Manzoor Alam, Chairman PACC aims on unity of Christians for the basic democratic rights in Pakistan. Interview by PCP team.
|Manzoor Alam is prominent Christian leader living in USA. His effort, struggle and campaign to unite the Pakistani Community in United States have brought him on the frontline of leadership in Pakistan too. His commitment and dedication to community
|Mr. Manzoor Alam born on January 1st, 19945, in a small village named Beij in district Faisalabad then known as Lyallpur, in a Christian family of Presbyterian pastor Rev. Alla Rakha. His father Rev AllaRakha was most respected pastor in Presbyterian ministry due to his services in the far fling rural area of district Faisalabad that was at that time in difficult situation of transportation in this part of Punjab Province. His congregation respected him on such level that he was counted as their religious and social leader in all walks of life.
Manzoor Alam was grown up in this family of true Christian leadership values, which seems to his love for church and his people in his practical leadership life up to this day. Mr. Manzoor Alam completed his high school from the famous Christian institution of CTI high school Sialkot, He received his graduation from Gordon College, Rawalpindi. He was an active part of student's social and political activities in the Gordon College. In practical life he served for 10 years in different organizations in Pakistan and moved to USA in 1984.
In USA he never forgot his poor and depressed Christian community in Pakistan. His feelings for them forced him to compel his friends to establish the Christian organization to raise voice for his community in Pakistan from the great land of America with freedom of expression and belief.
Mr. Manzoor Alam was among the founder members of Pakistani Christian Association in North America PCA based in New York. He was an integral part of PCA to hold rallies and organize demonstrations on Christian persecution in Pakistan. He was the first leader to bring Christian issues on the record of United Nations by his memorandums and presentations through the protests in New York before the offices of UNO. The unity among Christians in US shall ever remain on his credit for establishment of PCA as the first organization of Pakistani Christians in USA. Mr. Manzoor Alam was the first Christian member of Pakistani American Congress PAC, which is the body of Pakistanis here in United States with majority of Muslim membership. Mr. Manzoor Alam was among the founder members and first elected president for three years of Pakistan Christian League based in Philadelphia. In his leadership Christian league was also very active to resolve the poor Christians issues in Pakistan.
At present he is running his own business with blessings of Lord and his late father Rev, AllaRakha very successfully. Keeping in view his services and concern for his community, he was elected the chairman of Pakistani American Christian Coalition PACC. Apart from his religious, social and political services on different Christian organization in leading capacity in USA, Mr. Manzoor Alam is helping the deserving students in Pakistan by funding scholarships from his business which makes him more popular among Christian youth in Pakistan. .
Q. What are the aims and objects of Pakistani American Christian Coalition?
A. PACC is organizations of west coast Pakistani Christians in USA, the coalition of different existing local organizations, to achieve goal of unity and to work for the welfare of immigrant Christians as well as the rights of Christians in Pakistan. We aim at rehabilitation of the Christians in this society, with provisions of better understanding of new life to prosperity. The revival of human rights for the Christians in Pakistan is our primary objective, as they need our moral and financial support in all walks of life. We are inviting all other local organization to join coalition on one point agenda of unity and hope that coalition shall be the only representative body of Christians in USA.
Q. You have been famous for Christian Muslim dialogues in 1998 in New York. Do you think you achieved your Goals?
A. I think Christian Muslim dialogues are only solution to the Christian persecution in Pakistan. With limited resources, I inaugurated these interfaith dialogues among the Pakistani Christians and Muslim leaders living in United States from platform of PCA. We had many sessions with the Muslim leaders to make them realize that Christians are the son of soil and deserve equal basic democratic rights in Pakistan. We also put forth the issue of blasphemy laws and arrests of Christians under the existing Islamic laws. All the participants were of the opinion that such incidents are lack of education in Pakistan. If the Pakistani society is privileged of modern education with religious education, then such incidents can come to an end. As the Muslim leaders living in USA have not effective impact on the legislation in Pakistan but still it was our success that Muslim wrote articles on misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. The Christian Muslim dialogues brought two communities much closer in US, which let positive impact in Pakistan.
Q. Are you satisfied with the social and political events of Pakistani American Christians?
A. I have always stressed upon unity of Christian in Pakistan as well as living in States because unity is the solution of most of our problems. I confess that Christians are not united and split up in uncountable organizations to keep only few persons ego high for their vested interests. They wish to be community leaders with out due ability and experience. I would say that Christian's leadership have lost the ability to accept the services and struggle of their precedes. Its truth that "If there is no acceptance, there is no respect". I would request and appeal to the Christian leaders to access themselves and respect those who have stepped up in past for the Christian rights in different fields of life. We must pay homage to their services and listen to their experiences of success and failure in our sessions. If we shall visualize ourselves positively then there shall be due respect for those who rendered their services for community and that shall be the basic ground for unity but if we shall not respect our superiors in political and social fields it shall be negate to unity. The solo flights have damaged the unity of Christians and dreams to become leader of community in a night shall cause more split which is grave danger to the cause of community.
Q.what are your views on Christian representation in parliament?
A. Christians are without representations in Sindh, Balouchistan and NWFP provinces after these recent elections of 2002. Its for the first time in the history of Pakistan that there is no Christian in these assemblies which is not good sign for the democratic institutions in Pakistan as well as the major draw back for Christians with elections under joint elections. I shall not blame the joint elections but our leadership in demand of joint elections was of total failure. Our leaders failed to discuss the negative aspects and procedural implementation for joint elections with the government of Pakistan. I think that our leadership is fully responsible for this representation set back in provincial governments therefore cannot be counted an able leadership. It's in best interest of Christians that leadership with demand of joint elections to accept the responsibility of this failure and step down from the Christian platforms immediately. I have always demanded the increase in Christian seats what so ever is the system of election for Christians, if we have representation proportional to our population, the issues can be turned positive in Pakistan for Christians.
Q. You have been sponsoring Christian students in Pakistan. What are your views on Christian's education standards in Pakistan?
A. I believe that merit in education can bring Christian youth to compete in practical life in Pakistan with Muslim youth. It was great opportunity for us to enjoy the education privileges from the missionary schools and mostly we find Christian graduates among us before nationalization of these institutions in 1972. The rate of education among Christians dropped very low after the nationalization of missionary schools in Pakistan. Our students have not equal opportunities of education in professional colleges and higher education establishments in Pakistan. Our youth is facing discrimination in jobs in government and semi government departments, which have created economic crisis among our community in Pakistan. Its fact that educated youth can only lead our nation in this millennium, so, we are suppose to help the deserving students to get better technical and vocational education in Pakistan. If all the Christians living abroad can sponsor one poor Christian deserving student in Pakistan for higher studies, we can provide thousands of graduates in professional fields to the Christian community in Pakistan. I will also appeal from my message to all the Christians living in western countries to fund one Christian student in Pakistan.
Q. What is your message for Christians in Pakistan?
A. I will appeal all the Christians to unite and launch collective campaign for their rights in Pakistan. I also appeal to the Christians living in western countries to unite on one platform to help the poor Christian community in Pakistan. There are certain limitations to raise voice in Pakistan for Christians but we are living in free society to express in freedom and bring Christian issues on international forums for better understanding of international community. Our moral support and voice can help to safeguard the rights of depressed Christian community in Pakistan. When we are united, we can press upon the government of Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy laws and all other discriminatory laws in Pakistan. My message to Christian youth is to work for unity and to decorate them with better education to face the challenges of life in Pakistan, in this situation when government have planned to end our voice in the provincial assemblies of Pakistan and decreased our representation on national level.