All discriminatory laws within Pakistan’s Penal Code that allow for the discrimination against non-Muslims and prohibit them from becoming equal citizens must be reformed.
3. The judicial system must take concrete measures to bring to justice those involved in the brutal burning alive incident of Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi along with all those involved in the above mentioned incidents.
4. The government of Pakistan must ensure the safety and protection of Christian and other religious minorities’ lands and properties.
Christians of Pakistan love their county and Pakistan is their identity, however, we are not being given the means to call Pakistan our home. We have no freedom or equal rights. We are being forced to believe that we do not belong to Pakistan but we will stay loyal to our motherland until the very end of our lives.
The Christian community has always taken pride for their service in the fields of education, health, defense and social welfares amongst other walks of life. We demand the right to be treated as equal citizens of Pakistan. If the government of Pakistan feels that they are unable or are incapable to guarantee the proper protection to the minorities living in Pakistan, an open declaration is requested by the government