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Prison Mission Society reports widespread persecution of Christian inmates in Punjab

Lahore: December 10, 2017. (PCP) Rev. Maurice Shahbaz, Founder and Director of Prisons Mission Society have expressed concerns on situation of Christian inmates in jails of Punjab in a letter to President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Islamabad, Prime Minister, Interior Minister, Minister for Law, Chief Justice, Supreme Court and Chief Minister of Punjab in a letter.

Rev. Shahbaz writes that It is regretfully brought to the notice of above named addresses that Inspector General of Prisons Punjab is fundamental and pretending of security reasons for teasing to minoritys prisoners and teachers of Christian prisoners in Punjab Prisons of Pakistan. He always tries to misguide the authorities about minoritys prisoners and teachers of prisoners and he has almost stopped their religious freedom and education inside prisons

He explain that with Reference to the Memo No.Legal/JB/2017/64864,of The Inspector General of Prisons,Punjab,Lahore,Pakistan, dated 27th November, 2017, which was addressed to the Rev.Maurice Shahbaz ,Director of Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan that The Inspector General of Prisons Punjab,Lahore and A.I.G(Judicial)Sheikh Akaram,(Inspectorate of Prisons, Punjab,Lahore blamed on 500 Church Leaders and Pastors (The Team Members of PMS) and Rev. Maurice Shahbaz,Dirctor of Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan has criminal record.The Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan has 500 team members from different 200 Churches in Pakistan and they are almost high qualified Teachers/Pastor /Doctors/Nurses and respectable citizens.

Here with is summary of Rev. Shahbaz letter: The Christian community inside the prisons of The Punjab in Pakistan are being persecuted and denied the same religious freedom as other religions.The missionaries/Pastors /Teachers have increasingly stopped access to the prisoners ,while Muslim religious teachers (including the Muslim religious teaches of jails staff) can preach and teach with no limits and Christian prisoners inside Punjab Prisons are black mailed and tortured to become Muslims by the jails staff and they have not chance to improve the education. Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan is officially registered in August 2002 under the societies Registration Act, XXI of 1860 in the Government of Pakistan and working (with the collaboration of different 250 Churches ) for the welfare of prisoners in the field of education, health and social sectors and to promote the education skills of prisoners as well as character and make prisoners useful citizen and a part of development of this country. We try to (outreach), heal (emotional & spiritual restoration) and help (transitional assistance) them, and create a better world for prisoners. (freedom from discrimination on the basis of characteristics such as race sex, color, etc).

The Muslim religious teachers of Trust Jamait Taleem-ul-Quaran (including the Muslim religious teaches of jails staff) and such other organizations can preach and teach without any problem and they have accorded permission to work in the prisons of Punjab for religious education of prisoners.

The Inspector General of Prisons Punjab, Lahore is a fundamental and narrow minded against minorities prisoners and always tries to misguide the authorities about minority's prisoner matters. He sent a bogus report to the to The authorities that the Rev. Maurice Shahbaz, Dirctor of Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan and the team members of PMS has criminal record. The Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan has 500 team members from different 200 Churches in Pakistan and they are almost high qualified Teachers/Pastor /Doctors/Nurses and respectable citizens.

I, Rev. Maurice Shahbaz, Dirctor of Prisons Mission Society of Pakistan have a great experience of my life during my imprisonment in Pakistan and had seen bitter difficulties and problems of prisoners and their families. I got life sentence in July 1986.I had a crucial experience during the time when I was in prison for 12 years due to injustice. There I observed closely how people suffered in the prisons without hope. Sometimes due to their illness and many other reasons they cannot see any light in their dark future. Even very skilled inmates do not have the chance to improve their lives anyway. But I set the challenge by completing my education from Matriculation, F.A, B.A, Diploma in further studies in Urdu, Diploma in further studies in Punjabi & M.A, I was in prison, living among them and became the example, that education could make us acceptable in the society again. I have done Master of Divinity from Gujranwala Theological Seminary Gujranwala Pakistan. Even criminals can be educated. I was put in prison when, I was 13, due to none of my fault in the case, but God made it possible, that I got released after 12 years. At the times of my release, I decided to serve the community which I left behind in prisons.

In 1994 I was the student of B.Ed at District Jail, Lahore and the religious teacher of jail staff Arshad Nazir black mailed me that I cannot improve education because I am Christian and if I will become Muslim then I can compete my education. I moved the Writ petition for to continue for my education No.599 /1994, dated 01-02-1994 in the Lahore High Court Lahore by Maurice Shahbaz, under articles 37 and 38 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, it is the policy of the state to eradicate illiteracy from the country. (Copy is attached). Therefore, to stop my education and grudge of jail staff with me, I was sent to Central jail, Lahore and Central jail, Sahiwal, Pakistan on the bogus administrative grounds. They caught me by fitter and kept me in tortured cell at Central jail, Sahiwal for since 1994 t0 1998.The Present A.I.G (Judicial)Sheikh Akaram, (Inspectorate of Prisons, Punjab, Lahore) was the in charge of torture cell at Central jail, Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan. He tortured me many times with his fellow Naswari and broken my rib. The A.I.G, Sheikh Akaram has a criminal history during his service period.

In the Punjab Prisons under trail prisoners are forced to labor, otherwise they will give (Fateek) monthly bribe to the jail staff. The Christian under trail prisoners are forced to labor of sweeping. Otherwise they will become Muslim. (In 1986,my case was under trail in Sialkot and I was at the District jail, Sialkot Punjab as a under trail prisoner and I was force to the labor of sweeping or become Muslim. On my refusal, I was caught by fitter and kept in torture cell for one year.

Inspector General of Prisons Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, has stopped the religious syllabus and religious remission for Minorities prisoners and they have not any opportunity to improve their education under rule 215 of the Pakistan Prison Rulers (Jail Manual).

Important things for action recommended: Permission should be granted to the Christian Teacher and Pastors to visit jails for Christian prisoners that they can teach religious syllabus for religious education remission to the Minorities prisoners that they can improve and improve their education under rule 215 of the Pakistan Prison Rulers (Jail Manual). And Liberal permission to prisoners to appear in examinations.

Permission should be granted to make seminars and workshops for prisoners for the awareness on the issue of Education and Health. (According to the Writ petition for to continue for my education No.599 /1994, dated 01-02-1994 in the Lahore High Court Lahore by Maurice Shahbaz, Under articles 37 and 38 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, it is the policy of the state to eradicate illiteracy from the country).

To stop the forced labor and (Fateek) monthly bribe of under trail prisoners in Punjab Prisons,Pakistan.

I have many occasions written and visited to the Government official and concern authorities to salve the matter, but still no action has been taken.

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