Pakistan Christian Post Is Your Voice Since 2001

Who pushed Pakistani Christians under siege of MMA?

MMA, The Six Muslim Religious Parties Alliance, emerged as third biggest political power in National Assembly of Pakistan with landslide victory in NWFP and Balouchistan Provinces under joint electorate in national general elections of 2002. The MM
ANP, Awami National Party, The only Muslim progressive political party in Pakistan which regained power in NWFP and Balouchistan provinces since 1947, the independence of Pakistan, lost elections by MMA in 2002 elections, openly faced and resisted MMA Shariat Bill in house and in public forums when Federal government, other Muslim Political Parties and Christian groups kept silent. The ANP announced to file constitutional petition in Supreme Courts of Pakistan against MMA shariat Bill and initiated judicial fight. Its for record and reference that ANP was the only Muslims political party in Pakistan which refused to nationalize Christian schools, colleges and hospital in NWFP and Balouchistan Provinces against orders of Zulifiquar Ali Bhutto, s federal government in 1971.



At present ANP have no Christian member in their parliamentary group in NWFP house but still they voiced against the Shariat Bill when MMA have 2 Christian selected members in National Assembly of Pakistan and 2 Christian members selected on Christian reserved seats in NWFP. It looks strange that Christian Parliamentarians with MMA feared to voice on Shariat Bill and ANP decided to launch campaign against implementation of Islamic laws in province. Its another tragedy with Christians in Pakistan that Christian parliamentarians selected by other Muslim political parties in Sindh and Punjab provinces also kept silent and Christian leaders outside parliament sealed their mouths during process period of Shariat Bill.



If we impartially look in current situation of Christians under siege of MMA in NWFP and Balouchistan provinces, the general Christians are in grave danger of life and property without religious freedom after Shariat Bill. This silence of Christian leaders compels us to go back to the beginning of formation of Pakistan. The Christians voted in favor of Pakistan in Round Table Conference and Boundary Commission on assurance of Muslim leaders that Christian's religious, cultural and social values shall be duly respected and protected. The All India Muslim League, the Muslim political party in lead of Pakistan movement declared to be liberal political party and vowed to make Pakistan a social welfare state.



The Christian community never participated in Muslim religious parties actions in Pakistan because their membership was not open for non-Muslims. Its on record that since 1947, the independence of Pakistan, Christian elected members in parliament never favored and participated in any religious party move in house or out side floor. Its time to think, why Christians are in such a position of siege after the elections 2002, under joint electorates?



We can say that 2002, national general elections, under joint electorate, pushed Christians of Pakistan under siege of MMA in two provinces of Pakistan. When we discuss the demand of joint elections, we face facts that this issue divided the Christian community in Pakistan in national general elections of 1971, when Pakistan Masihi League was diveded in two groups. The majority of Christian leaders favored separate electorate but Christian tools in Pakistan Masihi League Supreme Council in Peshawar meeting decided in favor of Joint Electorate to run in elections as Christian political party. The result was very clear; none of Christian candidate on 33 constituencies won the elections. The ruling PPP selected Christians on reserved seats and stepped forward to nationalize Christian schools, colleges and hospitals in Sindh and Punjab provinces. The Pakistan Peoples Party PPP, selected Christian parliamentarians under joint elections were also silent on nationalization of missionary institutions in 1971, likewise Christians selected by MMA after national general elections of 2002 under joint electorate in Pakistan are silent too.



The 1985 national general elections were held under separate Electorate after 1971 and 1977 general elections in Pakistan under Joint Electorate. The Christian nation in Pakistan participated in elections of 1985 with spirit and enthusiasm. The church leadership also funded and favored the Christian candidates when Christians were deployed with rights to elect their representatives by their votes and Christians enjoyed separate electorate for17 years in Pakistan.



After general elections of 1985 and 1988 under separate electorates, church leadership realized that elected representatives have taken active leadership of Christian community which have put them out of privileged class as, to be invited by the Governors, President of Pakistan, Chief Ministers and Prime Minister of Pakistan. To save their VIP status in state affairs, which they were enjoying since British Colonial, rule in Sub Continent of India. It was not acceptable to church leaders because elected Christian representatives have replaced them on all levels in social and political fields.



The Catholic Bishop of Faisalabad who funded and favored Christian candidates from his dioceses and bagged victory was much depressed and annoyed when divisional and district administrations preferred to consult with Christian elected leaders under separate elections instead of Bishop who proclaimed to be religious as well as political leaders of Christians for years. The Christian elected representatives have gained the confidence of Christian community by utilizing the development budget allocated to them by government, the Christian youth was in comfort on having job placements up to 17 grades from the job quota of their elected representatives, Christian women were at ease to sit with respect at homes of their elected leaders to present their problems and general Christians have been seen in large gathering on daily basis in offices of elected leaders instead of waiting out side of parish houses and Bishop House. It was more feared when different independent churches entered in Pakistan and were holding big crusades and conventions with the help of elected representatives which was unbearable by the Catholic Bishops Conference and Bishops of Church of Pakistan.

In national general elections of 1988, some Catholic Priest insisted to contest elections and jumped in the election campaign to regain power to control the general Christians in Pakistan. The idea of clergy in elections have already bitter experience for catholic church when Fr. Derrick Mosquito from Multan dioceses was selected for National Assembly in 1973, but he was involved in scams and fled away from Pakistan. In these circumstances Catholic Bishops Conference and Bishops of Church of Pakistan met in Lahore and decided to launch a campaign against Separate Electorate and to demand Joint Elections in Pakistan.



A dummy party of inexperienced Christians was formed in the name of Christian Liberation Front in Faisalabad and church funds were lavishly splendid to introduced CLF in Pakistan. The Catholic Machinery pressed upon their members to join Christian Liberation Front but it was not successful when Christian elected representatives were in field with millions of Rupees development budget and job opportunities for youth. The Bishops Conference referred CLF to all the church contacts in press and media around the globe and put the demand of Joint Electorate in the mouth of CLF. This was the major success of church when CLF demanded Joint Electorate in the church arranged meetings with visiting international media representatives in Pakistan. On other hand Catholic Bishops Conference also misled the international community and favored the Joint elections which was powerful second to the church puppet party CLF.



What joint Electorate has given us? The clear picture is before Christian Community of Pakistan now that MMA won elections in 2 provinces of Pakistan and captured Christian's reserved seats under Joint Elections, which was not possible under Separate Electorate. Who pushed Christians under siege of MMA in 2 provinces? Its our so called puppet leadership which demanded Joint Electorate to regain power and control on Christians of Pakistan and pushed Christians in siege to be a voiceless community in Pakistan.



Nazir S Bhatti