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Bashir Masih, a Pakistani Christian businessman in France is our "Hope"

(Mr. Anthony Naveed will be writing special column for Pakistan Christian Post PCP with heading of "HOPE" about business personalities from Pakistani Christians in Western countries. Its first contribution of Mr. Anthony Naveed column for PCP)

HOPE When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. Chris Bradford

In Pakistan, it is un-doubted that youth of Pakistani Christians are deeply disappointed due to the social and political status of Christians in Pakistan. While looking their surrounding it is darkness everywhere; So Pakistan Christian Post has decided to introduce the successful business personalities of Pakistani Christians world wide for the reason that When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

By the name of HOPE; It is aimed to share the ups-down of their struggle and achievements as role model. We do believe that it will surely give a fresh breath to our hapless youth to work hard and learn from their experiences.

So, as first exclusive interview, glade to introduce Mr. Bashir Masih. He is based in France since 1982. In 1949, not in a very famous village of Tehseel Samandri, district Faisalabad, a farmers family blessed by a boy named Bashir Masih. He has passed his basic education from the local schools and then done technical and professional educations from Chaklala. He has started his professional career with a normal Pakistani. He served various companies in Pakistan, Masqat, Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

Mr. Bahir Masih, is visionary person, he was not satisfied with his present and deeply concern about the situation of Christians of Pakistan. He felt the he can do a lot in the life but he given chances.So in 1982, he moved to France with his life partner Mrs. Shabeena Gill. In new world and had so many challenges which was faced with this couple. With encouragement and support of his life partner, they keep going diligently to their vision to become a successful business personality with strong finical status of their organization.

He has full confidence on his abilities therefore decided do his own business rather to do job and serve for others. With very nominal amount he has developed his organization and started business in the filed of metal scrape.

After some time while travelling on the road of experience now he is successful business man in recycling industry. He is running his organization with highly skilled in International Business Management and trained to work in the global recycling industry of ferrous / non-ferrous, electric / electronic, and all type of plastic material.Their organization is supplying scrap material from France to major Asian countries, especially India, China, Pakistan and UAE.

Furthermore the do arrange the Pre-shipment Inspection and documentation of recycling materials exporting from France to ensure the goods meet the requirement of Exporting country Environmental Protection Standards.

By the Grace of God, they have reached their initial target and they are Thankful to Lord Jesus Christ that now their turn over in Millions Euros. Further with proud would like to share here that their organization is the top exporting firm from Marseille port since 2011 in the aforementioned category.

Mr. Bashir Masih, is very much worried about Pakistani Christian Youth and keeping in view the circumstances would like to share that business can be started with small amount it needs your full motivation and commitment with your goals.

He is agreed that it is quite difficult for our youth to get comfort for proving your self in Pakistan but we do not loose the hope and must get formal education and also focus on the technical and professional as well. He mentioned that only education is our key to successes.

He has offered to exchange his experties for any Christian in the field of recycling and scrape business.He is ready to provide guide line of students interested in recycling industry.

Mr. Bashir Masih has appreciated an idea of Pakistan Christian Post to introduce the business personalities. He added that it will really HOPE for our people and strongly urge to build a coordination among overseas Pakistani Christian business community and self employed personalities.

PRIVATE PAIN. By Mike Abel

Mike Abel is the author of this work and retains all rights in this work

When you have personal victory in any situation, your spirit lifts and you feel good about yourself and about nearly everyone around you. When you have private pain, you need the time and the space to cope and work through the inner anguish. You want time and space to overcome the weariness, the pressure, and the thing that afflicts your inner tranquillity. The last thing you need is to have as much privacy as a goldfish in a glass bowl. Conveniently, people who cause the pain or should be defending or supporting you often keep their distance. This frequently turns out to be a blessing because you might prefer to be on your own with your secret tears, heavy heart and lonely nights.

Many people have lost everything, but they hold on to hope and never let go of God. These people invariably go on to rise from the ashes and reach heights that surpass their previous best. It is easy to become downcast and depressed when you are going through a valley. It is easy to be unbearable to those around you - and not even know it. When you bear private pain, it might feel like you have failed the people you care about or failed your own aims and dreams. No matter what the cause of your private pain, God is still on his throne. This world has not ended neither has yours! Amid the pain and maybe the agony of a setback, you have to get on with your life.

You may be one of millions, who puts on a brave front and suffers quietly on the inside,

Sometimes for years. Private pain is a real thing but you must not allow it to overtake or swallow you. When you are down in the dumps, it takes more than a decision or a wish to

get out. You must make up your mind to move from the place of private pain to a state of balance, new hope, and peace. It takes will and power. You must have the will and God will provide his power - for you to get up and get on with your life. Ask God to rescue you from a broken heart, discouragement, rejection, betrayal, or defeat. Trust God to heal the dents and wounds which private pain inflicts on your confidence and self worth.

Remember, God is with you in the valley. He may not answer your prayer in a way you want, but He will answer. God promises to return or replace what you have lost. A new highway of better prospects may replace a bridge that shattered under your feet. His strength will enable you to bear the pain. Joy does eventually come. You will rise again, bearing some scars maybe, but certainly wiser and stronger and ready for a better day.



THINK AGAIN

Mike Abel is the author of this work and retains all rights in this work

Sadly, we miss many blessings because we do not have the patience to keep trying, or we too hastily turn our thoughts to something or someone else. You may feel that there is too slim a prospect for your success so why think again. You may rashly conclude that the matter is not important to your life so why think again. You then walk away, or loose heart or disconnect. For a variety of reasons, we often do not think again, either about previous decisions we made, or about the final choice in a present situation; and we end up with second best, regret, or we loose a winning battle. This sort of ending, is the very opposite to Gods plans for you.

God himself reconsiders the penalty that your history or behaviours rightly deserve. He does this because He does not want you to suffer. It is Gods desire that you benefit from the good things you have longed for and which God has reserved for you. Many of us do not pause to reconsider the situation, to see if we should change our minds or intentions. The continual plea to you from your future is that you avoid actions that may result in regret. Your destiny relies on you to make up if you can, for past failures. Your destiny calls to you to live up to the promise of a great life.

It may be that you are still undecided or have had no clear direction, even after praying about a situation. Then pray again, differently this time round. Prayer is an act of faith and

therefore gives you access to a power that is higher than human reason. God can open your mind to different facets of a (past or) present situation, which you did not see when you first prayed and formed a view.

It may be that after you reconsidered your decision, you felt satisfied to proceed without changing your posture. This is fine - if you arrived at the decision after praying about the matter. Confining your decision to your thoughts alone robs you of the wisdom that is readily available from God. Pray then think; pray again and think again. The practice may take a moment or a month but it can make the difference between success and failure.

Think again and change your ways if you are unhappy with your self or the world in general. Think again and change your mind if you feel you have nothing or little to offer the world. Think again and change your heart if you are about to abandon the dream that God has placed within you.



MAKING SENSE OF DISAGREEMENTS

Mike Abel is the author of this work and retains all rights in this work

JesusJesus unveiledunveiled his new doctrinedoctrine and the Jews murmured. Many of his disciplesdisciples walked no more with him they left him. For Jesus, the declarationdeclaration of his purposepurpose was something more important and more valuablevaluable than the departure of many disciples. Paul the apostleapostle disagreed strongly with Barnabas and refused to let Mark accompany them on their missionary journeyjourney. Mark had previously deserted them and had not shared in their work.work For Paul there was something more important and more valuable than to risk another desertion by Mark. The prophet Amos asks a question that is relevant in these disagreementsdisagreements: Can two peoplepeople walk together without agreeing on the directiondirection?

The Apostle Peter recounts how spiritually ignorantignorant and unstable people could not understandunderstand or accept the insights in Pauls letters; so they twisted what he said. Paul knew that he could not changechange his messagemessage no matter what the persecution or the distortion of his teachingsteachings by his opponents. There was too much at stake for the Kingdom to worry about the attacks.attacks

Disagreement is where peoplepeople have differencesdifferences of opinionsopinions or actionsactions. Disagreements arise even between the union of a husband and wife, and between childrenchildren. Generally, disagreementsdisagreements are not evilevil, but they become evil when they festerfester. The worst kinds of

disagreements are those kept secretly in the heart, heart like Judas against JesusJesus; like Delilah against Samson and like Haman against the Jews. The quiet festering creates a climateclimate

for evil to enter and fill the heart with betrayalbetrayal and treachery. treacheryThe mouth then releases into the wind feathers of resentmentresentment and malicemalice. Jesus our Lord foretold that this would happenhappen in the churchchurch and in families.families SatanSatan always destroys his agents after they do his dirty workwork. Judas killed himself. Haman was hung etc. Desolation and death come suddenlysuddenly upon them. It is sad and weird that in order to betray someone you must first belong to their circlecircle, and must have shared some happy and profitable times together

So, disagreementsdisagreements are part of life. They are best resolved by open discussion, or an open acceptance by the parties that they disagreedisagree. Either the one party submits to the authority of the other party or they authorityadopt differentdifferent directions relative to the issue. There is always room for reconciliation. Mark and Paul had overcome the differencedifference that caused their earlier separation.

separation If you have been a victimvictim in a disagreement, do your best to avoid bitterness in your heartheart. Bitterness torments, defiles and contaminates. Let the experienceexperience of the disagreement teach you about others and about yourself. What matters is that you stay the better person in the eyeseyes of God. God always defendsdefends the just!



BETWEEN NOW AND THEN

Mike Abel is the author of this work and retains all rights in this work

Some people remain inactiveinactive, in one place and anxious,anxious waiting for something to happen. Others are ready and doprepared things that contributecontribute to the event they expect and expected eventall the while, they watch for signswatching for signs. God waitedGod waited thousands of earth years to give his son Jesus to this world.planet earth All the while God was activeactive in the affairs of humankindmankind, and revealed signs to predictpredict and to countdowncount-down the entrance of Jesus.

Whether it takes a moment, month, or years from the origin of your waiting to its fulfilmentfulfilment,fulfilment, some very definite things clearly happen between now and then. The origin of your waiting could be the hard work you have put in and now you are waiting for a reward. The origin of your waiting may be a doctors diagnosisdiagnosis that sets you praying for a miraclereversed by a miracle; or a promisepromise waiting for fulfilment. You will experience a floodflood of thoughts and emotions while you wait for a way out, a way in, or a new way. The time between now and then is a crucial period crucial timefor you to develop your relationshiprelationship with Godrelationship with God and use the power of a spiritual focusfocus to influence the outcome or the event that you anticipateanticipate. God alone has the ultimate power to give you your promised land flowing with milk and honey.

Most of us cannot take the waiting between now and then. Either we have not learnt to manage the stress of waitingstress of waiting, or, we have not learnt to see ahead to the result, end resultand draw

joy and comfortjoy and comfort from it. In many cases, both these reasons apply. The answeranswer is to keep in detailed conversation with Godconversation with God between now and then. Four main things happen when you are in regular contact with God via prayer, bible readingprayer etc... Firstly, your faith in God and his word increases stress, fear, and frettingfretting will decrease. Secondly, the expected outcome will become clearer to you.warts and all. Thirdly, you will then know what actions you must take and what actions you must avoiddump. Fourthly, you will be more preparedprepared to accept Gods perfect timing for your fulfilmentfulfilment and joy. These things are true whether you want a child and cannot fall pregnantpregnant, whether you are waiting for a job, or whether you are waiting to buy a house, or waiting for the safe return of someone you love.spouse

The period between now and then is a time of faithtime of faith, because you hope and desire for something good and you expect to obtain it. This is not mere positive thinkingpositive thinking. This kind of faith is about relying wholeheartedly on the power of the living God to deliver the desires of your heart - and end your waiting with satisfaction.

Gora Qaristan a Karachi Christian Cemetery invites attention of Cantonment Board and City government (Part 1) . By Sunny Gill

The Gora Qabristan, a more than centaury old Christian cemetery invites attention of Karachi Cantonment Board, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, British High Commission and Karachi Dioceses Cemetery Board to adopt necessary measures to prevent vandalism and desecration of graves. The damaged boundary walls defected pumping system to drain rainy water makes a lake view of this graveyard where hundreds of foreigners and Pakistani nationals are buried.

To respect who died in Christ is to respect their tombs and graves but tombstones are not safe in this graveyard when there is only one guard who is usually threatened by adjacent Muslim residents who prefer to make a way to Shahrah-e-Faisal through graves. Here is history of this graveyard which is enough to declare it a historical place of Karachi City.

The year of the original consecration of the Karachi Christian Cemetery in Abyssinia Lines is 1845 but there is a tombstone set in the wall near the main gate of the cemetery bearing the inscription:

SACRED

To the Memory of

MARIA COTTON

The Beloved Daughter

Of Lieut. Colonel & Mrs. Cotton

Of H.M. 28 Regiment

Who departed this life

On the 13 of October 1843

Aged 18 years.

This inscription is typical of many to be seen in the old part of the cemetery which lies on either side of the main gate facing the road to the Air Port. The majority of the graves are of young soldiers, young women and children, bearing witness to the toll taken by tropical diseases in those days. Examination of the walls and old plans go to show that the cemetery must have originally occupied an area of about 10 acres but this has been extended from time to time and now measures some 21 acres.

Up to World War II there were virtually no buildings between Napier Barracks and Drigh Road Cantonment and the cemetery was in the open desert. It was surrounded by low walls and served by a water supply direct from the Curry Reservoir about a mile away to the north. There were numerous trees and the whole area was kept reasonably clean and tidy. A small income was derived from burial fees, grave maintenance fees and monument fees supplemented by grants from the Imperial Government in New Delhi. Many of the graves were endowed in perpetuity and this money was retained in Delhi on interest towards the maintenance of the endowed monuments. This was how the Christian Cemeteries all over India were maintained, the actual work and maintenance being done by the Public Works Department.

After Partition in 1947, the population of Karachi rose rapidly from some three hundred and fifty thousand to two million and the neighborhood of the cemetery was flooded with refugees. The low boundary walls were broken down, and the whole cemetery became a highway. Monuments were smashed, from railings and lead lettering stolen, many trees cut down, and where they still remained, the area became a vast jungle.

As regards maintenance, the control from Delhi ceased to exist, and due to exchange regulations between India and Pakistan, it was no longer possible to transfer funds and endowment monies, and the interest thereon. In the meanwhile, the small income from burials, etc., was quite inadequate to cope with the maintenance work and supervision necessary. In order to maintain the cemeteries therefore, the British High Commission in Karachi invited the members of the various Christian bodies to form the Karachi, Sind and Baluchistan Cemeteries Board, and in due course this organization delegated the actual maintenance of the cemeteries to junior bodies, of which the Karachi Christian Cemeteries Board is one.

Meantime conditions in all cemeteries were deteriorating, and in the case of the Karachi Christian Cemeteries Board it was decided to launch appeals to the churches, embassies, commercial firms, and the general Christian public for funds to enable major repairs to be carried out. The responses have been generous and the Board has been able to do considerable repair work including raising the height of the boundary wall which is nearly a mile long, and employing a regular supervisor living on the premises. The result is that the cemetery is kept generally free from trespassers and is cleaned regularly - a formidable task for an area of 21 acres - but unfortunately a refugee village on the west side makes it well nigh impossible to keep the adjacent plot clean.

Progress is however being made both in works and in funds. All the endowment monies pertaining to the cemeteries in West Pakistan have now been transferred to the British High Commission in Karachi, and the interest is being parceled out among the various cemeteries and has enabled the Board to carry out extensive repairs to endowed monuments.

Book Review: Islamisation of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks By Yoginder Sikand

Name of the Book: Islamisation of Pakistani Social Studies Textbooks

Author: Yvette Claire Roser

Publisher: Rupa & Co

Price Rs. 195

Pages: 109

ISBN: 81-291-0221-8

Reviewed by: Yoginder Sikand [www.twocircles.net]

Contrary to what professional historians might claim, there is really nothing as an objective, unbiased and completely accurate writing of history. After all, not everything, even of significance, of what happened in the past can possibly be included in a text, and history book writers have to pick and choose from past events that they deem fit be recorded. The very process of picking and choosing from the past is determined, among other factors, by the subjective biases of the history writer as well as his or her own social and institutional location. Then, history writing is not simply about narrating the past but also involves a certain element of evaluating it. Here, again, this is strongly determined by the personal biases and preference of the individual historian.

The element of bias is greatly exacerbated when history textbooks areas they are in almost every country todaycommissioned by the state. The state wishes to mould its citizens in a particular way, to make them what it considers as good and law-abiding citizens, who have completely internalized the underlying logic and ideology of the state. The state, in its capacity of representative of a countrys ruling class, seeks to impose through state-sponsored history texts the hegemonic ideas of this class upon its citizenry. It is thus not surprising that such texts generally parrot the state-centric view of history that seeks to bestow legitimacy on the state and the countrys ruling class and normalise their logic and world-view.

This incisive critique of state-sponsored social science textbooks in Pakistan highlights the convoluted politics of historiography and what this means for the production of a social commonsense for a states citizenry. Although Roser does not say it in so many words, the current turbulent political scenario in Pakistan, in particular the rise of radical Islamist forces in the country, cannot be seen as inseparable from the narrow political agenda that the Pakistani state, ever since its formation, has consistently sought to pursue as is reflected in the social science textbooks that it has commissioned, and through which it has sought to impose its own ideology on its people.

Rosss study focuses on the textbooks used in Pakistani school for the compulsory subject called Pakistan Studies, which was introduced in the reign of the American-backed military dictator General Zia ul-Haq in the mid-1970s. Pakistan Studies replaced the teaching of History and Geography, and was moulded in such a fashion as to instill in students an undying and unquestioning loyalty to the official Ideology of Pakistan (called the nazariya-e Pakistan, in Urdu). This ideology, questioning which is considered a punishable crime in the country, is based on the far-fetched and completely bankrupt notion of the Muslims and Hindus of the pre-Partition Indian subcontinent as constituting two homogeneous and wholly irreconcilable nations. (Incidentally, this is the same perverse logic that underlies radical Hindutva in India). It claims that Muslims and Hindus have never been able to live amicably together, that they have always been opposed to each other, that they share nothing in common, and that, hence, it was but natural that Pakistan should come into being for the sake of the Muslims of South Asia.

There are several defining and characteristic features of the Pakistani social science textbooks that Rosser examines. Firstly, as she notes, their extreme anti-Indianism. This is a reflection of the fact that the Ideology of Pakistan, indeed the very rationale for the creation and continued existence of the state of Pakistan, is premised on the notion of undying and perpetual hatred of and opposition to India. India thus comes to be presented as viscerally opposed to Pakistan and as constituting a mortal threat to its very existence. In this way, a form of Pakistani nationalism is sought to be fostered through the texts that is hyper-chauvinistic, and one that is based on a constant reinforcement of an almost crippling sense of being besieged by what is projected as an evil neighbor.

Secondly, and linked to the anti-Indianism that pervades these texts, are the repeated negative and hostile references to the Hindus and their faith. Hinduism is portrayed and projected in wholly negative terms, as if lacking any appreciable elements at all. Its followers are presented in a similarly unflattering way: as allegedly mean and cruel, and constantly scheming against Muslims and their faith. Hindus, like Muslims, thus come to be presented in strikingly stereotypical terms: the former as virulently hostile enemies, and the latter as brave soldiers in the path of God. They are portrayed as two solid, monolithic blocs, and as being without any internal differences whatsoever, of class, class, gender, region, language, political orientation and ethnicity. The only identity that they are projected as possessing is that of religion, which is presented in starkly reified terms that often have little resonance with empirical reality. In the process, the diverse, often contradictory, interpretations, expressions and the lived realities of Islam and Hinduism in South Asia are completely ignored in favour of extreme literalist, orthodox and textual understandings. Popular religious traditions, such as certain forms of Sufism and Bhakti, that bring people of diverse communal backgrounds together, are totally ignored, because they obviously stridently contradict the claims of the two-nation theory.

Thirdly, the textbooks present Pakistani history as synonymous with the history of political conquests by successive Muslim rulers, starting with the Arab commander Muhammad bin Qasim in the mid seventh century. All these invaders and rulers, so the books piously claim, were goaded by a powerful sense of religious mission to establish Islamic rule in the region. This alleged religious aspiration of theirs is presented as having finally culminated in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Contrary to what is popularly known about him, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the ideological founder of Pakistan, is presented as an orthodox Muslim, allegedly inspired by the vision of establishing an Islamic state run by Muslim clericssomething which was not the case at all. The fact that most of the Muslim rulers and conquerors that these texts lionise might actually have been inspired by less noble motivesto plunder or ruleis, of course, conveniently ignored. Religionin this case Islamthus comes to be seen and projected as the sole motor of history, with other factors, such as power and economics, having, at best, only a minor role to play. The history of South Asia before Muhammad bin Qasim is hardly mentioned at all, although it was in what is Pakistan today that the Indus Valley Civilisation flourished, that the invading Aryans composed the Vedas and that Buddhism led to a great flourishing of various arts and sciences.

In other words, every effort is made in the textbooks to present Pakistan as an extension of Muslim West Asia, instead of a part of the Indic-dominated South Asia. Not surprisingly, as Rosser observes, the texts single out particular historical figures who are known for their battles against Hindu rulers as heroes, among these the most important being Muhammad bin Qasim, Mamhud Ghaznavi and Aurangzeb. Other Muslim rulers, most notably Akbar, who sought to reconcile Hindus and Muslims and promote a generous ecumenism, are either totally ignored or else reviled as alleged enemies of Islam. Furthermore, these figures, of both heroes and villains, are isolated from their historical contexts, leading to biography turning into hagiography or demonology, as the case might be, in order to serve the agenda of the advocates of the two nation theory.

The same holds true in the texts depictions of certain key Muslim religious figures. Thus, orthodox ulema or Islamic clerics who stressed the claim of the inferiority of the Hindus and advised Muslim rulers to take harsh measures against them are hailed as heroes of Islam, while others, including many Sufis, who sought to preach love and tolerance between Muslims and others and preached an ethical monotheism transcending narrowly-inscribed boundaries of community, are conveniently left out or else branded as un-Islamic.

A fourth characteristic feature of these textbooks is their distinctly anti-democratic character. They purport to tell the story of the Muslims of South Asia from the point of view of Pakistans ruling elites. In the process, history comes to be presented as simply a long list of battles and other achievements (whether real or imaginary) of a long chain of Muslim rulers. Ordinary people have no voice, being completely invisiblised in these texts. It is as if history is made only by rulers, and that the histories of ordinary people are not worth recording or commemorating. It would seem as if the writers of these books are wholly ignorant of new developments in writing peoples or subaltern histories.

The starkly elitist bias of the texts is also reflected in the fact that they almost completely ignore perspectives of ethnic groups other than Pakistans dominant Punjabi and Muhajir communities. This is hardly surprising, since, as Rosser notes, most of these texts have been penned by authors who belong to these two communities. She writes that the absence of the perspectives and historical experiences of the numerically smaller ethnic and regional communities of Pakistan, such as the Baluchis and Sindhis, also has serious implications for policy making, for the demand of smaller provinces for regional peace in South Asia and equitable local development is not sufficiently appreciated and incorporated in national policies. This, Rosser comments, is reflected in the great tension between official history manufactured in Islamabad and the historical perspectives of regional ethnic groups (p.4).

The anti-democratic thrust of these texts is also reflected in what Rosser describes as a radically restrictive brand of Islamic exclusivism that they project and propagate. The sort of Islam that these texts seek to promote is premised on the notion and dream of Muslim political hegemony and a deep-rooted sense of the innate inferiority of people of other faiths. This isand this is important to notejust one version of Islam among many, and one which Muslims who believe in an inclusive version of their faith would vehemently oppose. However, the texts present this, what Rosser calls authoritarian, legalistic and ritualistic, brand of Islam as normative and defining, and completely reject alternate, competing, more democratic and humanistic interpretations of the faith (p.9).

Rossers findings are of critical importance, particularly in the context of present developments in Pakistan, which is witnessing the alarming growth of radical Islamist groups, impelled by a version of Islam very similar to the one these texts uphold. Obviously, explanations of the growing threat of radical Islamism in Pakistan cannot ignore the crucial role of these texts, which are compulsory reading for all Pakistani students, thus playing a central role in moulding their minds and worldviews. The texts are also a reflection of, as well as a cause for, the pathetic state of social science research and discourse in present-day Pakistan.

Rossers Indian readers need not have much cause to be self-congratulatory, however. Although historiography in India is certainly more sophisticated in many senses than in Pakistan, a significant section of Indian history writers, particularly of the Hindutva brand, are no different from those Pakistani writers whose texts Rosser examines. Indeed, they speak the same language of hatred and communal supremacy, propelling the same tired, debunked myth of Hindus and Muslims being perpetually at odds with each other. Likewise, they are both profoundly anti-democratic, having no space for the voices and aspirations of socially, culturally and economically oppressed groups, upon whose enforced silence is premised the artifice of the nation (Islamic or Hindu, as the case might be), whose sole representative ruling elites claim to be.



==============



Yoginder Sikand works with the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the National Law School, Bangalore.

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asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





26/07/2008 2:42 PM

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/viewnews.php?newsid=1192



Philadelphia: July 24, 2008. Nazir S Bhatti, Founder President of Pakistan Christian Congress urged Pakistan Armed Forces to end operation in Balochistan and act against religious extremists in tribal areas who are challenged to writ of government.



Is tribal belt an other state that government of Pakistan enters in truce with Taliban then why hesitations to right of self-determination for Baloch nation and separate province for Christians? Said Bhatti



Mr. Bhatti added, It is need of time to divide Pakistan in federal units of Balochistan, Sindh, Seraki, Pushtoon, Hazara and Christian provinces



Christian Separate Province in south western parts of Punjab is only solution to save Pakistan Bhatti said



The demand of Separate Christian Province is peaceful demand of 15 million Christians of Pakistan because hate among religious minorities is at peak now Nazir Bhatti added



The formation of Pakistan based on hate among religious communities of Muslims and Hindus which created two nation theory to divide sub-continent of India while situation of religious hate is worst than united India in Pakistan.



Christians in Pakistan are deprived of their basic democratic rights and Islamic laws are imposed on them without their will said Nazir Bhatti



Nazir Bhatti added, The Christian leaders who are with government and not opposing operation against Baloch nation are enemy of Christian nation and blocking demand of Separate Christian Province



Christians support Baloch nation of their right of self-determination and demands of Seraki, Pushtoon and Hazara nations rights and expect their moral support for Separate Christian Province said Nazir Bhatti



The separate electorate was way ahead to demand of Separate Christian Province but government agents like Shahbaz Bhatti, killed Separate Electorate and blocked dream of Christians Nazir Bhatti said



We have complete reports that how Shahbaz Bhatti, an agent of government and PPP looted Bishop John Joseph and drained huge amounts in hotels of Islamabad and to settle his family in Canada but we urge him to stop working against Christian nation in Pakistan and issuance of false statements unless to force us to publish all reports and count of millions of dollars from West countries in propagation against blasphemy laws warned Nazir Bhatti



Nazir S Bhatti urged Seraki, Pushtoon, Hazara and Baloch nations to support demand of Christians of their Separate Province on division of Punjab.











asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





26/07/2008 2:42 PM

Philadelphia: July 25, 2008. Nazir S Bhatti, Founder President of Pakistan Christian Congress clarified that demand of Separate Christian Province on division of Punjab is not any new issue but it was decision of PCC Central Executive Council



in a meeting in 1992, at Karachi, which was made public in a press conference at Hotel Jabees, sadder, Karachi and widely covered by national media.



PCC viewed that 18% Christians of Punjab province have legitimate right to demand Separate Christian Province like Seraiki and Hazara nations which is in best interests of solidarity and integrity of Pakistan.



PCC leaders decision based on turning Christian to be second class citizen in Pakistan and hate among religious communities.



PCC faced immense government pressure but denied to withdraw from demand of Separate Christian Province on which establishment harassed and detained our leaders. The false cases of treason and blasphemy were registered against our workers and leaders to crush PCC.



Today, more than forty PCC leaders and workers are in exile which provided an opportunity to Christian tools of government to claim leadership of poor Pakistani Christian Nation.



Nazir Bhatti said, Christians of Pakistan are under oppression of establishment and in socio-economic crisis with support of so-called Christian leaders



The true picture of situation of Christians in Pakistan is very serious. They are suffering from hunger due to unemployment and denial of equal share in resources of state, which are under total control of Muslims.



The Christian teenage girls are being gang raped and women are forcibly abducted and converted to Islam. The Christian youth is deprived of their right of higher and professional studies. The Christian families are facing hardships and under constant fear of government and Muslim neighbors.



We have pressure from our youth to launch movement for rights and we are in constant in touch with them and urging them to stay calm Nazir Bhatt said



Nazir Bhatti retreated that formation of Separate Christian Province is only solution to achieve social justice in Muslim dominated society of Pakistan and way to due share in national resources of state.











Jan Muhammad

Posts:37





Insaf Activist





26/07/2008 6:12 PM

I do have a great sympathy for the christian community and other minorities living in Pakistan but a demand like this would not be in favour of their community.



If christians get a separate province, its not guaranteed that they will get the rights and equal opportunities-the example is our existing situation of immbalanc between the provinces like Balochistan and Punjab and so on.



I dont believe that all the allegations mentioned here are true but it doesn't mean that they are baseless. We must take a serious look at our behavior as muslims and bring changes to our traditional attitudes towards minorities.



Islam teaches keeping of the best relations and lessons of equalities and we must prove that by practical contribution in respect of these teachings.



Christians will no more be alians if we respect our religion and our country's law that minorities will have freedom of their religion and faith and will be treated equally.



PTI should stand up for minorities as well and should bring them in the main stream of the countries politics.



Dr. Jan Muhammad









Saleem Bajwa

Posts:41





Insaf Activist





26/07/2008 8:06 PM

First, let us see the generosity of Christian Countries, such as America and European Countries, if they can grant separate states to their largest minorities, i.e. the Muslims.

Mr Bhatti, your best option is to start your leadership skills from America, if it really intrigues you to shine as a leader - else you are bound to end up hopelessly in an impending fiasco.











The insider

Posts:231







Insaf Shaheen





26/07/2008 8:52 PM

Dr Jan Mohammad



You are invited to join Tehreek e insaf Action Comitee IAC



You can have the info regarding the working of IAC from this website.



If you are interested do email me at > calm786@gmail.com





regards













The insider

Posts:231







Insaf Shaheen





26/07/2008 9:07 PM

Dr Jan Mohammad



You are invited to join Tehreek e insaf Action Comitee IAC



You can have the info regarding the working of IAC from this website.



If you are interested do email me at > calm786@gmail.com





regards













hussain mehdi

Posts:325





Insaf Shaheen





26/07/2008 10:37 PM

europian countries and united states do not come into existance on the basis of religion. just few centuries ago, europian countries were not even christian countries. they were there before accepting christianity.



while, pakistan came into existance on the basis of religion. so, if pakistani christians demand a province based on religion, then this can be accepted for debate. there is a solid logic behind it.









UsmanAzeemTiwana955

Posts:16





Insaf Member





27/07/2008 2:50 AM

Division is no more a solution of any problem for pakistan, still our heart cries when we see bangladesh that was seperated,we should talk of integrity in a way of unity not by dividing into more and more and more groups.

Real problem in pakistan is absence of TRUE ISLAMIC SPIRIT.

Our law,ECONOMY,POLICIES or any other system is not ISLAMIC,it has just a stamp of ISLAM on it.

When we say ISLAM is complete code of life then it is indeed ,it is complete code of life not only MUSLIMS but for christians,hindus,buddist etc also

It has complete and best eco-socio system which gives balanced rights to minorities and majorities also.











hussain mehdi

Posts:325





Insaf Shaheen





27/07/2008 3:00 AM

Islam has never been a dispute, and it will never be future.



this is pakistani rulers and elites, whose actions create disputes. and as it is confirmed now that the tendency of rulers and elites can never change, thats why people are fearful of their future.



pakistani corrupt elites cannot allow to run pakistan according to people's wish. that is confirmed and final.



then, what is left for pakistanis, especially for minorities???











asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





27/07/2008 4:16 AM

Posted By Saleem Bajwa on 26/07/2008 8:06 PM

First, let us see the generosity of Christian Countries, such as America and European Countries, if they can grant separate states to their largest minorities, i.e. the Muslims.







All christian countries are democratic and have given equal rights to all their citizens.

This is not the case with most muslim countries.













Saleem Bajwa

Posts:41





Insaf Activist





27/07/2008 12:47 PM

I do not dispute that the Christian countries have far superior ethical values, especially for their fellow christens. Since Britain drafted Magna Charta, which might not be a verbatim copy of Islamic Law, but certainly an inspiration from it, Britain has always followed it, but the Muslims have abandoned their own charter. Therefore let alone the minorities, the corrupt Muslim rulers are not even faithful to Islam itself. If our rulers were practising Muslim, our Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other would have enjoyed all the fruits of Islamic ethics. IBehold! Islam does not allow interfering with others faith.



As far as the assertion of asif that everyone has equal rights in Christian countries, my personal experience is different from that of asif. Let me tell you that I am a British subject by birth and living in Brittan since 1966, yet it took me more than 14 years to get promotion in my job, when I was at Heathrow, despite that I have been acting as a superintendent and even training people for this job. The reason is obvious- I am a Muslim. On the contrary, in my village in Pakistan, we have a sizeable community of Christians, who enjoy life as anybody else. They own lands and do their farming, and those who are educated they are in good jobs; one of them was famous Allah Rakha Ghulab, vice chancellor of the University of Punjab.



By the way are you aware of British blasphemy law, it certainly does not protect my faith, though I am British before even Rushie was born. Is this equall opertunity?



I suggest all the minorities should feel proud to be Pakistanis and support Imran Khan, so he gets justice for everyone. There is no need to be despondent or to feel alienated. We are proud of our minorities; they provide various colours to our lovely garden.











Jan Muhammad

Posts:37





Insaf Activist





27/07/2008 1:26 PM

Dear The Insider,



Thanks for your offer. I am proud of being a member of PTI and 'll work to my level best for spreading the message of PTI insha Allah. I 'll keep in touch and 'll do whatever I can for our party.



Cheers.



Dr. Jan Muhammad

UK









Werdnighoffmann

Posts:82





Insaf Tiger





27/07/2008 7:28 PM

in a democrcy all have a right to express themselves.







But this statement about a new province is an expression to initiate the process of destruction of Pakistan. Members , this rabid idea must be exposed for being what it is........ the open treachery of a traitor.











miguel9

Posts:357





Insaf Shaheen





27/07/2008 7:39 PM

I am demanding a seperate muslim province in UK, America, and all the EU countries ..



The govt of these christian countries think all muslims are TERRORIST, muslims have no rights cant treval with out being watch by all thier secret police.





These countries are occupying muslim countries we the muslim have no army in thier countries why is that??



A concerned muslim..













asif238

Posts:576





Insaf Shaheen





27/07/2008 8:29 PM

Because we are no more role models, we have left adding value to the lives of other human beings.

We don't have to do anything 24/7 or which is not in our reach but just add some value to others lives whatever we can do in our capacity. Then we don't have to say that once we "were" a great nation.









asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





28/07/2008 6:33 AM

Posted By Werdnighoffmann on 27/07/2008 7:28 PM

But this statement about a new province is an expression to initiate the process of destruction of Pakistan. Members , this rabid idea must be exposed for being what it is........ the open treachery of a traitor.







No it doesnt. seraikis,hazaras and christians want a province inside the federation of pakistan.

with a population of 170 million people pakistan needs to sub-divide its 4 provinces.









asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





28/07/2008 6:36 AM

Posted By miguel9 on 27/07/2008 7:39 PM

I am demanding a seperate muslim province in UK, America, and all the EU countries ..











Pakistani christians did not immigrate from UK, america or EU nations rather they converted from hinduism just like most muslims did over the centuries.

So they too are sons of the soil.

Where as the muslims in UK,US and EU are all immigrants from muslim countries.











miguel9

Posts:357





Insaf Shaheen





28/07/2008 10:20 AM

Pakistani christians were converted by thier colonialist masters missionaries coming to the poor third world countries to spread their CON-CEPT OF Christianity.IF you do not convert you will have no rice to eat as in the case of china before the revalution of chairman Mao.FACT..



Shahab ud deen ghauri Mehmood of Ghazni were not HINDU CONVERTS OK ASIFFFFFF. All the mughals were not HINDU CONVERT TO ISLAM..OK



My above post was in Tongue in cheek as in humor moron.





"Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: For thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (The Noble Quran, 16:125)"





Asiffff















asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





28/07/2008 12:14 PM

Posted By miguel9 on 28/07/2008 10:20 AM



Shahab ud deen ghauri Mehmood of Ghazni were not HINDU CONVERTS OK ASIFFFFFF. All the mughals were not HINDU CONVERT TO ISLAM..OK















Where did i say ghauri or ghazni were converts from hindus.

are you saying that the punjabi,sindhi,baloch,seraiki and pathans were also not converts from hindus and had migrated from turkey,central asia or persia.









asif1986

Posts:42





Insaf Activist





28/07/2008 12:14 PM

Posted By miguel9 on 28/07/2008 10:20 AM



Shahab ud deen ghauri Mehmood of Ghazni were not HINDU CONVERTS OK ASIFFFFFF. All the mughals were not HINDU CONVERT TO ISLAM..OK















Where did i say ghauri or ghazni were converts from hindus.

are you saying that the punjabi,sindhi,baloch,seraiki and pathans were also not converts from hindus and had migrated from turkey,central asia or persia.











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Forums > Insaf Topics > General > Dr nazir s bhatti demands christian province











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Punjabi Christians planning to break Pakistan? By ameerhamza

August 3rd, 2008 @ 12:52 PM Breaking News!!, Media, New Developments, Politics



I am horrified by the voting being done presently at the following website:



http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/voting_result.php?id=51

It belongs to Pakistan Christian Post and the polling asks this from its voters:

Christian population is 18% of Punjab but deprived of resources of province and state. Do you support demand of Separate Christian Province on division of Punjab?

To which 71% have said yes while 29% have said no. What kind of govt. is this which cannot even handle such affairs. And what is ISI doing? For me, this looks very dangerous.



Now imagine what would happen if Punjabi Christians living an Karachi - and there are lot of them around sweeping, cleaning, working as electrical contractors, in police, etc - rise up, resort to violence and ask for independence. It is very clear from the polling at website that it is yet another measure by our enemies to make Pakistan as weak as possible. We are already under pressure on many fronts including, but not limited to, Kashmir, FATA, Baluchistan insurgency, economic crisis, political instability, and a rising war chorus on Iranian border.

What do we do now? I think the best course would be to hear all the grievances of Christian community of Pakistan, which is primarily made of Punjabis, and alleviate their problems. We have seen rising problems of Church burning or damaging, targeting Christians and other minorities, and labelling them as second rate citizens. But we cannot open or afford to open another war front in the heart of Pakistan. There has to be a solution to all these problems.

Related posts:

1. Karachiites , the first one to speak ?

2. Recap of a Voter - NA250 By-Election

3. Shoaib Akhtars Ban Postponed for a Month

4. Karachis western border off limits to Punjabis?

5. Rumour - breaking news

ShareThis











25 Comments so far

1. ameerhamza August 3rd, 2008 12:58 pm

This is what John Taimoor, Minister at Large of The Crossberers. USA, has to say in his long letter to the Christian Post:

"Biblically speaking, Pakistan is ready for the harvest. Evangelistically speaking, the harvest is for short period. We must harvest now or else it will go bad. PTL for God has chosen us, you and me for the harvest time such as this. We need to be like the sons of Ischaar who understood Gods hour, the fulfillment and maturation of time (1 Chronicles 12:32; Luke 19:44)"

and further,

"The Father see His purpose and glory only in the Son. Only Christ will change this nation for good for He is the Savior of Pakistani. I do not say it casually, I mean it and live by this passion. Islamacising has failed. This nation is gone in to a decaying mode. So called moderate Islamic government of Musharaf is replaced by by the fanatic feudal lords, Nawabs and Pirs, setting stage for more intense spiritual warfare. Thanks in part to shortsighted diplomacy and abundant investment of Americans and European marketers. Spiritual warfare in Pakistan is not only an option but urgent but imminent. The anarchy and Mullacracy will collapse when we, the redeemed recognize who we are in Christ and depend on Divine recourses!"

Who else but the enemies of Pakistan and Muslims can write this.

2. ameerhamza August 3rd, 2008 12:58 pm

Link to above mentioned quote:

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/lettertoeditor.php

3. Afreen (afreen) August 3rd, 2008 1:50 pm

How is this related to Karachi?

4. d0ct0r August 3rd, 2008 1:59 pm

Well every one these days want a separate province(or a independent state altogether) , Altaf bai wants a separate province,Christians want a separate province, Saraikis want a separate province, non paktoon in NWFP are against pakhtoonkhwa(NWFPs new name) and maybe they too want a separate province. Baluchistans opportunist Sardars want to safeguard their own interests instead of their poor publics and want a seprate state altogether.(oman,Bahrain and other gulf states are role model for them)

5. sceptic August 3rd, 2008 2:04 pm

Why this hate-mongering at this forum? If anti-Pakistanism is an issue, just look around in Karachi where you can find hordes of fundos hellbent on breaking Pakistan by suicide-bombings, preaching hate from the pulpit in the name of Allah, polluting impressionable minds with their venomous views. The Christian forum is only voting and asking for views from our fellow Pakistanis on their continuous persecution under the guise of religion; it is not educating them to blow themselves (and many others) up for the sake of higher rewards in the life hereafter. We dont treat Christians, our Paki citizens, better than third-rate humans, choorahs at best, and then expect them to swallow it all without a murmer.

Remove this post or make it balanced by highlighting the grievances of the Christian community.

6. d0ct0r August 3rd, 2008 2:06 pm

On the other hand disgraced dictator Pervaiz Musharraf and his terrorist mates from MQM are meeting up here in karachi for the second time in less then a month,definitely cooking up some thing sinister(earlier threat of Nazim Karachi Mustafa Kudals to change the geographics of this region,then those 7 simultaneous bomb blasts, definitely Terrorization of Karachi is underway

7. Kashif Aziz (kashaziz) August 3rd, 2008 4:30 pm

I will rate this post as extremely discriminatory. Look what we are doing with them. When Balochs and Pashtoons are rising for their rights, why not them?

And dont take their threat lightly. If they go on strike for a week, things will be really "messy" for us.

8. hum8 August 3rd, 2008 6:22 pm

This is was one of the most inflammatory posts I have come across on metblogs. This is the exact same knee jerk reaction displayed by the military and the rest of the bourgeoisie in the late sixties that oh they dont like us, lets a - keep on ignoring them and b - if they continue to hate us, we will fix it with force.. that cost us East Pakistan. And may end up costing Baluchistan too.

Let us stop for a moment and consider if their grievances are genuine and justified. A little bit of introspection will not kill us. Ask if Christians in Pakistan are being treated with social equality, justice and why are they still the poorest of the poor.

I would suggest keeping the ISI out of this, unless you really want to mess this up too

9. binaryzero August 3rd, 2008 7:13 pm

before i comment on the website quoted - im more worroed & suspicious about the feeling and thinking of author of this blog.

Punjabi is a very strong word and i concider it as a N word - you cannot use a word Punjabi so openly and you definately owe an opology. First time in my life i heared this word in Karachi eventhough i belong to Lahore and was wondering howcome i can be Punjabi not a Pakistani ?

And regarding your post - i know how many christians work in my company, how many christians have taught me one of the best education in Pakistan and how good they live. so im not worried about this post where i smell hatred and anti-Pakistan element - I am more worried about Karachi and Hyderabad being planned for a Jinnah Poor !

10. Jamash (jamash) August 3rd, 2008 7:31 pm

Ooh Look at those kids, looking so innocent, these verminous creatures, these bloody uneducated penniless people. They dont have a right to even think about ever raising there heads, lets chop those two heads clean, off there frill body, and sent them flying to the heap of dirt which they have been cleaning for us for decades, before they can of even think of as much as squeaking in front of us.

Oh, Excuse me, I just puked !

11. ameerhamza August 3rd, 2008 8:23 pm

I have already clearly noted in my blog, grievances of Christian community of Pakistan, which is primarily made of Punjabis, and alleviate their problems. We have seen rising problems of Church burning or damaging, targeting Christians and other minorities, and labelling them as second rate citizens.

The website I earlier quoted has following grievances:

1) They want a separate electorate.

2) They are 20 million strong but have no voice.

3) They want to know why they cannot run for the posts of President of Pakistan or PM of Pakistan?

4) They want to know who killed some of their important members.

5) They want to have more security for their people and their churches.

All are just demands but polling for a separate country is not justified. All these things have been happening to Muslims in West and in India as well (barring item no. 3) yet a separate homeland is never tolerated.

And just for the record, this letter by un-named person at the same website must open your eyes:

Dear Dr. BhattirnI would like to take opportunity and reply the news of May 20, 2008. Which is published in Pakistan Christian Post.

Further, in a fit of anger at some rogue comment, author says,

What are you doing here in Britain? Go back and preach your dirty teaching in your own people and rape each others women. Who are just like you? I hope you have sisters and daughters and wife with you here. If you say this kind of word to non-Muslims. Then I really support and encourage all non-Muslims to rape yours wife and daughters and also the person who back up you Anjem Chaudarys wife and sisters and daughters too. This is not my teaching but I want to talk to you in your language, which you understand. I really hate people like you both. You disgrace your religion, which teaches you this kind of lesson, and your country you belong you are shame for your peoples. You should not be Imam. Which kind of Allah you believe who tells you to rape non-Muslims women. Dont preach this Allah tells you (Muslims) to rape non-Muslims women.

http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/lettertoeditor.php

If this is the standard of Christian Post I really think Pakistani Intelligence agencies have a lot of work to do.

12. obiwankenobe August 3rd, 2008 8:33 pm

Punjab has 56% of Pak population and claiming 18% of them are xtians , that would mean 10+% Pak population xtian. I am sure that Pakistan does not have so many xtians so all this is moot. Besides this is their right to protest for any thing. I am not sure why people point out to the law that why some non muslim cant be president or PM of Pakistan. I guess we can pass the law for that to kill the argument, there is no way, they can be president of Pakistan. Pak has 97% muslim population and I am sure that people would never be voting for any non muslim for such vital post. Even in America, people would not vote Obama if he were muslim.

I would not use word "hate" as it is a strong word but people generally do not like Punjabi Bureaucracy. No one has nothing to do with common citizen of Punjab but if Punjab keep sucking our money then we are in war against them.

Please watch the vdu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b41M5EU2N1s

13. tzaidi August 3rd, 2008 8:37 pm

Pakistan is for Pakistanis, anyone who doesnt want to live in present day Pakistan is more than welcome to leave.

We have already lost half of our country in 1971 and noone want same story again. lets unite and keep the Pakistani spirit high!!

14. ameerhamza August 3rd, 2008 8:38 pm

Thats my point: Hatred is not towards a common Punjabi as so many commentators have perceived.

15. d0ct0r August 3rd, 2008 8:39 pm

poor textile mill workers,oil tanker owners,ptcl workers etc etc also have lots of grievances would they also start demanding a separate province? big question is Would just simply making new provinces solve all the problem for them and others ?

Christian missionaries lure and give financial aid,education to their children and other incentives to these poverty stricken people. same is the modus operandi of Agha Khan Foundation

16. d0ct0r August 3rd, 2008 8:45 pm

non christian poor here also complains of being deprived of resources of province and state,so basically its not just some discrimination against Christians alone,its the incompetence on the part of government which is unable to take care of its own people, just making/diving provinces like crazy isnt the solution and wont solve a single problem.

17. IUnknown (iunknown) August 3rd, 2008 8:49 pm

such christians and all such persons must alwasy be kicked out of our country IMMEDIATELY. LET US LIVE

Jis thaali main khatey hain usi main sorakh kertay hain.

For those, who are calling at as inflamatory post or discrimination, why they take banana in their mouths when there haave been posts against religiious community?

Such double standards have always been followed by hypocrites and i wonder if hypocrite is enough for such persons or "hypocrites X 1000"

18. d0ct0r August 3rd, 2008 10:08 pm

that stupid poll really didnt deserve a blog post here.do a similar poll on a shia/beralvi/ahmedi/aga khani etc etc sites and you would get similar results, 1001 different types of relegions/sect have been invented ever since creation of pakistan, we really cant have 1001 provinces..

19. binaryzero August 3rd, 2008 10:48 pm

Mr. Ameer Hamza

Simple point is - this is not a personal blog and it belongs to Karachi; by posting above post - you are representing Karachi people and writing on their behalf. Besied, i wonder why the hell one would concider posting this cheap item on a city blog !

As being senior member of MetBlogs, i would recommend you to delete this post and keep it in junk !

20. jahanara August 4th, 2008 3:01 am

bacchopakistan kaisey bana tha. aisey heee.

If we continue to treat our christian brothers and sisters like the way we do, such things will happen..

21. zeeshan August 4th, 2008 5:53 am

I am not sure about christians but I do know that Punjabis really are doing what it would take to break a country. We dont need India, US or any other ocuntry to come destroy us. We are doing it ourselves :)

22. zeeshan August 4th, 2008 5:55 am

binaryzero August 3rd, 2008 10:48 pm

Mr. Ameer Hamza

Simple point is - this is not a personal blog and it belongs to Karachi; by posting above post - you are representing Karachi people and writing on their behalf. Besied, i wonder why the hell one would concider posting this cheap item on a city blog !

As being senior member of MetBlogs, i would recommend you to delete this post and keep it in junk !

-

What a LOAD OF TOTAL CRAP you idiot! And what about ALL the god damn political posts TEETH MISTRESS puts up!? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO ABOUT THAT YOU F***G RETARD!? Do you ever say THIS thing to HIM? Or do you guys keep taking it up the butt and support your pals with their own god damn political agendas. F***g retards!!! Now, SHUT THE F*** UP!

23. ameerhamza August 4th, 2008 9:08 am

Zeeshan:

Using abusive language wont solve issues. That was my point when I quoted the un-named person from Chrisitan Post.

Thank you.

24. Tariq Khanani (tariqkhanani) August 4th, 2008 9:27 am

Ameer Hamza

Dont mind but most of your posts depict that you want Pakistan to break, "Punjabi", "Chritian" these are not the proper words to use here plz.

And if u knw, what Christians are demanding today, was our demand in 1940, which lead to creation of Pakistan

25. shamsi August 4th, 2008 4:26 pm

Ameer Hamza,

You started 3 topics. ALL HATE Focused & related.

a. Punjabis Banned on Southern Border of Karachi., 30 July

b. Punjabi Christians, 3rd August

c. KESC burn down, 30 July

Live A Life, Please

Nazir Bhatti and The Christian/Masonic Uprising in Pakistan: Propagandas and Real Intentions: An Analysis By Zaki Khalid

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 2008

MASONIC UPRISING IN PAKISTAN



NAZIR BHATTI & THE CHRISTIAN/MASONIC UPRISING IN PAKISTAN: Propagandas and Real Intentions

An Analysis

By Zaki Khalid



For decades now, the Christian community of Pakistan has been wailing and crying over acts of exploitation and abuse that have been instigated against them by some radical forces. These allegations are very often true and I must confess that some of us Muslims do occasionally take advantage of our majority-status, but recent unfoldings from history and the present have got something else to say: a very sinister plot that is in the making by Nazir Bhatti and gang.



I do not believe in any kind of biased hatred, or any hatred at all, towards any religion. It is only a selected few of the hierarchy, who dont actually represent the religions interests, against whom I raise my voice. For Allah The Almighty states in The Quran:



Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant [Al-Maeda]



Before we advance any further, it is important that the readers have a brief understanding of who the Knights Templars are. Their relevance to the topic will be discussed onwards.



THE PAST:



In 1099 C.E. when Pope Urban II had declared an all-out Crusade against the Muslims and Jews in Palestine, some of the men among those who were fighting included specific people who labeled themselves as the Poor Soldiers of the Army of Jesus. Later on, these were the very people who renamed themselves as the Knights Templars or Knights of the Temple of Solomon. They were heretic and as time passed, after their successful and bloody conquest of Jerusalem, they created an enclave beneath the Dome of the Rock. There, they started practicing black magic, other forms of sorcery, paid tributes to Lucifer i.e. Iblees, uttered mystical words most possibly from the books of the Kabbalah (so-called Judaic Sufism) and sacrificed animals and humans for their dark rituals and rites. Most disgusting of all is the fact that these very people also were heavily engaged in the filthy acts of sodomy. They occasionally hosted orgies and sexual functions of the like.



In 1314 Pope Clement V declared all the Templars as heretics to Christianity ordering all their properties to be seized. Their nefarious leader, Jacques de Molay, was captured and burnt at the stake. After these events, these Knights Templars went underground, working only from the shadows of others. A time came when Robert The Bruce, who was then a freedom-fighter for the independence of Scotland from England took advantage of the Templars tactics and sinister profile. He called upon the Templars to ally themselves with him and in turn avail the open opportunity to defeat the English. And so, the Templars did ally with the Scots and their meagre army of 6500 men shamefully defeated the grand English Army that comprised of 25,000 men at the time. But that was not it. They established control over the whole monarchy through secretive means and deployed their own men on high positions of the aristocracy. From that moment onwards, they have been burying all their deceased members at Rosslyn Chapel (pronounced Rose-line Chapel), which to this day stands as a grand symbol of their everlasting presence in the U.K. From their stared the Order of the Rosicrucians, a sub-faction of the Freemasons another new secretive name these people had chosen for themselves later on.



The death of Queen Elizabeth I left the English Throne without an heir (successor). So upon bloodline basis, it was King James V who was destined to become the King of England. He was form Scotland. That meant the total control of the Freemasons (those same Knights Templars) was on the Throne.



LETTER OF ALBERT PIKE TO MAZZINI, 1871



Albert Pike was an American Civil War General and also the founder of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the US. It was he who had sent a detailed letter to Italian General Giuseppe Mazzini in which he had stated how World War III was to be created. In his own words:



"The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the "agentur" of the "Illuminati" between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam (the Moslem Arabic World) and political Zionism (the State of Israel) mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion...We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view. This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time."

[Ref: Occult Theocracy by Edith Star Miller]



The above quotation was noted also by famous writer and Ex-Navy Officer William Guy Carr, most noted for his voluminous work Pawns in The Game.



So what we see here is that these agentur have no concern in mind for Christianity at all too. We come to realize at the end is that all these hierarchies have no connection to any sort of religion at all, because their whole belief and power of the occult is based upon atheism. Paradoxically, that atheism does believe in an entity and that is Lucifer (Iblees).



The Christian and Muslim representatives of the elite class, if not all then some, are not sincere or devoted to the so-called religion that they claim to represent. No wonder that the Western media outlets, 90% of which are controlled by Jews, always show demoralizing and demeaning video of certain Catholic priests who are known to be pedophiles for decades. All the Popes who ever came after Pope Urban II were deployed by the Knights Templars themselves. The Vatican is also called as one of the main centres of Freemasonry.



RELATION TO PAKISTAN

Now comig to the point, Nazir Bhatti, who is the editor of the Pakistan Christian Post, is Pakistans First Knight of the Grand Priory of Pakistan of the Knights Templars of Scotland. If you do not believe this, you can visit the website yourself: www.pakistanchristianpost.com

Furthermore, old and new editions of the Christian Post also feature registration cards at the end for members to join the Grand Priory. Below is an eerie and conspicuous excerpt taken form the International Social Pulse magazine, dated October 2006:



"TRIAL OF PAKISTAN CHRISTIAN NATION"

Following is the fact that Dr. Bhatti is inviting converted Muslims to join Grand Priory of Pakistan of Knights Templar of Scotland by filling the Forms at the end of this page.



But first read about Knights Templar. Nazir Bhatti ranked as First Knight From Pakistan and appointed as Grand Prior of Grand Priory of Pakistan. Nazir Bhatti to be first Knight and Grand Prior of Grand Priory of Pakistan of Knights Templar of Scotland order. PCP Report.

Scotland. March 7. The five Scottish Knights Templar who shall convene Mr. Bhatti, a Knight by proxy to be a member of the clan, William McGrath, shall knight Mr. Nazir s Bhatti, Editor of Pakistan Christian Post and Founder of Pakistan Christian Congress in a ceremony at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland tomorrow.



Mr. Nazir s Bhatti shall be installed as the Grand Prior of the Grand Priory of Pakistan with the rank of knight Grand Officer. This was announced by Chev. James Reese, The knight and Knight Grand Officer of the Grand Priory of the USA. Chev. Reese further stated that the Grand Prior have sanctioned installation of Mr. Nazir s Bhatti as Knight who is General of our Order, His Sovereign Excellency James P. McGrath, who is also Secretary General of the Confederation of Scottish Knights Templar. The Cross of the Order will be given to Mr. Bhatti after the noon of Saturday, tomorrow, blessed by his sovereign excellency James P. McGrath in a recreated ceremony here in USA shortly.



In a message to Mr. Nazir s Bhatti "I offer you my heartiest congratulations . . . many are called, but few are chosen. You, Brother Nazir, have been brought to us by the Holy Spirit, and you have been justified by faith" Chev. Reese said The message further read " We are all lovers of peace, but know that you are now a part of a Christian Order that could not be destroyed by any foe. May your fellow Christians take heart that the Templar banner will now fly in Pakistan"? In a message to Mr. Nazir S Bhatti, The Chevalier Rev. Lehman Smith, KCTJ, Secretary, Priory of the Holy Angels said, "What an important post and responsibility you now have in your homeland. You have been thrusted in a hot LZ for Christians and I pray that your new post will be successful and safe! I would like to extend a warm welcome to our old order and my assistance to you whenever you need it. You are not alone; you are surrounded by close brethren in pursuit of a common cause

[Source: http://www.cephasministry.com/news_pulse_10.2006.html]



Now these events have been clearly unfolding now, two years after his coronation. I would also like to focus your attention to another interesting letter written by a certain convert John Taimoor, who is the founder of a California-based ministry known as Crossbearers. It was addressed to Nazir Bhatti and published on their Christian Post website. Carefully read the excerpts below:



Gradually and progressively, I understood the plan of God and experienced the power of His Holy Spirit. Then the Master said, "Claim Pakistan for Me for I died to ransom every Pakistani at the Cross." He showed me the unseen powers and principalities that had held the Pakistani people captive. Nowhere on earth Satan and his demons exert such a powerful control. It is Pakistan where the Devil is in details."



"Biblically speaking, Pakistan is ready for the harvest. Evangelistically speaking, the harvest is for short period. We must harvest now or else it will go bad. PTL for God has chosen us, you and me for the harvest time such as this.



Islamacising has failed. This nation is gone in to a decaying mode. So called moderate Islamic government of Musharaf is replaced by by the fanatic feudal lords, Nawabs and Pirs, setting stage for more intense spiritual warfare. Thanks in part to shortsighted diplomacy and abundant investment of Americans and European marketers. Spiritual warfare in Pakistan is not only an option but urgent but imminent. The anarchy and Mullacracy will collapse when we, the redeemed recognize who we are in Christ and depend on Divine recourses!



The visions of the Lord are usually for the appointed time. The hour of Christ's vision for Pakistan has come. This realization is taking place and its fulfillment has begun

[Source: http://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/lettertoeditor.php]



According to a poll on the same website which is still underway, about 85% of Christians and other groups demand a separate Christian province, to be formed at the south-western area of Punjab, as propounded by Nazir Bhatti in his letter to the UNO.



Philadelphia: July 24, 2008: Nazir S Bhatti, Founder President of Pakistan Christian Congress urged Pakistan Armed Forces to end operation in Balochistan and act against religious extremists in tribal areas who are challenged to writ of government.



Mr. Bhatti added, It is need of time to divide Pakistan in federal units of Balochistan, Sindh, Seraki, Pushtoon, Hazara and Christian provinces



Christian Separate Province in south western parts of Punjab is only solution to save Pakistan Bhatti said.



Where Nazir Bhatti so very boldly declared all his plans and ideas to the mass public, he also stated:



Christians support Baloch nation of their right of self-determination and demands of Seraki, Pushtoon and Hazara nations rights and expect their moral support for Separate Christian Province



Frankly speaking, that saying of Nazir Bhatti was actually a propaganda threat. Could the leader of the Christian Community of Pakistan be behind the support of all the so-called liberation movements that are ever-increasing among the Balochis and Saraikis? Allah Knows Best!



Keep this fact in mind that Nazir Bhatti had also personally interviewed Mir Azaad Khan Baloch. To underline some of the ongoing propagandas on behalf of the Paksitan Christian Congress, kindly go through this poem written by the PCC to the Baloch leadership:



A Salute to the Tiger of Balochistan. By Ahmar Mustikhan



We Salute you Shaheed-i-Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti



You paid back with your blood whatever debts you owed







The Bhambore Hills is drenched in blood, silent, painted red



The Baloch cubs miss the roar of the Tiger of Balochistan







Dr Shazia mourns in London as rapist Captain Hammad dances, Allahu Akbar



Cluster bombs silenced the hero brave, despot Musharraf toasts GHQ







From Islamabad temples of darkness the death call comes, Allahu Akbar



Kill the Tigers of Balochistan they are agents of Hindus, Christians and Jews







Soldiers of darkness who chant the slogan of hate, Allahu Akbar



The battle cry of terror from Jerusalem, New York, Kashmir to Kohlu







Shame on you cowards, Islamist Terror Army of Pakistan;



Soldiers of Islam who believe Kill Jews, Christians, Hindus and Tigers of Balochistan







In the name of God, the Jihadists dream to rule the world, Allahu Akbar



Leave our country now, it belong to the Tigers of Balochistan







Where`s my Tigress Indira, where`s my Aurora? Butchers of Bengal have shifted base



The rapist Jihadi soldiers have forgotten the ignonimy of defeat in Dhaka





Not shed in vain, the blood of Bugti is now an ink of history



To cut the chain of slavery, to mark the end of night with dawn of freedom



Nazir Bhatti later commented: We are with our Baloch brethren to remember our martyrs Nawab Akbar Bughti, Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai and thousands who sacrificed for Balochistan



Pakistani Christians support struggle of Baloch nation for right of self-determination and to be master of their land and its natural resources



Just imagine their sick mentality and mindset concerning Muslims. They are targeting general Muslims as well.



After going through all the material above, I hope you have got a good glimpse of what is taking place and what is under the making for the future in Pakistan. All these latest suicide bombings and blasts are mostly, if not all, according to my view, being carried out by the Baloch Liberation Organization and related parties. It is probably not their fault but most are furiously instigated and mind-fed by the agents of the PCC, who are giving them false support. Allah Knows Best!



All I can say is that as mentioned above, I believe MASONIC CONTROL IS AT RISING IN PAKISTAN at a very abrupt pace. May Allah Protect Us All. Aameen!

POSTED BY ZAKI KHALID IQBAL AT 3:14 PM 0 COMMENTS

LABELS: BALOCHISTAN, BHATTI, CHRISTIAN, CHRISTIANS, FREEMASONS, KHALID, KNIGHTS TEMPLARS, LAHORE, MASONS, NAZIR, NAZIR BHATTI, PAKISTAN, PAKISTAN CHRISTIAN CONGRESS, TEMPLARS, ZAKI, ZAKI KHALID

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Declaration Adopted by Global Minorities Meet on March 9, 2008, in New Delhi issued to media by Navaid Hamid, Secretary General of South Asian Council for Minorities.

In this sixtieth year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Reaffirming our faith in the sanctity of human life and inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family;
Restating our commitment to secure equal right to life, freedom and dignity of all human beings, and the right to distinct identity of all communities under law and in realty;



Recognizing that within each country there are minorities based on religion, language, ethnicity and nationality, who are disadvantaged, because of their number and inadequate share in power in realizing their equal civil, political, social and economic rights and in preserving their distinct identity;



Appreciating the worldwide concern for justices to minorities, making them enjoy effective equality along with distinct identity;



Noting the binding provisions of Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966 and those under the unanimously adopted UN Declaration on the Rights of persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, 1992;



Regretting that owing to majoritarian character of States, their polities, electoral system and modes of governance, minorities continue to face situations of varying nature and degrees of neglect, discrimination and exclusion and threat of assimilation of their linguistic, ethnic and religious identity;



Expressing shock, dismay and grave concern over the threat to the existence of minorities in certain parts of the world, who have been facing periodic violence against their life, property, dignity and places of worship with the complicity of the States agencies, some of which have been characterized as genocides;



Expressing further concern over the failure of such states to enact effective laws including on genocide and mass hate crimes and on rights of victims for the accountability of all state and non-state actors whose acts and omissions have resulted in loss of tens of thousands of innocent lives, large scale internal displacement and social and educational dislocation and massive destruction of property including places of worship.



Recording that it is this climate of impunity which is the major source of recurrence of violence against minorities in which judiciary has also failed to promptly come to the rescue of the victims;



Noting that such situations of exclusion, discrimination, assimilation of minorities and their attempted extirpation have led to violent conflicts including insurgence, secessionism and terrorism, which have caused immense suffering to large number of innocent people by enforced internal displacement, flow of refuges across borders, distress of divided families and stateless persons;



Noting with concern that in the wake of the rise of global terrorism, certain communities are being treated as suspect whose innocent members are tortured, detained and treated as guilty including by media, though after prologue incarceration they are acquitted by law courts. Such violation of basic human rights in the name of counter terrorism should be condemned. Also noting with concern the rise of Islamophobia in the West in the wake of 9/11, and demonisation of Muslims in India, by vested interests;



Acknowledging the worldwide recognition that durable peace cannot be secured without justice to minorities and other vulnerable groups and the consequent active engagement by governments and civil society groups to prevent, resolve and transform conflicts by putting in place firm institutional mechanism of rule of law and dialogue and conciliation.



We the delegates to the Global Minorities Meet held from 6th to 9th March 2008, in New Delhi, India having reviewed the global minority situations have arrived at the conclusions that the sources of denial of effective equality, security, dignity, adequate public participation and preservation of distinct identity of minorities lie in the following:



Inadequate protection of the rights of minorities under constitution & laws and policies of States



In some countries constitutional provisions are discriminatory.



In some others, there is no constitutional safeguards for rights of minorities. In some countries which have such provisions certain religious communities have not been accorded recognition under law.



In countries where constitutional provisions on rights to equality and to preservation of language and culture and freedom of religion appear to be adequate, in practice denial of these rights is rampant owning to majoritarian administration and electoral calculations.



Poor state of rule of law and non-observance of human rights norms, where the law-enforcement system is partisan and justice system has given rise to pervasive impunity.



Even in democracies where period elections are held under multi-party system, the electoral systems are unfriendly to minorities making them unable to secure their due share in legislatures and other elected bodies.



Minorities are grossly underrepresented in all spheres of national life and especially in institutions of governance, e.g. the police, armed and para-military forces, the judiciary and the civil services, in their respective countries.



The culture, history and religion of minorities do not get appropriate representation in educational materials and in the media. On the contrary they are marginalized, excluded or distorted and negatively stereotyped.



While condemning and strictly dealing with all terrorist activity everywhere, it is equally significant to carry out serious instituionalised research into the causes of terrorism and to take preemptive measures so as to save our upcoming generations of this scourge.



In view of the above, we recommend the following measures to be adopted by the Governments of each country.



Adequate protection of the rights of minorities to equality, non-discrimination, non-exclusion and non-assimilation under constitution, law, policies and programmes.



Institutions to ensure enjoyment of these rights by minorities in reality, providing accessible mechanism of prompt redressal.



Enactment of statutory Commission to address inter-group discrimination and disparities.



Enactment of social diversity of institution Act, making employers accountable for persistent absence or under representation of minorities.



Polities to conform to the norms of inclusive democracy, ensuring due share to minorities in legislatures and governance.



Affirmative action programmes for equalization of opportunities for minorities, ensuring their due share in public employment and in socio-economic development.



Protection and promotion of pluralism and multi-culturalism. Giving adequate representation to minority language, history, culture and religion in the educational material and in media, while enabling the minorities to acquire knowledge of the language, history and culture of the national life as a whole. Enactment of a Multiculturalism Act for this purpose.



Promotion of prevention and resolution of inter-community and minority versus State conflicts and disputes, providing peaceful and just solutions.



Collectively adopting Regional Human Rights Conventions based on international human rights norms, accommodating regional particularities, and instruments on the protection of minorities and institutional mechanism for monitoring and redressal of grievances in these regions, like South Asia, and West Asia where such regional arrangements do not exist.



Under these instruments adopting multilateral/ bilateral treaties on the treatment of non-citizens like numbers of divided families, migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers, prisoners and stateless persons.



Enactment of anti genocide law in the respective countries.



We recommend the following measures to be adopted by the civil society



Undertake active promotion of these norms and principles, especially of pluralism and multiculturalism and rule of law.



Undertake advocacy of their adoption by the government.



Promote inter-community tolerance, mutual respect and accommodation.



Organize effective intervention in situations of denial of rights to minorities and their oppression.



We appeal to the security forces of the States and armed opposition groups to strictly adhere to the ethical-legal humanitarian norms on the conduct of hostilities as codified in the Geneva Convention, 1949 which require protection of life, dignity and freedom of non-combatant civilians, especially women, children, old and disabled persons and worshippers.



We also appeal to religious leaders of all communities in the region to evolve and endorse such ethical norms on the protection of innocent civilians uninvolved in conflicts including communal and sectarian conflicts.





We the delegates to the Global Meet do hereby resolve to constitute a Global Minorities Forum for Justice and Peace (GMFJAP) whose aims and objectives will be the following:



a. Promoting equal human rights of all minorities



b. Promoting adequate protection of rights of minorities to equality and non-discrimination and to their distinct religious, and cultural and linguistic or national identities under constitution, law, policy and programme of each country.



c. Promoting norms of gender-justice in areas of cultural autonomy of minorities including community-based family laws.



d. Promoting adoption of Regional Human Rights Conventions and Commissions on Rights of Minorities and Non-Citizens.



e. Promoting inter-community understanding, tolerance and conciliation through dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes.



f. Promoting strict observance of humanitarian norms during armed conflicts.



g. The Forum shall have country wise chapters, in countries from where the delegates have participated in the Global Minorities Meet.



The Global Minorities Forum for Justice & Peace resolved to nominate the following founder members, beside Secretary General, in the GMFJAP:



1. Mr. Douglas Devnanda, Honorable Minister, Sri Lanka



2. Dr. A. H. Wako, Former Minister, Government of Kenya



3. Mr. Subodh Kant Sahay, Honorable Minister of State, Government of India



4. Dr. Nirmala Deshpande, Honorable M.P India



5. Justice Shaikh Abdur Rahman Al Mahmoud, Former Chief Justice of Qatar



6. Ms. Kay Hampton, Formerly Commissioner, Equal Opportunities Commission, UK



7. Prof. Amrik Singh, India



8. Ms. Jessie Kaur, Australia



9. Dr. Daud Abdullah, Deputy Secretary General MCB, UK



10. Mr. B.M. Kutty, PILER, Pakistan



11. Mr. M.P. Bhandara, Former MNA Pakistan



12. Dr. Noorah Amatullah, New York, USA



13. Dr. Manzoor Alam, Chairman IOS, India



14. Dr. Zafar Mehmood, Chairman, Interfaith Coalition for Peace, India.



15. Mr. M.A Sumanthiran, Sri Lanka



16. Mr. Riza Yehiya, Sri Lanka



17. Mr. Hanan Mollah, M.P. India



18. Mr. Senaid Kobilca, Norway



19. Prof. Iqbal Ansari, India



20. Mr. Nirmal Singh, USA



21. Prof. Ranbir Singh Sandhu, USA



22. Mr. Fredrick Musisi Kabuye, Uganda



23. Mr. Zafar Malik, Pakistan



24. Dr. Robina Sehgol, Pakistan



25. Justice Tahir Ali Ansari, Nepal



26. Mr. Hasan ul Haq Inu, Bangladesh



27. Dr. Sajan George, India



28. Mr. Gurdeep Singh, India



29. Navaid Hamid, India; Secretary General



The Meet authorizes the Secretary General to include some other important minority rights activists in consultation with other Founder Members.





The delegates of the Global Minorities:



Appeals the Government of Bangladesh:



a. To take necessary Steps to establish Minority Rights Commission in Bangladesh for redressal of the minority communities complaints.



b. Ensure the inclusion of all minorities in the voter lists of the country.



c. For promoting & protecting minority groups repeal or make amendments of all statutes, which are threatening to minorities.



d. Ensure State protection to safeguard freedom of belief and diversified religious practices.



Appeals to the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure redresal of the grievances of the Bahai community in Iran.



Appeals to the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to ensure safety of minorities and repeal of all laws, which has been used to victimize the minorities in the country and create Statutory National Commission for Minorities, for safeguarding the interests of the minorities in Pakistan.



While welcoming the declaration of the Nepal as a Secular State, appeals to the Government & Political parties of Nepal to give due consideration for safeguarding the interests of minorities and dalits in Nepal and ensure their safety of life and property and safeguard freedom of Belief of its citizens.



While expressing grave concern on the plight of the ethnic and religious minorities in Malaysia, appeals to the Government of Malaysia to immediately redress the grievances of the ethnic and religious minorities of the country.



Appeals the Government of India to enact Anti-Genocide Law and create Equal Opportunities Commission, at the earliest.

The concept of harmony in OJIBWAYS of Canada and poetry of Stephen Gill: By Lino Leitao

Canadian history starts normally “with the French , who came first as fishermen and later as explorers in the sixteenth century and stayed to settle,”1 though the Ojibway people have been in North America for centuries before them. The Ojibways are scattered now across Canada and the United States. They probably migrated from the East during the Ice Age, and have developed their own mythologies and culture.

The Ojibway people believe that every thing on earth is connected. In one of their mythologies, their elders had a good life when they lived in harmony with the plants, animals and all living beings. Bad days followed when they began to fight due to jealousy, hatred, fear and anger. They believe that all humans are one and they are separated only by tongues. In their prayer Ojibway people ask: Sacred One/Teach love, compassion, and honor/That we may heal the earth/And heal each other2”.

This is a view that Stephen Gill explores in his poetry as well as in prose. In his poem “When”, he demonstrates his strong faith in harmony that was responsible for carving universe, human and even animal kingdom. “When / harmony disintegrates/ the gates of hell open wide/ for lava to flow.3 In another poem, he says that “Harmony/the author of prosperities/ composes a sonata/ for the piano of delight.”4

The Oibways call the earth mother because she gives birth to all living beings. For them, “The sun is the sister of the world, the moon is the brother. The sky, water, fire and stone are also closely related to the earth. The figure on the moon is believed to be that of a small boy carrying two water pails”5. Their myths fobids them to kill certain animals to maintain ecology. “To kill frogs means rain, and it is forbidden to kill frogs and turtles for fear of angering the frog spirit. Indians used frogs and turtles with sorcery to bring upon earth much needed rains…Killing a snake was not allowed”6





2…stephen gill & ojibways…



The earth is mother also for Stephen Gill. In his poem “Image of Flowers”, he says that “humans still need/ the caring arms of the earth.”7 In “Garden of Eden,” he says mother earth gave refuge to Adam and Eve.8 In “Unity in Diversity”, he calls the earth “the mother of all beings.”9 and in “If There Be A Third World War,” he warns “Mother shall be lonesome/gases hover on her”10 .

Stephen Gill, like the Ojibways people, sees a close connection between the earth and its inhabitants. In his lecture delivered at Royal College of Agriculture on September 24 in 1996 and published elsewhere, titled the Development Of Internationalism In Universities, he notes that "Greed, aggression and destruction are the symptoms of pulling the parts before the whole which is greater than the parts. The world has to think in terms of the whole, not the parts."11 The cure for the wholesomeness of the entire planet, including environment, can heal the earth and heal each other.

He repeatedly says that objects on this earth are related to each other and man has no right to spoil nature. He believes that the pristine spirit, called also life force, is present in all creations and every creation has a purpose. Without humans, nature and animal kingdom can survive but not the other way around.

The following lines from a poem of Stephen Gill embody the philosophy of the Ojibway people:



No one can buy

Nor sell

The fragrance of the flowers

Which is a friend of the universe

and the interdependence

of all animals, nations and nature

who form a family with humans

and who breathe the same air

under the same canopy.12



The bond that Stephen Gill and the Ojibway people talk about is the result of the unsullied pristine spirit that is untouched by any kind of bigotry. This bond grows weaker when this spirit is sullied with greed, violence and fanaticism. In its purest form this spirit is found in infants and in its diabolic form in the perpetrators of violence. Several sages, including Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi from India, Martin Luther King, Jr. from the United States, Nelson Mandela from Africa and Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma, have tried to reawaken that slumbering spirit.

This thought is as old as the hills and is vibrant also in the culture of India. The development of the thoughts of the Ojibway nation may have been the result of their close observations and proximity to nature. They must have understood the tongue in the rocks and the significance in the melodies from the waterfalls and streams and in nature’s calm and furious moods.

What Stephen Gill visions in poetry, the first people of North America, the Ojibways, chant in their prayers that is based on their centuries-old stories about the creation of the universe. Mishomis, an Ojibway Indian, believes that the way to be



3…stephen gill & ojibways…



happy is to be in harmony with every object in the universe. Mishomis presents a myth that has been handed down from one generation to another by word of mouth.

In the beginning, the earth had a family. The moon was the grandmother and the

sun was grandfather and the creator was called Great Mystery or Creator. Water was the blood of the Mother Earth, and all four directions, East, West, North and South, contributed vitality to the life of the Earth. They all possessed spiritual and physical powers. The birds carried the seeds of life everywhere. They all lived together in harmony. Great Mystery or Creator collected the four parts of Mother Earth to blow its breath to produce a man, who also lived in harmony with everything around. The Ojibways believed that no one was better than the other.13

According to Collins English dictionary “harmony is the pleasant combination of different notes of music played at the same time, and according to Gage Canadian Dictionary it is “getting along well together.” In social sphere, harmony means to live and let live to enjoy the pleasant notes in life. It is to create an environment in which humans and non-humans can live together to enjoy equal rights to breathe and prosper. This concept is based on the fact that each animate and non-animate object has values and as long as they co-exist they produce a crop of richness. Humans have no right to impede the growth of richness unless it is for their vital needs.

These are the muscles of harmony that uses the pen of Stephen Gill, a multiple award-winning Canadian poet, who was born in Pakistan and grew mostly in India. He came years ago to Canada to upgrade his education. Peaceful landscape of the new nation inhabited with people of different shades and colors, with divergent philosophies and religious believes, thriving harmoniously, made a profound impression on the poetic soul of Stephen Gill. Gill became a citizen. Later he wrote poems also about his adopted mother. During the days of bitter debates over the Meechlake Agreement that divided the nation, he bemoans when he says, “With a tail for deliberate ruin/ a crocodile of racial disharmony/ enters the waters of my land/ in the guise of the “Meechlake fish”14. In his widely published poem, “My Canada,” he assures his mother that “My well of love/ full for thee. A peace-adoring dove/ never my love/ shall cease for thee”15. To make his adopted land a better place to live, at times, he criticizes Canadians for practising discrimination. His novel Immigrant is an example.



In the preface to his collection Shrine, Stephen Gill gives the first glimpse of the awakening of his spirit of harmony in his early teens when he was living in Karol Bagh, New Delhi. At that time the British India came to be partitioned in 1947 into two independent nations. The carving of two nations, India and Pakistan, out of the subcontinent awakened that revolting beast that was dormant in the country. Carnage followed. Religious passions were flared out that engulfed the Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs. Adherents of different religions went on massacring and dehumanizing one another. These painful occurrences became routine. The pristine spirit of Stephen Gill was awakened when he saw the blood of the innocents on the street and his own helplessness due to religious fanaticism around.

The citizens began to live in fear. In his preface to Songs Before Shrine, he



4…stephen gill & ojibways…



elaborates this fear:



During those riots, we did not know if there would be another dawn and when there was, it brought tales of more brutalities. I saw old people running for help and being pelted with bricks and then burnt alive while the patrolling police ignored the clusters of misguided zealots who were in the street in spite of curfews. I perceived death dancing in the eyes of minorities, heard the cries of infants and read about the butchery of the innocent as if that was happening in front of my eyes.



Curfew used to be lifted for a couple of hours for citizens to buy the necessities of life. Items like sugar, rice, wheat flour and several other eatables had disappeared from the stores. If there were any, their prices had shot up because those who could afford started hoarding them. Minorities suffered this way and also because of other fears. Both the Hindus and Muslims were engaged in this ugliness for religious reasons. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated because he tried to end this drama of degradation to humanity.16



One shudders with revulsion reading the graphic details of the bloodbath, which Gill depicts in Author`s Preface as India`s subcontinent was being partitioned. Gill witnessed some of these incidents of carnage himself. He also read the gory details about them in the papers, and also heard atrocious stories of these brutalities from the people that he associated with. All these have left an indelible imprint on his psyche.

Stephen Gill says, "I began to flutter my wings to escape the prison of suffocation in search of an El Dorado of peace."17 The poet that was awakening in Stephen Gill from his early childhood, was more awakened and more restive when he witnessed these horrible acts. He used to hear and read in the newspapers the graphic details of the carnage that was being perpetrated in different parts of the subcontinent. He must have pondered in his mind that why do the potentates of different religions defile the sacredness of the pristine spirit that abides in all humans.

He could not heal the pains of his early life in India, no matter where he lived. He confesses that "In Ethiopia, as in India, I had dreams of being chased and soldiers shooting people for no reason, while I was trying to escape. I had difficulty of falling asleep that afflicted my life from the days of riots. Those nightmares followed me in Canada. As the night approached, I felt uncomfortable for reasons unknown. The scenes of these crude events are alive somewhere in some caves of my blood. I still dream about people in military uniform, shooting at others for no reason. I began to drink heavily in the evening."18

Poet in Stephen Gill, being extremely sensitive, couldn`t find solace in drinking. In his poetry we see the anguish of his soul and intellect. He contemplates on the sacredness of the spirit that abides in all humans. The potentates of different religions and political tyrants sully the magnificence of that spirit for their own selfish ends, without any pangs of remorse in their hearts. It is then a sensitive soul, who envisions a world of harmony bleeds.

Gandhi was one of those sensitive souls. As a child, Stephen Gill, with an adult

5…stephen gill & ojibways…



friend, attended some of those prayer meetings of Gandhi that he used to hold at his ashram every evening. That ashram was not very far from the place where Stephen Gill passed his boyhood. The same sensitive soul worked in India`s well-known spiritualist Swami Vivekananda. He experienced the same prismatic spirit as wholesome and unsullied from the bigoted doctrines that are preached by religious fanatics. Swami Vivekananda gives a deep insight of this spirit:



A man may have never entered a church or a mosque,nor performed any ceremony; but if he realizes God within himself, and is thereby lifted above the vanities of the world, that man is a holy man, a saint,call him what you will 19



Poet Stephen Gill, guided by the spirit that the first Indian people of Canada, Ojibways talk about, shapes his poetic vision. In his speech, Development of Internationalism in Universities, he emphasizes that, "All men and women are human and therefore they belong to the nations of humans first." 20

In the United States of America, the same spirit for harmony resurrected in Martin Luther King. It motivated changes in the hearts and minds of the many, curbing racial tendencies to maintain human dignity. King sacrificed his life to establish the truth that we are all one. In his poem to Martin Luther King, Stephen Gill elaborates this truth:



He was Moses

who led the weak

through parted Red Sea

of a debasing journey of hardships.

He steered alone

the shaky Noah`s Ark of politics

in the roughest weathers.

His story is not an incident

of losing a finger;

it is the saga of offering a hand

in a calm that encourages the heroism of endurance

to build the pyramids of justice.21



Martin Luther King, Jr, a civil right activist, voices that, "our loyalties must become ecumenical rather sectional. Every nation must develop an overriding loyalty to

mankind as whole in order to preserve the best in their initial societies”22 The prejudices that come to be planted into the depths of man`s psyche go on acting as blinders, obfuscating the magnificence of that unsullied spirit which is above all the vanities of man. Because of those walls of prejudices, we haven`t yet built ecumenical humanity; we are still a divided humanity, blocking our way to the Truth of our Being.

Seeing the oneness of mankind torn apart by sectarian violence, poet in Stephen Gill cries out in despair :



Humankind is torn asunder.

6…stephen gill & ojibways…



It has carved disorderly islands:

each an empty tomb of notions.

These

self-surrounding cells of egoism

display the nudity of modern savagery.

The sky-hitting towers of their beliefs

defy the teaching of sages.23



That is the central message of the poet. He makes this message clearer in the last stanzas of his poem “I Am Still A Man”: “My religion/ was not my choice;/yet I love all creeds./ I did not choose/ my tongue either;/yet I respect all breeds.”24 The message that humans are one comes out in this and in several others poems. In most of his poems the egalitarian vision pours out, but it comes out lucidly in this poem. He concludes in this poem that all cultures and religions scintillate the facets of the same pristine spirit that abides in the sanctum of men. The poet puts it in this way, "Every culture/ a beauty of the same garden/ I am also/ your God child."25

The prejudices that came to be planted into man`s psyche, act as blinkers. When passions are inflamed, human cannot see the radiance of that unsullied spirit that abides in everyone. Wise persons in all cultures have perceived this spirit and are still perceiving, considering it the bond that cements oneness. It is the pristine spirit that makes everyone a human. Because of the walls of the prejudices, humans have created a divided humanity. Religious fanatics and unscrupulous politicians, ignoring the pristine spirit that humans inherit, exploit the external passions of man to quench their own unquenchable thirst for more domination. They have no moral scruples. The peace they preach has no foundation in love, because the true peace is love. They manufacture a cobweb of lies, imprisoning man`s heart in the clutches of fear. The poet cynically expresses the politicians` offer of peace in the following lines:



Our politicians want peace

but it cannot be achieved

as long as the citizens are locked

in the prison of their fears;

their daily bread,

doled out by murderers,

and love worshipped

with bullets.26



Nations go to war in the name of peace. The TV images of the massacres in Sabra, Shantila, Gujarat, and Rwanda produce shocks and awe. The bombing of the innocent people in the name of peace, convey that man is cruel to man. The beginning of the twentieth-first century has witnessed the despicable dehumanization of man by man in Abu Gharib on TV screens. Worst than these are the incidents that are carried on in the name of God day in and day out by butchering the persons of other faith in cold blood.

7…stephen gill & ojibways…



Stephen Gill`s poetry was inspired when he witnessed the sectarian violence in his teens in the country of his birth. These meaningless brutalities wounded his soul. In his poem, “Familiar Scenes”, he mentions the recurrence of violence everywhere. The

ultimate vision that he pours out is an egalitarian vision, which has the foundation in the unity of creation. Poet deliberates in "A Familiar Scene" that man pays no heed to the voice of the spirit within. He repeats cruelty without any guilt. He philosophizes that the atrocities that have taken place in Bangladesh at the time of liberation have the same face that was of the atrocities in Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia or Lebanon. Only its labels have changed but the content of hatred and cruelty remains unchanged. This cruelty of man to man can be performed on any stage of any country. He is convinced that



This happens

when ethnic feuds

or religions

are taken to the streets

and homes.

It is repetition of the lust

for a few acres of land

or to eliminate minorities

of different belief.27



The powerful forces of the demagoguery deluge the voice that comes from the conscience of moral abiding citizens. The most powerful dominate all the outlets of the media, rendering righteous voices infective, or lure them into the foul cesspool of their thinking. The poet in "Adders of Today," lays bare the demagoguery of the corrupt, “Words are/ fire/ storm/ sword/ and wound. / Light / flower/ boon/ and guide Crooks/ turn them into/ dreadful/ disdainful/Rotten/ and distasteful/ to breed/ destruction

greed / and confusion---the adders of today.28

When democracy is not dominated by the will of the people, adders and demagogues abound in that bogus democracy. They control and dominate the will of the people. Poet in "To War- Mongers" poses this question: “Is this/ a just demand/ democracy`s wish/ to debase and kill / mothers and infants/ and wives innocent .. abolish life of every type?”29

In the name of pseudo democracy and peace, bombs rain, killing the innocent and creating devastation not only on land, but also on the mind of people. In "the bunker of panic," the poet "lies a hostage," when he watches on the TV, “the bombs dropping, leaving/ trails as some planets do;/ the tanks striding/ like giants in the Arabian Nights;/ and the spray of the bullets” that remind him of “the urchins at play”.30 Are these war-mongers urchins? The poet gives answer in his long philosophic poem "Man is Ever a Child." He concludes in that poem that “It is man`s fate/ to chase pleasures/ as do toddlers”. 31

The poet believes that democratic setups would avoid the recurrences of these



8…stephen gill & ojibways…



atrocities. In “Seeds of Democracy” he envisions the true form of democracy:



The seed of democracy

sprouts in the open air

of that soil

which is freely watered

by freedom of expression

and where tongue of serpent

does not throw poison of fear

to fertilize the land

for the thorns of repression

to grow.32



The poet points out the true essence of democracy in "My Beliefs". In this poem he envisions the ideals of democracy that the great souls of all times have:



I do not believe/ in suppressing the truth/ nor using arms/ to settle disputes.

I do not believe/ in the right of might/nor in shedding blood/ to promote a creed.

I rather believe/ famine is man-made/ and sunshine a child of peace.

I believe/ justice is for all/ and God cares for every one.33



Conscientious citizens always struggle to bring in a dawn of true democracy. In India, Mahatma Gandhi who worked to usher in a true democracy, says, "A true democracy is what promotes the welfare of the people. The test of good government lies in the largest good of the people with the minimum control…In a system that admits poverty and unemployment is not fit to survive for a day"34 Another important living icon of democracy is Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma. She says, "A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear." 35 This true form of democracy that these great minds of today envision is envisioned by Dr. Stephen Gill in his poetry as well as in his prose.

Once in a while the pristine spirit for harmony that builds true democracy tears the blankets of lies in which the evildoers wrap her, emerging as a sun in a new dawn of hope. In India, the pristine spirit that emerged in Mahatma Gandhi awakened the slumberous spirit of the many, which in the end brought the British Empire down. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, the sages of our times, activated the human consciousness to purge out the prejudices that divide humanity. The poet takes a cue from them to say:



Snuff out the blazes

ignited by greed,

cast off the hostile arms

beyond human bounds.

Let not our infants

9…stephen gill & ojibways…



inherit savagery from us;

it turns hearts into solid rocks.36



The human spirit that is reawakening in man aspires to give up the addiction to war

and live for peace; and then, bequeath the peaceful and joyous world to the coming generations. The poet implores God in "These Children" :



Let these angels advance

to the port of the vision of peace.

They are

in your image.

God,

Keep these innocent souls

Under the softness of your feathers.37



Although Stephen Gill’s poems appear to be direct and simple, they "are capsuled feelings and meanings, gross stripped experience speaking for itself in an era of similar

experiences, but unique in the personality and expression of their author."38 Dr. R.K. Singh and Matili Sarkar point out that Stephen Gill, "convey his message by instilling a sense of mortal fear and by extending a sense of desperation into the sympathetic minds of his readers with the help of strong words and phrases of arresting alliteration and assonance. The expressions "murky marshes", "ruthless locusts", "fetters ... cranking`, "vomit violence", "ghosts of sorrow", "gloom of violence", "dust of despicable horror", "self-surrounding cells of egoism`, "spiteful robots", suffocative islands" etc. reveal a picture of devitalised society in the darkness of which the poet is jaded and lost."39 In the fresh tapestry of Stephen Gill`s poetry "tender images are carefully carved." His poetry “speaks of love, a universal phenomenon,”40 says Gotta Write Network. “He is a “torch-bearer for humanity at its artistic best,"41 says Love Song.

No matter what Stephen Gill says and how he says, there is a notable strain of consistency about his ideology of peace, his passion and commitment, as well as poetic beauty and grace that illuminates incomparably in the galaxy of the muse. Poet Gill throws some light on his uniqueness during his interview with Professor Dr. Sarang when he says “My poetry is the psalm of my soul. A poet is also a priest who through the mantra of poetry reaches the god within."42 Patricia Prime, a prominent critic of Indian English Literature strongly believes that from the point of "Gill`s gift of language, the immediacy of his wit and word-play combined with a command of imagery which not only captures his readers in a freeze-frame, but hustles them through time and space to another dimension, places him in the forefront of contemporary Indian poets writing in English."43 Maryanne Raphael says that Stephen Gill`s "magic pen creates a unique metaphor raising his poetry above the common crowd,” adding that Stephen Gill “has great faith in love.”44

As Stephen Gill believes, the obsession of the religious fanatics and unscrupulous politicians is to exploit the external passions of man for more power and domination, or



10…stephen gill & ojibways…



for the glory of their religion or nation, sullying the very essence of the pristine spirit that abides in humans. Probing the hearts of the politicians, he sees peace and love that they preach is nothing but tissues of lies. "A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say to war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalan, of filling our nation`s home with orphans and windows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on progress of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."45

In “A Familiar Scene”, the poet deliberates:



It is familiar scene

from Bangladesh

at the time of freedom;

or a place in middle-east,

Bosnia, Rwanda,

Somalia or Lebanon.

………..

It is repetition of the lust

or to eliminate minorities

of different beliefs46



It often happens that the powerful forces of the demagoguery deluge the voice that comes from the inner conscience from moral abiding citizens. The most powerful dominate all the outlets of the media, rendering righteous voices ineffective, or lure them into the foul cesspool of their thinking. The poet in, "Adders of Today" lays bare the demagoguery of the corrupt: "Words are/fire/storm/sword/and wound/Light/flower/boon/ and guide Crooks/ turn them into/dreadful/disdainful/rotten/ and distasteful/to breed/destruction/ greed/and confusion/-the adders of today 47

The poet`s prismatic spirit aspires that human beings should give up the addiction to war and live for peace; and then, bequeath the peaceful and joyous world to the future. For that the poet implores to God in his poem, "These Children":



Far from evil

And greed

Let them grow

As soldiers of peace.

In your image

they are,

God

Bless these angels48



Since the spirit is present in all human beings, and since we are children of one

11…stephen gill & ojibways…



God, the poetic soul of Gill sees the futility of wars. His soul yearns to inspire mankind to relinquish warmongering, and work to bring in the joy of peace. But the ideal of peace is nay impossible without spiritual growth. As one of his critics, Dr. Frank Tierney notes,

"But there is in Tennyson`s poem and Mr. Gill`s volume a hierarchy of values. The first and most important is, as John Henry Newman insisted, "growth with in" This growth requires spiritual priority. This principle leads man to personal, national and international

harmony through and understanding that comes from love."49



Gill`s poetry conveys, as noted by Dr. Frank Tierney, that man should `grow with in` to stop massacres. Rochelle L. Holt, Ph.D., a prominent poet and critic from the United states, also has the same opinion when she says that Stephen Gill’s poetry reveal the “special theme of love and peace.” She ends her articles adding:



Thus, the poet tells us through his work that we are beyond brotherhood and sisterhood as we achieve the forgotten meaning of neighbourhood, not isolated and separate but one large melting pot where we all appreciate our uniqueness while affirming our similarities…. This is not simple thinking, certainly not simple writing. Perhaps when we all cease to identify ourselves as any one more than humans, we will have reached that plateau known as peace.50



Stephens Gill`s poetry is the language of harmony, the heritage of the Ojibway people who live also around the Seaway Valley area where Stephen Gill also lives. Because his poems stream from his soul, he can recognize the spiritual void created by greed. Through his poems, the poet inspires readers to fill in that void with love. This is what the Ojibways of Canada asks the Sacred one to teach love and compassion.”51 Because he is aware that love promotes `growth with in`, because he is aware love dispels dark clouds leading humans to the `inner vision`, because he is aware love activates `a revolution of the spirit` and because love sets free from the `prisons of fears`, he wants humans to leap beyond hatred and prejudices. He also wants to heal the world, and bequeath the world of his vision of harmony to the posterity.

In one of the hymns of the Ojibways, titled “Grandfather Story, this harmony has been broken. It asks Grandfather, look at our brokenness. We know that in all creators

only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way. We know that we are the only

who are divided ….”

The Ojibway nation throws entire responsibility on humans for tearing apart harmony. They laments that humans “are the only/Who are divided.”

Stephen Gill talks about this division in his own way:



It is not the beast

of the divided atoms;

it is the blinding dust

of divided humanity

that eats the bones of peace”52





12…stephen gill & ojibways…



He laments that “Beyond those solitary church towers/ I see the sun of harmony sinking/ in the cave of despair…” In the same poem, he despairs



A biting chill of sadness

whispers in the twilight that

life will not be the same

because the night of terror

chews peace

In the jaws of endless depth

of cultural insanities53



It is due to “cultural insanities” that the poet wishes for “soft drops of harmony” that “shall produce a lullaby/ from the notes of now.”54 He condemns “dusty pride in the march/ of technology and science” that robs man of its happiness. Due to his frustrations, he says, “I wish to seek refuge/ in my own cosy womb/ from pollution and panic”55.

The message in the poetry of Stephen Gill is harmony. This is the message in the mythologies of the Ojibway people. This is also the message of the Government of Canada that promotes multiculturalism actively. In other words, the official policy of the Government of Canada is to create harmony through multiculturalism. Harmony leads to live and let live.

The adorable simplicity of Stephen Gill’s poetry is in the currents of calm beauty in the streams that meander through the meadows of meaningful images. Due to his graceful individual expression and his vastness of thoughts that abound in the land of Gotama and Gandhi, he is distinctively recognizable in the gallery of Canadian and Indian poetry. He weaves those thoughts artistically with the fabrics of Canada for a crop of richness that is needed urgently to nourish the citizens of the global village.





































13…stephen gill & ojibways…





REFERENCES



1 Dickason, Olive Patricia. Introduction to Canada’s First Nation, Oxford University Press, 1997, p.11,

2Harvey, Andrew. The Essential Mystics, Castle Books, New Jersey, 1998, p.20

3Gill, Stephen. Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p.51

4Gill, Stephen. Songs Before Shrine, Marquess College of London Press, 2006, p.49

5 Dewdny, Selwyn ed. Legends of My People, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1965, ISBN: 0-07-077714-4, p.15

6________________________Legends of My People, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1965, ISBN: 0-07-077714-4, p.16

7Gill, Stephen. Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, p. 34

8____________________” Garden of Eden,” Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999,p.36

9___________________, The World University Press, USA, 1999, p. 85

10__________. Songs For Harmony, “If There Be Third World War,” Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p. 23



11___________, “Development of Internationalism in Universities,” Cyber Literature (India), V. V1. 11 Dec. 2000, pages 58- 62

12.____________, Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, p.33

13Online story about creation of the universe

14Gill, Stephen. “The Meechlake Fish,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p.46).

15,Gill, Stephen. “Song of a New Canadian”, The Dove of Peace, MAF Press, USA, 1993,

pages 27-28

16Gill, Stephen. Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, pages14-15

17____________Songs Before Shrine, ”My Poetry and Me,” Marquess College of London Press, 2006, p.15

18_____________.Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, p. 18

19Dyer, Dr. Wayne W. Inspiration, Hay House, USA, Fb. 2006, p. 125

20Gill, Stephen. “Development of Internationalism in Universities,” Cyber Literature (India), V. V1. 11 Dec. 2000, pages 58- 62

21Gill, Stephen. Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, page139

22 Carson, clayborne, Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Warner Books, NY., p. 341

23Gill, Stephen., “Divided Humanity,” Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, page 83

24Gill, Stephen. “I Am Still A Man,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p. 35

25________________. “I Am Still A Man,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p. 35

26Gill, Stephen. “Talking of Peace”, Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, pp 46-47

27_________.”A Fimiliar Scene,” Shrine,The World University Press, USA,1999, p.71

28Gill, Stephen. “Adders of Today,” Divergent Shades, Writers Forum,India, p. 31.





14…stephen gill & ojibways…



29,Gill, Stephen. “To Mar-Mongers,” The Dove of Peace, MAF Press, USA, 1993, p.21

30Gill, Stephen. “Hostage,” Shrine, The World University Press, USA,1999, p. 52

31_____________. “Man is Ever a Child,” The Dove of Peace, MAF Press, USA, 1993, p. 42

32____________. , “Seeds of Democracy”, Shrine, The World University Press, USA,1999, p.61

33____________. , “My Beliefs,” Shrine, The World University Press, USA,1999, p. 157

34Wolpert, Stanley. Gandhi’s Passion- Life & Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Oxford Press, NY, December 30, 1947, 1990, p 325

35htt://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Aung_San_Suu_Kyi

36Gill, Stephen. “Let Us Build Bridges,” The Dove of Peace, MAF Press, USA, 1993 pp 22,23

37Gill, Stephen. “These Children,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, P. 29

38Pollard, Prof.Dr. Richard, says in introduction to Reflections & Wounds,, Vesta Publications Ltd., 1978

39Singh, R.K. Dr. and Sarkar, Mitali De, “A Search for Elysium,” The Mawaheb International (Canada), June 1998

40Feischer, Denise Ed., Gotta Write Network (USA),Winter, 1991.

41Love Song, Virginia, Poetcritic (India), July 1997, pages 61-63

42Sarangi, Dr. Prof. Sarangi, “Interview with Stephen Gill,” The Atlantic Literary Review, July-Sept. & Oct.-Dec. 2004, vol.5, pages 164-183

43Prime, Patricia, “Shrine: Poems of Social Concerns,” Canopy (India), Vol. xv11 39 & 40, pages 35-36, July2000

44Raphel, Maryanne, “Gill’s Poetry Enriches Our Life,” Bridge-in-Making (India) January-April 1998, pages 41-45 .

45King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King. p 340

46Gill, Stephen. “A Fimiliar Scene,” Shrine, The World University Press, USA,1999, p. 71

47Gill, Stephen. “Adders of Today,” Divergent Shades, Writers Forum, India, p.31

48Gill, Stephen. “These Children,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p 29

49Tierney, Prof. Dr. Frank. “Reflections of an Indian Poet,” The Canadian India Times, November 15, 1973

50Holt, Rochelle L. Ph.D. “A Call for Peace,” The Pilot, North Carolina, USA, January 20, 1992.

51Harvey, Andrew. The Essential Mystics, Castle Books, New Jersey, 1998, p.20

52Gill, Stephen. “Divided Humanity,” Shrine, The World University Press, USA, 1999, p. 83

53 Gill, Stephen. “Evening of Harmony,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992,p. 48

54_____________. “Nirvana,” Songs For Harmony, Vesta Publications Ltd., Canada, 1992, p.19

55________.“In My Own Womb,” The Dove of Peace, MAF Press, USA, 1993 p.48

========================================

Lino Leitao, a novelist and short story writer, also writes book reviews and critical articles.



Gagan Sethi is the Managing Trustee of Jan Vikas, an NGO in Ahmedabad which has been active in the struggle for justice for the victims of the 2002 Gujarat genocide. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand he talks about his work.

Q: Jan Vikas is said to have played an important role in the battle for justice for the victims of the Gujarat genocide of 2002. What has been the nature of this work?

A: We have taken up the issue of POTA detenus, trying to fight for justice of those Muslims who have been unfairly detained under this draconian law. In the wake of the genocide. Jan Vikas’ Centre for Social Justice was asked by the National Human Rights Commission to monitor violation of human rights that took place right across Gujarat, and the Centre became a sort of secretariat for all complaints. We prepared regular reports on human rights violations and provided these to the media, political parties and social activists. We also took up several cases of killings and illegal imprisonment of Muslims, including the well-known Bilquis Bano case, which, tragically, happens to be the only case associated with the Gujarat genocide in which a CBI inquiry has been carried out, such being the large-scale violation of human rights in Gujarat by the state and Hindutva forces.



Q: Jan Vikas is one of the few ‘mainstream’ NGOs in Gujarat working with Muslims. What sort of work are you doing in this regard?

A: Before the genocide, Muslims in Gujarat were a sort of ‘blind area’ as far as most secular NGOs and activist groups were concerned. It was not, as some of us would like to believe, that Muslims were opposed to such groups. In fact, it was largely because of our own failures, our own biases, because most of us treated Muslims as a ‘blind area’. I mean, when we talked about development, equity and so on did we bother to see how many Muslims we had in our own organsations or how many Muslims were benefiting from the different programmes that NGOs were carrying out? When I ask this question to some of my NGO friends, they admit that they have hardly any Muslims working with them, but the excuse they give is that there are very few suitably qualified Muslims. To this excuse my counter question is, ‘If I give you enough qualified Muslims will you be willing to take them?’. Very few, to be frank, would agree, such is the level of anti-Muslim feeling among many Hindus in Gujarat today.

In the wake of the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 we realised that it was essential to engage with key Muslim community institutions, such as ulama groups and

madrasas, because they exercise a powerful influence on many Muslims. So, we began with working along with the Gujarat Sarvajanik Welfare Trust, which is associated with the Tablighi Jamaat, the Deobandi Jamiat ul–Ulama-i Hind and local Muslim NGOs, mainly in Ahmedabad and Panchmahals to provide relief, work for rehabilitation and fight for legal justice for the victims of the genocide.

Through the Udaan resource centre that we set up recently we have also begun working with some 18 maktabs in Kutch, in northern Gujarat, and we plan to expand this to include 25 maktabs soon. All these maktabs are run by the Jamiat ul-Ulama-i Hind. Some of them are located in places where there are no government schools. In consultation with the Jamiat ul-‘Ulama we have appointed one teacher in each of these maktabs after providing them with some training. Three of these teachers are trained ‘ulama. Our teachers teach basic science, mathematics and Gujarati, and we plan to hold regular training programmes for them. These teachers also try and get admission for the maktab students in government schools after they finish their basic religious studies. We are also trying to get some ‘ulama in Kutch to work as Unani medical practitioners along with local health workers. In addition, we are helping with the school for poor and orphaned children that the Jamiat ul-Ulama-i Hind has set up in Anjar, Kutch.

In the Panchmahals district we have worked with local Muslim organisations for relief and resettlement in Halol and Kalol. We have also set up nineteen Gyanshala schools, several of which are located in villages with a considerable Muslim presence. These are non-formal education centres and provide education till the third grade. Muslims, Hindus and Dalits attend these schools together, so this provides a crucial means for inter-community interaction. Several of these schools have been set up in Muslim localities. We also organise support classes in villages for students who have dropped out of school, many of them Muslims.

We are also informally trying to help promote a new sort of Muslim leadership. In recent years, and this has been accelerated after the genocide, Muslims in Gujarat are setting up their own small community welfare organisations and groups. We are trying to support some of these efforts, trying to link them up with non-Muslim groups as well. We do not find the Islamic religious groups we have worked with, the Jamiat ul-‘Ulama and the Tablighi Jamaat, a barrier in this sort of work, I must stress. They have been very open to working with us for common goals, including for communal harmony.

Q: In the aftermath of the genocide do you see any transformation in the attitude of Gujarati Muslim community organisations towards education?

A: Most certainly, and now even conservative religious groups like the Jamiat ul-‘Ulama-I Hind and the Tablighi Jamaat in Gujarat are setting up modern educational institutions. Sometimes, however, not enough thinking and planning goes into these well-meaning efforts. It is still very difficult to find enough educated Muslim women who can teach in schools. Also, there is a tendency to think in terms of establishing large colleges, with fancy buildings, rather than focussing on elementary education. Thus, for instance, the other day a Muslim organisation approached me saying that they want to establish a B.Ed. College, but I told them to use the money that they had collected on programmes for training Muslim women para-teachers instead or for setting up good primary schools in Muslim localities.

But, yes, I would say that after the genocide there has been a vast transformation in the Gujarati Muslim psyche. Even conservative ‘ulama groups have realised the need for modern education if Muslims are to be able to survive and struggle for their rights and lead a life of dignity. So that’s why now in Gujarat even the maulvis are asking that at least some modern education should be imparted in the maktabs. I would say that many maulvis are indeed enthusiastic about modern education as well. It is wrong to imagine, as many of us do, that they are all vehemently opposed to change. You only need to approach them with sensitivity and respect.

And it is not only as far as education that this change is visible. Take the question of women. Groups like the Jamiat ul-Ulama are said to follow very strict rules regarding women. But we found them quite flexible when we started working with them. We worked with the Jamiat ul-Ulama to establish housing cooperatives for Muslims whose houses had been destroyed in the violence, and we insisted that the ownership of the houses should be in the name of both the husband and the wife, not just the husband. For the Jamiat officials we were working with this was something novel, but they later agreed. And now, just a few months ago, when we heard that in Modassa, in the Sabarkantha district, 70 Muslim families, displaced from their homes, were forced to live on the roads, we rang up the Jamiat to discuss what should be done, and the Jamiat officials on their own suggested that we should set up a cooperative society and the houses should be in the names of the women, because women are sometimes unfairly thrown out of their homes by their husbands!

So, my point is that NGOs, activists and others who are genuinely committed to secularism and justice need to work with institutions that command influence and respect within the Muslim community. We cannot afford to ignore them. And, moreover, they are not all the diehard conservatives that they are often made out to be. If you relate to them with respect and concern, not with an aim to preach or condemn, but to work together with them for common purposes, you will find, as we in Jan Vikas have, that they can be quite amenable to this.









“Spirtual Ecumenism and Christians in Pakistan Coping as a Bridge Building Minorty” Lecture by Saba Wallace in Switzerland.

It’s like a tedious journey, to preach tolerance, peace, harmony and love. It’s certainly not easy to bring communities to a point where they talk about similarities and not the differences. The path is hard, people are rigid and resources limited but I’m hopeful enough to dream that our children will see a new sun rising tomorrow. I hope to be tranformed myself and also to help others to transform. I hope for the day when no one will be taken his right to live in the name of religion and faith, when nobody will be denied right to work and live in peace on the bases of colour, creed, race, gender or religion.

I want to address the skeptical, the cynical, and the hopeless – for all who have lost faith in the powers of love…….



I have stumbled, pushed, pulled,

And directed my whole life

Toward the expansion of my divine humanity,

An inner largeness

That keeps spreading my soul before me

And expanding my spirit around me.

Something closed and cold within

Keeps turning me toward the eternal glow of love

Until I melt and overflow

In tears and screams and laughter and roars,

And vitality spins around me like a dance.

I can’t stop now.

I have taken risks

On purpose because I believe in love

And accidentally because I was naïve.

I not only have been burned, I have been consumed

In the fire of hope.

But after the pain I am always resurrected,

To my amazement, again and again

And again.

Each time I dust off the ashes of experience

I am deeper and richer

And closer to the wonder of who I really am,

And, as the family of humankind,

Who we really are.



. . . Keep the faith



I hope that this sharing clears my reason of being here and presenting this paper. Since my first exposure in Bossey in the year 2001, I’ve been thinking of doing something that can bring change in the ecumenical scene of Pakistan. I left Bossey with a lot of dreams and hopes, but when I got back to my country, I realized that this will not be an easy journey. I promised myself not to lose hope, and now, I’m here to share my views, ideas and some facts regarding my homeland.



v SPIRITUAL ECUMENISM ……….. The term described and understood in Pakistan



Ecumenism is comparatively a new word for most of us in Pakistan. Many people have never even heard the word. In today’s fast moving world, it is important to have knowledge about international issues, concerning human lives and dignity. Ecumenism is one of the issues that have affected our lives in one way or the other since centuries. I hope that today’s discussion will help the participants in broadening their view of the situation of Ecumenism in Pakistan.

I will certainly not go into the details but to keep the continuity of my paper, I would like to explain the word Ecumenism in a few lines. The word Ecumenism is derived from the Greek word Oikoumenes, which means the ‘inhabited world’. The term is usually used with regard to movements toward religious unity. In its most broad meaning therefore, ecumenism is the religious initiative toward world-wide unity. As a minimum, ecumenism is the promotion of unity, cooperation or improved understanding between distinct religious groups or denominations within the same religion more or less broadly defined.

Two general types of ecumenism are discernible. The interfaith ecumenical movement strives for greater mutual respect, tolerance and cooperation between the world’s religions. Ecumenism in this sense is discussed at great under the entry on religious pluralism. This is distinguishable from ecumenism within a faith group.

I would like to quote Walter Cardinal Kasper (PCPCU)here who asserted that “without spirituality, the Ecumenical Movement becomes merely an academic affair, where “ normal” Christians cannot follow, where they feel excluded and finally frustrated; or it becomes a soul-less activism, the business of an endless series of conferences, symposiums, gatherings, meetings and ever new documents, which nobody can read”. So, unity among faith and religious groups is necessary to heal the world’s wounds of suffering.



v Present situation of Christian Minority in Pakistan



Pakistan has a population of around 150 million, 97% of whom are Muslim. Islam is the state religion, but the Constitution provides for religious freedom. About 2% of the population is Christian and rest consists of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist and other small groups.

This is a verified factual and very sad report. It does show that persecution is still the hallmark of true Bible based Christianity.



· November 2004 - Pakistani religious minorities say blasphemy law reforms not enough

· September 2004 - Second Pakistani Christian tortured to death by police in four months

· July 2004 - Pakistani Government drafts bill to revise discriminatory laws

· June 2004 - Pakistani Christian dies – CSW urges supporters to pray and campaign

· May 2004 - Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy in critical condition after attack

· May 2004 - Pakistani Christian dies of torture at hands of Islamists

· December 2003 - Human Rights Defender has travel ban lifted

· July 2003 - Pakistani Priest gunned down

· June 2003 - Pakistani Christian set free after over four years in prison for blasphemy

· May 2003 - Nine year old Christian girl in Pakistan sexually assaulted as punishment for war in Iraq

· May 2003 - Another Christian child raped in Pakistan

· April 2003 - Pakistani Christian found guilty of blasphemy after trial in court filed with Islamic extremists

· April 2003 - Pakistani Christian – falsely accused, tortured and murdered. Protestors take his dead body to the streets in protest

· March 2003 - Saleem and Rasheed Masih of Pakistan released

· March 2003 - Extremists incite violence against Christians at Anti-War Rallies in Pakistan

· September 2002 - Christian human rights workers executed during attack in Pakistan

· September 2002 - Prominent Pakistani Christian warns of “Reign of Terror” for Christians if Iraq attacked by America

· August 2002 - Supreme Court acquitted Ayub Masih

· August 2002 - Four nurses killed in grenade attack on Christian Hospital in Pakistan



There are many incidents of brutality brought on Christians by Muslim Extremist Groups. The Christian villages, churches, houses and even graveyards are demolished. Whenever the effectees approach the authorities, they show insensitivity towards the Christians. Mentioned below are some of the names, which have become the target of Muslim attackers.



1. Village Mattha, District Lahore

2. Village Bath, District Lahore

3. Village Jindre, District Lahore

4. Village China Basti, District Lahore

5. Village Dhobi Serai, District Lahore

6. Village Ahata Thanedar, District Lahore

7. Village Raiwind, District Lahore

8. Village Martinpur, District Sheikhupura

9. Village Youngsonabad, District Sheikhupura

10. Village 113, Sangla, District Sheikhupura

11. Village Sacha Sauda, District Sheikhupura

12. Village Singhra, District Sheikhupura

13. Village Qila Diar Singla, District Gujranwala

14. Village Khan Jaja, District Sialkot

15. Village Fauji Quarters, Peshawar

16. Village Dogaich, District Lahore

17. Village Shanti Nagar, District Khanewal



(In preparing this report, help has been taken from the yearly reports of National Commission for Justice & Peace, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi offices, Pakistan Christian Community Council, Lahore, Pakistan, International Christian Concern (US based Human Rights Organization and Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK.))



Nature of Islam



Islam, like most other monotheistic faiths, views itself as the only true path or way. For someone who is living after Prophet Muhammad, the only way to go to Paradise, and avoid Hell, is to follow the message of Islam. Other monotheistic faiths before Islam are also considered valid. For someone to worship other Gods (contradicting monotheism), or denying prophet hood of Muhammad is a sure way to Hell.



However, this view does not at all translate to religious intolerance. Far from it, Islam has guaranteed freedom of belief and freedom of worship from the time of Muhammad himself. Non-Muslim minorities living under Muslim rule were guaranteed certain freedoms and protections, under the Dhimmi system. Although that system was initially for people of the book (i.e., Jews and Christians), it was extended to include Mandeans, Zoroastrians and Hindus.



Despite the common allegation that Islam spread by the sword, in reality, forced conversions of adherents of other religions is not sanctioned by Islam, and is not common throughout Islamic history. It is true that Muslim rule spread through conquest, but that is the military and political aspect only, and not the religious one. In other words, war was waged to put lands under Muslim rule, but the subjects were free to continue practice whatever religion they chose. However, they were subject to taxation and political and economic impediments based on their non-Muslim status. At one time, this was not a unique activity of Muslim countries, as similar legal restrictions and penalties were imposed on minority Christian groups within European Christian countries.



Religious persecution is also not sanctioned by Islam, although a few occurrences are known in history, but are mostly due to cruel rulers, or general economic hardships in the societies they are in.



To that effect, most pre-Islamic religious minorities continue to exist in their native countries, a fact which is in glaring contrast to the extinction of Muslim minorities in Europe at the time of the Renaissance.



Over the centuries, several known religious debates, and polemical works did exist in various Muslim countries between various Muslim sects, as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims. Many of these works survive today, and make for some very interesting reading in the apologetics genre. Only when such debates spilled over to the unlearned masses, and thus causing scandals, and civil strife did rulers intervene to restore order and pacify the public outcry on the perceived attack on their beliefs.



As for sects within Islam, history shows a variable pattern. Various sects became intolerant when gaining favour with the rulers, and often work to oppress or eliminate rival sects (e.g. Mu’tazili persecution of Salafis, Safavid imposing Shia on the population of Iran, etc.). Sectarian strife between Shia and Sunni inhabitants of Baghdad is well known through history. In contrast, several sects coexist in other parts of the Muslim world with little or no friction.



Relationship between Christians, Muslims and Jews



Theological Basis – an overview



The Jewish people see themselves as descendants of Abraham, the father of flesh and of faith; Christian people see themselves as heirs of Abraham, the father of faith; and Muslim people see themselves as descendents of Abraham as well. The Hebrew Scriptures see Isaac and Ishmael as brothers, as well as Jacob and Esau. The Christian Scriptures see the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles already reflected in the story of Hagar and Sarah, as well as in the bond that unites Moses and Jesus. Now, in this scenario, we see the bond that unites Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Christians, Muslims and Jews are brothers and sisters, are descendents of Abraham; all believe that God is one; all see Abraham as prototype of faith. This is the basis for the new ecumenism.



How Ecumenical Spirituality can be helpful in the present scenario

Pathways for the Church in Pakistan



Christian praxis includes both action and reflection. Taking time to pause for reflection and evaluation is an essential element in any ecclesial journey. The entire more so if a Church and the culture which surrounds it tend towards activism. By the same token, open-minded planning is an essential element in receptivity to the designs of providence. There are several indicators that the Church in Pakistan has reached that stage in its development where an overview and evaluation of the present situation is a necessary step in planning future priorities. Under God's grace it has much to rejoice in - although naturally, one of the things it would also wish to rejoice in is a willingness to be challenged to new initiatives, priorities and values. There have been several developments - mostly, though not always of a positive nature - which demand our attention and evaluation. Worthy of mention is the renewal of interest in and commitment to various forms of adult catechesis as well as the growing awareness that more appropriate methods need to be found for the disbursement and evaluation of development aid. These events are first and foremost an invitation to dialogue and further reflection. The Second Millennium of the Incarnation - to be celebrated in the universal Church as a Year of Jubilee - invites a similar reflection: a taking stock; an act of repentance and hope; an opening of our collective mind and heart to the action of the Holy Spirit. Part of this repentance and openness is an intellectual conversion aimed at freeing our minds from inadequate or false assumptions, predispositions and priorities; and part of this intellectual conversion is the willingness to evaluate the status quo. Over the previous generations much has been achieved; or to rise above the language of success and failure, we can say that God has been faithful to his people here in Pakistan and the question may now be posed as to how we - in the on-going journey - may be faithful to God.

We may begin by attempting a first approximation at delineating some of the more obvious characteristics of the life of the Church here. Since the Church is a community which at one and the same time rejoices in the living presence of the Spirit of God and is permanently open to reform and renewal, we will attempt to describe both the "light" and the "shadow"; the positive and the negative. The willingness to do both together is an act of mature self-acceptance; neither evading reality nor manipulating it. Our readiness to deal in reality is an aspect of our rooted ness in God who is Al-haq!



A) Strengths:



The Church which under God's grace, has come into being here in Pakistan has many fine qualities and strengths, which can be helpful in creating an ecumenical secne and thus resulting in a united community, consisting of people of other faiths as well:







i. It continues to exist and grow in a non-Christian and non-supportive environment



ii. It is very much a Church of the poor, God's chosen ones



iii. It is engaged in an on-going and far-reaching practical ecumenism



iv. It is a Church with a profound religious sensibility



v. There is a growth in local vocations to ministry



vi. At all levels it is socially involved; both "religiously" and "developmentally"



vii. It has a highly developed organizational infrastructure



viii. Among the People of God there is a tangible love for "The Word"



ix. The Church membership has retained a strong cultural identity. The Church in Pakistan is very much a Pakistani Church.



x. The communities have a very strong identity as "Christians"



xi. Among Pakistani Christians there is a very solid sense of family and kinship.



xii. There is a strong devotional life with many indigenous resources; songs, pilgrimages, Marian meals etc.



This is the light; if there is light there is also a shadow!





B) Shortcomings:



i. At nearly all levels, the Christian community can be easily divided by the factionalism (partibazi) which characterizes social relations and by the consequences of other internalized oppression



ii. It is a Church massively reliant on foreign money



iii. It is constantly under threat externally and internally from fundamentalism and sectarianism



iv. The Liturgy has been translated but not acculturated



v. There is an impoverished Eucharistic sense



vi. A dependency mentality is still very strong



vii. Politically, psychologically and even physically it tends to be ghettoized



viii. The culture is consolidated but seldom critiqued by ecclesial praxis and therefore not sufficiently enriched by faith

ix. In general terms, the leadership remains authoritarian or paternalistic, reinforcing the dominant socio-political pattern rather than offering an evangelical alternative to it



x. The dignity and role of women are scarcely recognized



xi. There is little or no missionary outreach



xii. It mirrors the society in that personal freedom and responsibility are not really valued above conformity.





C) Creative Tension



Because of the constant dynamic interchange between these sometimes complementary and sometimes divergent currents there are several points of creative tension in the life of the Church. Christian hope invites us to see these as points of creativity, inventiveness and growth: a call to transform, to become, in a more profound way, the community which is the sign of God's universal salvation in this present historical moment of the journey to freedom of the people of Pakistan as a whole.

For the purposes of facilitating further development of these ideas, I would now like to juxtapose these attributes each with its light and shadow. What can emerge is a matrix of creative tension which can be the springboard for a programme of renewal.



a) Culture: Functionalities and Dysfunctionalities:

The Church will continue to exist and grow - mostly through the natural growth in the existing Christian population - which for demographic reasons is quite considerable. In its mentality and actions however, it is a microcosm of the surrounding culture with all the latter's vigour and vitality, as well as its dysfunctionalities. Our capacity to name the latter in an exercise of socio-cultural analysis needs to be matched by a capacity to observe how the Christian community tends to internalise them. (Socio-cutlural analysis can be difficult and demanding. The clearest indication of the strength and success of the socialisation process is how few people are capable of critiquing it. This holds true for just about every culture. It is an irony that people can be immensely proud of their culture - and justifiably so - and at the same time keenly aware of the injustice and violence in their society; and yet fail to see the connections between the two. For poverty, injustice and oppression persist not only because of the socio-economic structures which perpetuate them but also - and of equal importance - because of the cultural patterns which legitimate and transmit them. The inculturation of the Gospel includes the process of discovering in a given culture, the seedbed for a new and dynamic expression of the Christian faith; but equally, since all cultures institutionalise and legitimate a power structure, it includes the process of critiquing and transforming aspects of that culture in the light of ethical imperatives revealed in the living out of the Gospel). Because of the very particular history of socio-political oppression and marginalisation of our people, the internalisation of this oppression can give rise to pathologies with a consequent propensity towards horizontal violence that can run deep. The cultural reinforcement of these patterns can give rise to a form of oppression which in its own way is just as life-denying as the consequences of feudalism or militarism. At the same time this realisation needs to be tempered by taking cognisance of the fact that in the struggle against long-standing oppression, people in general adapt the only survival techniques available to them and that in turn, consolidates their attachment to them.



b) Transformation or Dependency:

By and large our Church is blessed through being rooted in the life of the poor and oppressed, and their struggle for dignity and equality and the transformation of society to which this points. The fundamentally feudal nature of society however - intensified by the authoritarianism of successive military dictatorships - as well as the internal colonialism in the wider society have tended to divert this transformative potential into an ever greater reliance on paternalism; and from an institutional point of view, on donations of foreign money. Although on the surface, the manner in which this is organised becomes ever more sophisticated and less crudely a matter of person-to-person handouts, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that the basic pattern of dependency has in fact been consolidated. This has resulted in even less readiness to go down the road of self-reliance and transformative action.

In speaking of a Church of the poor, we should not overlook the fact that relative material prosperity among some sections of the Christian population is producing a class division within the Church itself. To the extent that the ostracising of groups like the families of sanitary workers by the wider society is mirrored - and therefore intensified - by a similar attitude among upwardly mobile Christians, serious questions may have to be asked about the hidden presuppositions in much of the Church's developmental programmes.



c) Fundamentalism or Contextualisation:

Great honour is given to the Bible and compared to many older and more developed Churches in other countries, there is real familiarity with its text and message. There is a richness here which cannot be overlooked. In fact it cries out to be contextualised and deepened. The singing of the Psalms in Punjabi is a very distinctive and enriching feature of church life here. Yet this esteem for Sacred Scripture could be undermining of a real sense of Church inasmuch as it is conceived in rather Islamic terms: there is an unspoken assumption (a false one) that the Bible functions in Church life and theology as the Quran sherif does in Islam. This leads to and is further exacerbated by the prevalence of a literalist and fundamentalist reading and preaching of the text. As a result, all sorts of self-appointed preachers abound, each offering a more exotic explanation and application of the text. Rivalries increase and with them, factionalism. There seems little sustained effort to promote a communitarian reading of Scripture, contextualised on the one hand, by the living tradition of the People of God and on the other, by the concrete struggle for justice and dignity which is the daily bread of our people.

Although at the level of the people's ordinary life especially in the area of marriage, there is a healthy practical ecumenism, there remains a serious doubt as to whether this is leading to an enriching cross-fertilisation among the different ecclesial communions. Rather, because of the overall fundamentalist approach to Scripture and the multiplication of sects, it may well be leading to a dilution of the ecclesial and sacramental sense. The result, instead of being a sharing of the highest common factor, may well be a reduction to the lowest common denominator. Moreover, the signs are that this underlying emphasis on "the book" - to be read privately at home - may have seriously diluted the perceived importance of gathering precisely as "Church". What in principle is an enrichment, may have become in practice an impoverishment of parish and ecclesial life.



d) Religiosity of Faith:

Anyone who has lived in a secularised society is immediately struck by the deep religious feeling in our society as a whole and also among our own people. This sense of the presence of God is not something to be simply taken for granted but constantly purified and enriched through spirituality. Yet as for example, the blasphemy laws indicate, strong religious feeling can be ethically ambiguous. It is not necessarily a measure of the faith that does justice and exercises itself in compassion and spirituality. In his own time, Jesus was not so much promoting religion in the face of irreligion, but purifying a religion caught up with the maintenance of oppressive social and ideological structures; replacing it with one based in spirit and truth, on an outreach to others in an attitude of service, rooted in the universal compassion of God for all his creatures.

In the present situation in Pakistan, the Church should not make the mistake of confusing religiosity with faith. Until the conventions of honouring the name of God in words, customs and buildings is translated into a willingness to reach out to our fellow humans and transcend our own personal and family ambition, society may indeed be religious in a socio-cultural sense, but the Christian concept of a faith expressing itself as love has scarcely taken root.



e)Vocations: Numbers or Quality?

There is a steady increase in vocations to the ministry of Sister and Father; less steady in the case of religious Brothers and perhaps a decline - at least in some Dioceses - in relation to the ministry of catechist. (Padri) Priest both self-appointed and officially nominated, abound. Personnel as such is not a problem. Yet it would appear that searching questions may have to be asked in relation to training, lifestyle and ministerial approach. The traditional type of catechist may well be in the process of becoming outmoded due to - among other factors - a gradual rise in the standard of education among the Christian community. On the other hand, there is unquestionably a need for full-time married lay pastoral workers of high calibre and adequate preparation who would be adequately remunerated.

If there are questions to be asked about the training of catechists, there are even more pressing ones with regard to the training of priests. If the Church continues to depend - as, under present circumstances, it almost certainly will - on a main model of leadership, then the intellectual calibre of the candidates for ordination as well as their spiritual motivation and capacity to acquire pastoral vision and skill, become issues of the utmost importance. While ordinations are increasing, the expectation that the Church could be led and serviced solely by local priests seems a long way from realisation because of an uneven growth in the number of ordinations in the different Dioceses, as well as the relatively significant numbers who continue to leave the ministry for a variety of reasons. Since trends in other countries make the assurance of a supply of presbyters from abroad somewhat problematic - even if that were to remain desirable - the training of suitable local lay people assumes even greater importance.



f) Control or Enablement

Whereas Christians in other countries have often appeared to suffer a deculturation process because of their conversion to Christianity, in Pakistan the local cultural identity has remained very strong. The particularly strong kinship patterns in Pakistani life afford a great sense of identity and security as well as a support system both in times of rejoicing and distress. Yet it may also be true that this incomparable sense of belonging with its many very positive aspects that should not be undervalued, also makes personal choice and a sense of personal responsibility somewhat problematic.

In various ways, the Church leadership at all levels, can be tempted to go along unquestioningly with these cultural presuppositions for they fit neatly into an authoritarian or paternalistic concept of authority and leadership. This is especially clear in relation to women and younger people. While this may make for simpler administration in the short term, it will not develop a sense of personal commitment and responsible service among the People of God and its leaders in particular.

The dialogue between culture and faith is not always a straightforward business. It is neither a case of submitting the indigenous culture to some supposedly classic faith-based culture rooted in a different experience, nor is it a matter of allowing the local cultural imperatives to be the judge of what aspects of the faith may be considered to be acceptable and life-giving. The relationship is much more dialectical and must include in the light of Gospel values, an analysis of the power structure in the local culture and an openness to critique of the cultural values which legitimate it. This process has scarcely begun. Not to begin it risks simply replicating this power structure in the organisation of the Church itself.



g) Accountability or Security:

The Church in Pakistan is marked by a deep and enduring commitment to integral human development. Through provision of land, schools, hospitals, co-operatives, health programmes, youth movements and in countless other ways, the Church has reached out to the whole person in community. It has consistently avoided the alienation inherent in reducing the Gospel to a "purely religious" message and has remained sensitive and committed to the people in their struggle against poverty and exclusion.

The particular way this commitment continues to be expressed has given rise to a massive physical infrastructure so heavily dependent on external funding, that even when the resources are fully in place, their maintenance alone is beyond the financial scope of the Local Church - and if present policies are continued, will always remain so. There are huge implications here for the kind of Church we may wish to become and they have to be recognized and faced. Moreover there seems to be little accountability or evaluation either of the use of funds or even of the desirability or otherwise, of many of the projects for which they are obtained. It may well be that dealing with this state of affairs is the single biggest challenge facing the Catholic and as well as Presbyterian Church in Pakistan at the present time.

There is the distinct but related question of examining Church-run institutions to see whom they serve and who benefits from them. It is by no means obvious that providing resources for the privileged will result in justice for the poor. At another level, the history of the Church in other countries shows that the progressive institutionalisation of Church personnel because of a greater and greater preoccupation with the maintenance of buildings and financial systems, has a disastrous effect on the linkage of Church ministers with the struggles of ordinary people. The result can often be an institutionalised Church existing for its own functionaries, leaving the people to find their own way in either popular devotionalism or various strands of fundamentalism.

Because of this over-involvement in institutions and the preoccupation of the leadership with financial matters, catechetics and liturgy always take second place to "development". An adult catechesis is not developed; liturgy is not inculturated; the celebration of the sacraments becomes minimalistic and perfunctory. The result can be a church of brick and cement but not of believing, worshipping people.



h) Ghettoisation or Witness:

Unquestionably, Christians in Pakistan are a marginalised minority. While it might be an exaggeration to say that they are a persecuted minority, it is nonetheless true that in a variety of ways, their rights are scarcely respected. Indeed as the events of Shantinagar and Khanewal indicate, and before that the murder of Manzoor Masih, they are in a real sense, under threat: tolerated by but scarcely integrated into society. On the other hand, the question that arises for the Church and in a particular way, for the Church leadership, is what kind of minority it wishes to be.

There is great evangelical potential in being a minority for developing a strong sense of identity and of differentiation from the surrounding society and its values system - leading in turn to a ministry of witness. On the other hand, there is the temptation to further consolidate the sense of ghettoisation that already exists. The separate electorate introduced during the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, is a case in point. Very quickly certain power groups saw how their vested interests could be promoted by collaborating with something that was introduced as an instrument of marginalisation and disenfranchisement. After a number of years the question arises as to; in what way if any, Christian politicians are different from their counterparts in society at large. If the emerging process is one of clientalism, opportunism and dependency - all conducted on the basis of chai-pani (hosting parties)- the very mirror image of the dysfunctional politics in the society at large, then in what way is it a leaven in the mass or a sign of an alternative society? Some will argue that things simply cannot be otherwise but if that is the case, then what is to be gained from simply going along with something so fundamentally flawed?

The very successful campaign on the issue of the religious clause in the identity card when the proposed sectarian legislation was defeated by grassroots action, illustrates the tremendous potential for identity and self-respect that lies in peaceful and dignified campaigning for what most people of goodwill immediately recognise as just and fair. Could not the same be true for such issues as return of schools, the teaching of Christian doctrine to Christian children in Christian schools, an integrated electorate, repeal of offensive laws such as Hadood and blasphemy ordinances?



i) GROWTH OR STAGNATION:

There is great potential in our Church. Three areas in particular are worth mentioning

(i) the ministry of women;

(ii) the development of a spirit of prayer, especially contemplative prayer and

(iii) outreach to people of other religions.

In areas such as participation in the Eucharist and in different kinds of groups as well as the religious education of children and vocations to the religious life, the strong Christian commitment of women is clearly evident. Moreover there is growing evidence of a tacit or implicit openness to the person of Jesus and the beauty of the vision of life he proposes, among educated women of the majority community. Given these and many other factors - among them basic justice and common sense - it has become strictly necessary to involve women in the process of thinking out new models of women's ministry in the Church.

While prayer is hugely important in peoples' lives, many think of it as a process of constructing ever longer and longer recitations replete with high-sounding clichés. Many of our Church ministers seem to be copying this practice as if "by their many words they may be heard" (Mt 6:7). There seems little evidence of actually teaching people how to pray; teaching them the value of silent communion with God.

The Church leadership seems to forget that in the Sufi tradition - which communicated the Islamic faith to the majority community - the emphasis was on interiorised religious experience.

The love people have for their faith barely translates into any effort to communicate the joy of this faith to others whether non-Christians or lapsed Christians. The Church does not exist for itself but for the sake of its mission. Theologically, mission - rooted in the Trinitarian life - is the prior reality. Remaining closed to mission and turning in on oneself leads to stagnation and selfishness. Even in the outreach to the Katchi Kohlis, Parkari Kohlis and Marwari-Bhils, the on-going long-term commitment of local Church personnel is all too rare - although there are some edifying examples. Local Church personnel who get involved in this work rarely receive the encouragement they deserve and need and are sometimes accused of abandoning "their own".



RENEWAL AND ADVANCE:

The truly great achievements of the past and present can launch us forward in hope. Building on the resourcefulness and vitality of the present, the challenges to be faced can be confronted with a sense of anticipation and adventure. In particular, attention will need to be paid to the following areas of Church life.

i. Education for personal and social transformation.

ii. Building structures of growing self-reliance.

iii. Teaching the Bible in its ecclesial and social transformational context.

iv. Clearly communicating that membership of the Church is not only a means of receiving but an opportunity to serve and develop a spirituality of willing service.

v. Recruiting and training of full-time lay pastoral workers with a higher standard of education, a more clearly defined pastoral and para-liturgical role and an adequate system of support.

vi. Putting the dialogue between faith and culture onto the theological agenda both in houses of theological formation and in the pastoral deliberations of the Church leadership.

vii. Devoting resources in a serious way to adult pastoral workers.

ix. Evaluating institutions and works primarily on the basis of how they serve the poor.

x. Setting realistic goals re. dependence on foreign money and growing financial self-sufficiency.

xi. Developing the ministry of women.

xii. Building on and enriching the sense of prayer in the community through teaching people deeper ways to pray, opening houses of prayer and becoming a recognisably praying community.

xiii. Missionary outreach - different to proselytism - to lapsed Christians and peoples of other faiths.

I would like here to mention the work of justice, the various campaigns for human rights often conducted in liaison with progressive groups among the majority community; and in particular, the efforts to organise and empower the sanitary workers. This is by no means an exhaustive list. A very necessary task for the work of renewal is to list these initiatives in a more complete way; to outline their approaches and to evaluate their potential for renewal. Taken in concert they may well represent the voice of the Holy Spirit for the future of our Church).



CONCLUDING REMARKS:

These are my views, based on some facts, but still the views of one person. Though necessarily limited in perspective and scope, they are the fruit of involvement, initiative, observation and dialogue; as well as much trial and error. By the nature of the case they are partial and open to critique and amplification. They are presented to facilitate discussion; in the form of an invitation to move towards a degree of consensus as to where we are and how we should like to move forward. Nothing remains the same and all things change; to refuse to move forward is to stagnate. But that moving forward has to be thoughtful, purposeful and spirit-filled.





The Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland

July 13, 2005









Shariah Court Campaign in India: Battle for the Muslim Mind

At its eighteenth annual convention last month the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) issued an appeal for Muslims
to settle their personal disputes in shariah courts or dar ul qazas instead of approaching state courts for the purpose. Less than a fortnight later, last week the Jamiat ul-'Ulama-I Hind, an all-India body of Deobandi mullahs, followed suit and passed a resolution at its annual conference in Delhi making a similar demand. It called for Muslim couples to sign what it called a 'covenant' at the time of marriage agreeing that in the event of failure to resolve their marital problems on their own they would authorise shariah courts 'completely [sic.] to decide' on the issue. The decision of these courts would be binding on them. The covenant rules out any possibility of the couple or of one party approaching state courts for redress. 'Even if they [the shariah courts] annul our nikah [marriage]', the covenant makes the couple undertake, 'we will accept their decision and shall not revert to court against it'. In this way, the Jamiat, like the MPLB, is now seeking to bring all Muslims under its ambit, propping itself as an alternate legal authority.

The demand for separate shariah courts for Muslims in India is by no means a new one. For many years now various ulama associations have been demanding that Muslims should seek to have their family matters settled by trained mullahs, instead of by judges in the secular courts. They insist that mullahs are best able to understand and interpret the shariah, including Muslim Personal Law (MPL), suggesting that judges trained in a secular system, particularly if they are non-Muslims, do not have the same qualifications to do so. Indeed, so vociferously opposed are some of them to judges in state courts interpreting MPL that they go so far as to claim that such judges may be in league with 'anti-Islamic' forces to deliberately misinterpret MPL as part of a alleged secret plot to smuggle in a Uniform Civil Code and eventually to absorb the Muslims into the Hindu fold. Advocates of shariah courts claim that their campaign has the support of the entire Muslim community, because, so they argue, this demand is actually mandated by Islam itself. To oppose this, they suggest, is tantamount to opposing Islam, a sin unthinkable by any practising Muslim. Muslims who resist this call may, therefore, expect to be branded as apostates or at least as traitors to the cause of Allah.

Appealing to Muslims to resort to the mullahs, rather than to the courts, to settle their personal disputes is, of course, a means to bolster the sagging prestige of the mullahs. Painfully aware that as modern education spreads increasing numbers of Muslims can dispense with the mullahs to interpret their religion for them, the mullahs face a grave challenge to their authority. What better way, then, to recover it than by insisting that Muslims must accept them as the final arbiters of their destinies and that to refuse to do so is to sin against Islam? To further seal that claim to authority the mullahs can, if further emboldened, even go so far as to declare a social boycott against those who refuse to abide by the decisions of shariah courts, branding them as 'anti-Islamic' and as 'agents' of the 'enemies' of Islam.

The shariah court campaign comes at a time when numerous Indian Muslim women are beginning to mount an effective critique of the mullahs, accusing them of preaching male supremacy in the name of Islam. Islam, these women seem to be arguing, stands for gender equality and justice. In this way, these women fiercely denounce the patriarchal laws that the conservative mullahs seek to pass off in the name of the shariah. Seen in this light, the recent appeals by certain ulama associations for Muslims to set up shariah courts and to abide by their dictates is also a means to silence recalcitrant women, such as those associated with the newly formed Muslim women's personal law boards, who claim that educated Muslims can interpret Islam on their own without the aid of the mullahs. It is also a way to prevent Muslim women from seeking relief from state courts that, as in the Shah Bano case, might provide a more gender-just reading of MPL than what the mullahs are prepared to tolerate.

The support that the mullahs' demand for shariah courts actually enjoys among the Muslim community is debatable. Although many Muslims might back it, significant numbers are critical of it and many Muslims I know denounce it as wholly preposterous. A rough indication of the diverse responses the proposal has met is provided by the flood of mails that I have received in response to an essay I wrote on the subject a week ago.

In his response to my article, a certain Shan Mohammmad, a college student from Delhi, insists that the call for shariah courts is 'fully legitimate' on the grounds that 'Muslims must follow whatever the pious ulama say, because they are the successors of the Prophet Muhammad'. Quoting Syed Abul 'Ala Maududi, founder of the Islamist Jama'at-i Islami, he says, 'Islam divides humanity into two, the "friends of Allah" and the "friends of Satan"'. Islam also warns Muslims not to take non-Muslims for 'close friends or helpers', he claims. Hence, he insists, as far as possible Muslims must not seek to get their cases decided by non-Muslim judges. In line with the Jama'at-i Islami's claim that Islam provides detailed laws for every conceivable aspect of life, he declares, 'Ultimately, Muslims, be they in India or elsewhere, must struggle to have God's laws implemented in their entirety by a global Caliph'. 'Man-made laws have no place in God's scheme of things', he tells me, adding that my opposition to shariah courts is 'entirely misconceived'.

A similar ludicrous response comes from a certain Ghulam Muhammed Siddiqui from Mumbai, whose major occupation seems to be shooting off letters to newspaper editors protesting against every conceivable case of Muslim suffering, real as well as imaginary. His letters are to be found strewn over numerous Islamist sites on the Internet and in various Muslim magazines. Inevitably, they relate the same story: of hapless Muslims being persecuted by ill-willed disbelievers. If Siddiqui is to be believed, non-Muslims seem to have no other aim in life but to busy themselves plotting against Muslims and their faith. It is also as if Muslims are not to blame for any of their own ills, as if there exist no Muslim oppressors or no good non-Muslims of any sort, and as if all Muslims are innocent, badly misunderstood, lambs.

Siddiqui's response to my article is predictable. While defending the mullahs' call for shariah courts, he announces: 'It is time that Indian Muslims should chose between the two virulent anti-Muslim adversaries, the Left-Liberals and the Hindutva extremists, as to who is their Enemy No.1". "With propagandists like Yoginder Sikand raking up and proposing a joint effort between the two anti-Muslim forces", he rants, "Muslims will have to beware of the soothing words of liberals who are now becoming more and more like an improved version of Hindutva in denying Muslims any right to live in India as Muslims". He sees my opposition to shariah courts as reflecting the Left's opposition to religion, claiming that 'Left-Liberals' are particularly opposed to Islam, which allegedly unites them with Hindutva fascists. He ends his vituperative diatribe by threatening that the Muslims' 'reaction' to 'the machinations' of 'Left-Liberals' like me who are opposed to the shariah courts will 'be as decisive as [the] Muslim response to Hindutva'.

As these two responses so well illustrate, Islamist ideologues, like their Hindutva counterparts, inhabit a frighteningly Manichaean world, where pious believers are pitted against plotting enemies in a struggle for global hegemony. Any critique of diehard conservative mullahs or Islamist groups, no matter how well meaning, comes to be construed as a hidden ploy against Islam, even if the critique is not directed against Islam as such, as in the case of my piece on shariah courts. This explains why a certain Sayyed Idris, another vehement critic of my views on shariah courts, goes so far as to denounce me as an 'enemy of Islam' in the guise of a 'do-gooder', although nowhere in my article have I critiqued Islam at all. Judging by his profuse quotations from Maududi, he appears to be another Jama'at-i Islami sympathiser. He is not the first person to bestow me with the 'enemy' label, however. While some Hindutva writers have for long been accusing me of being an 'anti-Hindu pseudo secularist', I have recently earned the 'enemy of Islam' epithet after discovering that Hindutva fascists and Islamist radicals need to be opposed equally consistently. Before that truth dawned on me, my denunciations of Hindutva were regularly published in the Jama'at-i Islami's weekly Radiance, but these stopped completely ever I began speaking out against Islamists and obscurantist mullahs as well. Unlike many other fellow Islamists, Sayyed Idris, I must admit, is generous enough to acknowledge my consistent opposition to Hindutva, in addition to radical Islamists and bigoted mullahs. Yet, in true Islamist fashion, he sees in this yet another 'conspiracy'. 'Your anti-Hindutva and pro-Muslim articles', he tells me, 'are simply a clever ruse to fool gullible Muslims in order to carry on with your anti-Islamic agenda'.

Interestingly, and this has given me some cause to feel cheerful about, more Muslims have written to me to express their support of my article than those who have sought to rubbish it. One of these is a certain Raju Mohammad, an accountant from Chennai, who writes that 'Muslims must focus on bread-and-butter issues instead of non-issues like shariah courts'. The campaign for shariah courts, he warns, 'will only play into the hands of Hindutva fascists, in the same way as reactionary Muslim leaders did in the Shah Bano case that led, finally, to the destruction of the Babri Masjid, the killing of thousands of Muslims and the alarming rise of Hindutva'. He also disagrees with the mullahs on their understanding of shariah. 'Shariah is not a static entity, and the rules of shariah, humanly interpreted in the form of jurisprudence or fiqh, can change over time', he says. However, he laments, most Islamists and mullahs are 'opposed to such change, as that would undermine their own authority'. Accusing them of 'wrongly equating the 'divine shariah' with 'human interpretation', he insists that the demand that Muslims resolve their personal matters in shariah courts, instead of state courts, is 'wholly mischievous'. It would, he claims, only further 'fuel anti-Muslim passions and reinforce the image of Muslims being anti-national and unwilling to live as normal citizens of a secular state'.

Another Muslim who expresses his appreciation of my stand is a certain Ghulam Faruki from New York. 'Since, in all matters other than Personal Law, Muslims have rightly obeyed the laws of the land and accepted government appointed judges', he writes, 'and since the results of this acquiescence have been satisfactory, extension of such a paradigm would be considered a natural next step'. Hence, he says, 'attempts to set up separate courts are bound to be frustrated as well as divisive, and probably retrograde'. "It does appear", he goes on, "that the AIMPLB is out of touch with reality and is unable or unwilling to consider the consequences of its ill-advised pronouncements". He critiques the conservative mullahs of the AIMPLB for what he calls 'their dogmatic orthodoxy' and for misinterpreting Islam, which he describes as, in actual fact, a 'liberating religion'.

Faruki calls for Muslims to seek to understand their religion on their own, denying the mullahs the power that he spies them as hankering after. After all, he argues, 'Islam is supposed to be a religion of common sense, and therefore equally accessible to lay as well as expert interpretations'. 'If common sense is applied to a simple and practical religion such as Islam', he says, 'it diminishes the authority of the scholars and the experts, thereby reducing the chances of someone leading us astray'. Bypassing the hidebound legalism of the mullahs, this 'lay' Islamic theology would, he suggests, 'inspire us to seek equal rights for women, shed the ideology of violence, learn to respect other religions and other Islamic sects, and participate fully in the democratic and national activities of the countries we live in'.

In developing this new and more contextually relevant understanding of Islam, Faruki argues, the distinction between the spirit and the letter of the shariah needs to be respected. This is crucial, for he rightly sees that shariah courts that the mullahs want to set up would inevitably apply archaic and, in particular, misogynist, interpretations of the shariah. Speaking out against the mullahs' insistence that shariah laws 'as they were practised a thousand years ago' be replicated in their totality today, he argues that 'many Muslims today would rather preserve the true spirit of such laws' such as to ensure justice. In support for his plea for a historically grounded understanding of Islam he quotes with approval a modernist Muslim intellectual, Reza Arslan, who argues that 'The notion that historical context should play no role in the interpretation of the Koran-that what applied to Muhammad's community applies to all Muslim communities for all time - is simply an untenable position in every sense.''

Writing from Texas, America, a certain Mirza Faisal has also rushed to my defence. The shariah court campaign, he says, 'seems to be devoid of some basic understandings', the result perhaps of an absence of what he quaintly calls 'a reality check'. He insists that legally sanctioned shariah courts would 'kill Muslims politically and move them further into ghettos'. 'Religious counselling systems', he says, are a more sensible option than shariah courts. In a climate that is increasingly anti-Muslim, he writes, instead of raking up such 'controversial issues' which would not help them, Muslims must seek to 'build bridges' with other communities. 'The goal', he very sensibly suggests, 'should be to make people better citizens, to motivate people to move up and have a human agenda rather than a Muslim agenda'. 'The goal should be to take up leadership positions in administration, politics, business, journalism, sciences etc and be upright Muslims. That is what is required and not darul qazas', he tells me.

The most scathing critique of the shariah courts' proposal comes from a certain Zafar, an Indian Muslim from Sydney, Australia. 'I am unsure as to whether the AIMPLB is being malicious or just plain stupid here', he writes, 'but either way its talent for picking exactly the wrong issue at exactly the wrong time is reliably breathtaking'.

'Have these gentlemen forgotten so soon what their threatening violence and forcing the government to back down on the Shah Bano judgement resulted in?', he asks in genuine anguish. 'Or are they simply unconcerned', he goes on, 'with the negative impact of their grandstanding-and it appears to me, but maybe it's just me-naked greed for power and influence has on India and its people, especially on Indian Muslims?'.

Zafar goes so far as to denounce the MPLB as 'a grotesquely self aggrandising menace to India and Indian Muslims'. He critiques the MPLB and similar mullah-dominated groups for seeking to exercise a hegemonic control over the Muslims, seeking to force the state to bend to their will and demanding that the state recognise them as the sole spokesmen of the community. The shariah court campaign, he says, is all about a quest for 'money and influence' for the mullahs and the graduates of their madrasas, who would, as he puts it somewhat uncharitably, 'otherwise be unable to use their medieval education'. Unable to conceal his disgust with the antics of the mullahs he says, 'I mean, how stupid do these clowns think we are? Why don't they get a real job like anybody else?'. He even makes so bold as to assert that if the state caved into the demands of the mullahs and legally recognised shariah courts he would 'be tempted to find the closest Arya Samaj Mandir and make inquiries about signing up'. 'It says something that it's only the actions of the AIMPLB that make me consider not being a Muslim', he frankly confesses in despair, 'and never those of the organisations that run shuddhi programs".

'Hind mein Islam ko in ki bevakoofi se khatra hai' ('Islam is threatened in India from the idiocy of such people'), Zafar ends his missive by saying. Not being a Muslim myself in the conventional sense of the term, I reserve my comments, not wanting to be branded, once again, as an 'enemy agent'. But I must confess that I suspect that many Muslims might well concur with him.

Mishap of Brenton Cary Hostel, Background View



I am administrator of Brenton Carey Girls Hostel for almost 5 year now. Since one year Rev. Sadiq Daniel (so-called bishop) was trying to kick me out but my management committee never agreed because they were satisfied with my work.



In the month of March Rev. Sadiq Daniel spread out two dirty letters accusing me of bad character attaching me with Mr. Robert Josiah who is a father to me. I called a meeting of my board members and discussed the letters. Board members thought about it, discussed it in detail and advised to adopt a policy of a Christian character to forget and forgive. When the meeting was over I strongly requested my board that it is not possible to work in this situation and I must leave the job but they said that since the board is satisfied with my services and that there is a possibility that in case of my resignation Rev. Sadiq Daniel will bring some corrupt lady. The same thing I discussed with Mrs. Ruth Bavington, even she was of the same opinion.



On 5th of April Rev. Sadiq Daniel gathered about 40 people and produced some dirty letters which were written about his wife. He instigated the pastors and other men against me and my family. Some body from within them called us on phone and told that they are going to attack our house. My husband called help from 15. The police came on time and dispersed the mob. We submitted an application for protection the same evening at Frere Police Station which is on record.



11th April:-



At half past twelve in the night of tenth April we were told that Sadiq Daniel will attack the Girls Hostel with his men. Again we submitted an application for protection and help and we have a receipt of the same with us.



On 11th April Sadiq Daniel entered the compound at about 9:30 with a big group of undesired elements along with a large contingent of police. Sadiq Daniel led all these persons who included Shamoon Shahzar, George Bhatti, Zaffar Iqbal and Clementina Berge.



A school teacher and a chowkidar (gatekeeper) from the gate informed me on the intercom about this due to which I locked the door and informed the staff.



There was a knock on the door upon which I looked through the window and saw Sadiq Daniel Clementina, Zaffar Iqbal, George Bhatti and some workers of Dar-ul- Kushnud along a big mob.



They started breaking the doors upon which I called for help from 15 and told them about what was happening and that they can hear the sounds of breaking of doors but no help came. Eventually they broke the door of accounts office and started breaking the door of my office. I ran inside the hostel where the girls of 9th and 10th class were in the hostel because of their preparation for their board exams while the other students were in their respective schools.



I hid myself in the store room under the bed for about 45 minutes while they were searching for me all over the place. Finally they caught me and Clementina was the first person who slapped me on my face and started kicking. Then a lady police constable grabbed me from my neck and said, “I have come to arrest you”. I asked, “Do u have any warrants?” Instead of answering she started beating me. Zaffar Iqbal and George Bhatti shouted arrest Shahnaz also Arrest Shahnaz also. This was the time the girl students of 9th and 10th class came and snatched me from their hands and took me to the prayer room and locked the door from inside.



Again they started breaking the door of prayer room but girls resisted for about 2 and a half hour. Finally they gathered all their people who were between 30 to 40 and they broke the prayer room door. The girls resisted saying Ghazala is our mother and you cannot take her. The personal guard of Sadiq Daniel loaded his gun and directed towards the girls and warned them hand me over to them otherwise he will shoot. Girls said you fire on us or kill us but we will not let her go. Having failed to threaten them he dropped his gun and went out.



Then Zaffar Iqbal, George Bhatti, Clementina along with two lady police women and other men came forward. They were beating the girls, pulling their hair, tearing their cloths and took away all the girls away from there. George Bhatti, Zaffar Iqbal, Clementina the lady police all were dragging me out of the prayer hall beating all the way long to the play ground where Sadiq Daniel and other were standing there. Sadiq Daniel commanded



George Bhatti take off her cloths, Zaffar Iqbal took my shirt upwards and George Bhatti pulling down my shalwar. I begged George Bhatti have pity on me for the sake of your own daughter Lubna. He said u cannot be my daughter. I will make u fully naked. Then they kicked me on the vagina and naked legs. Clementina bitted me on the shoulder. Here they bought two papers and force me to sign. When I refused again they slapped me and again dragged me on the ground. At this stage Mrs. Sher Gill and Mrs. Pamila Shakti arrived they picked me up from the ground and again asked me to sign some unknown papers which once more I refused. Here S.H.O. Ghazala of the Women PS arrived on the scene I begged her you are my name sake, help me. She brought me back to the office, helped me to wash my face. Here all the men went to Dar-ul-Khushnud perhaps they were hiding themselves from this new lady police. Here S.H.O. Ghazala reconnected the phone which was disconnected by these fellows to conduct their evil operation undisturbed. I think she realized about the critical condition that I may not survive. She asked me call any body for help and I called Bishop Ijaz Inayat, Mr. Robert Joshiah, Mrs. Ruth Bavington on phone. Mrs. Ruth Bavington was the first to reach the office at 2 o clock. She saw the entire breakage and awful situation. She was constantly comforting me and praying.



At half past three Sabir Rajput (who had been called by Bishop Ijaz to get the main gate opened) came along with S.H.O. Rao Khalid in civil dress came to my office. Sabir Rajput scolded every body and put his hands on my head and assured that he will provide justice. He said you are administrator and shall remain on the same seat and said you are on leave for three days. Give charge to your junior for three days after which we will again sit on Friday and discuss the situation to reach a conclusion. He requested Mrs. Bavington to take the charge temporarily but she refused. Then charge was asked to be given to Miss Shahnaz but she also refused because she was terrified she said I want to leave the job. But Mrs. Bavington and I requested her to stay for three days. Mr. Sabir Rajput brought me out (empty handed as my bag and keys were not given to me) to the main gate where Bishop Ijaz Inayat was standing. They asked me to sit on the bench besides the main gate while Sabir Rajput and Bishop Ijaz went inside Dar-ul Khushnud



As they came out at about 3:40.pm. and took me out. The main gate was specially opened for us which had been locked and 6 police mobiles were at the gate. My husband and some other pastors were at the main gate, where police was present to provide cover the evil operation of the Rev. Sadiq Daniel and stop every body from entering. All the people and pastors along with my husband had been struggling for my release as I had been made a hostage for six hours. It is sad to say that Miss Shahnaz and the girls who had been trying to protect me are continuously being tortured and pressurized to change their evidence in the support of Sadiq Daniel and his associates and give a different look to the entire situation. She is being harassed and is not in a position to stay in side the hostel any longer.



Police refused to register F.I.R against Sadiq Daniel and Shamoon Shazar who were directing the whole operation and against George Bhatti, Zaffar Iqbal, Clementina and the police officials who were facilitating the entire operation. Then we went to C.P.L.C. to seek legal help who were cooperative and helped us to get the Medico Legal which was later given to them.



Then on 14th of April An F.I.R. was registered against me and 15 other innocent girl students who were helping me instead of culprits. Now the police is raiding all over in search of me. Sadiq Daniel is arranging riots and press conference to save his skin. At the moment it is not safe for me to stay in our compound therefore we are spending time here and there. We need you support. Pray that my husband can be comforted and the evil culprits are brought to justice.



In Christ





Mrs. Ghazala Shafiq



The Impact of Shari'ah Laws on Minorities in Pakistan. By Naeem Shakir Advocate

What havoc has been and is being wrought by forces of retrogression, vested interest, fundamentalists, obscurants and religious extremists in the name of Islam in the recent past has perhaps not been much known to those who are not victim of such oppression. The much-trumpeted 'war on terror' in the western world media is politically designed because at one hand they are the ones who promoted and funded this religious lobby to launch jihad and fight against Soviet Union and on the other they have hegemonic designs in the name of globalization. The forces one time used as agent provocateurs and for proxy war have now over grown and developed vested interest to sustain themselves. Post cold war era has so far proved more treacherous for the civil society of the regions that have been used as garrisons by the bulwarks of capitalism. Because the religious extremists in order to impose their writ of authority even resort to use of lethal force at the places of worship of 'others.' They are reckless and cruel. These forces have even embarrassed the majority of their Muslim brethren especially who are engaged in the revivalist movement for not only a progressive, humane, tolerant and peace loving Islam but are trying to redefine the role of the Muslim world in the comity of nations.



There is no denying the fact that whenever and wherever religion was used for purposes opposed to its inherent spirit of peace, brotherhood, and justice, it not only lost its relevance in the process of social development but its image was also tarnished in the minds and hearts of those who were subjected to it. History is replete with events in which the name of religion was used to glorify the deeds and persons of the tyrant rulers. There was a time when State decrees were accompanied by religious decrees (fatwa) to silence the subjects and justify obedience.

The Holy Quran



It would not be fair to comment on Islamic Shariah without mentioning the two main current schools of thought in the Muslim world and high lighting the Quranic message in its historical perspective. Islam addresses the people of the world through the revealed Book Quran. (Sura Naas 114 /1to 6). Quran says that the God of Islam is the God of the Universe and not God of Muslims only. (Rub-ul-al'meen) Muhammad the Prophet of Islam is the Blessing for the Universe. (Rehmatul'almin) It forbids compulsion in religion. (Chapter2 / 256) It lays stress on personal accountability as it says no one will be burden on other. (Chapter 2 / 139) It extends invitation to non-Muslims for a dialogue. (Chapter 3 / 64) It says that if God wanted that there be all 'Momins' (Muslims) He could do so. (Chapter 10 / 99) Therefore the concept of diversity is found in the teachings of Quran. It further says, " Your Deen (faith) is for you and my Deen (faith) is for me." (Chapter 109 / 6) It says, " Do not abuse the idols of the idolaters." (Chapter 6 / 109) Muhammad the Prophet is the Messenger to convey the message and is not appointed as the Keeper over others and certainly not an arbiter. (Chapter 6 / 108) The Book says that after conveying message, " leave them alone and turn away from them. (Chapter 32 / 30) The Quran instructs protection of all places of worship. (Chapter 22 / 40)

Therefore, the movement of revivalism amongst Muslims that has been gaining ground in the past has developed two distinct factions having two different approaches and interpretation of Islam. One stands for medieval and fixated position on issues of fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence whereas the faction representing progressive Islam say that the medieval approach is tantamount to robbing Islam of its eternal spirit and of its continual relevance for all times. Syed Afzal Haider, a jurist and Islamic scholar of Pakistan and who is also senior member of the Council of Islamic Ideology, in his book "Islamic Revolution" writes, " Quran has laid sufficient stress on the need to organize human society on a balanced pattern for the betterment of human race. The desire to lead the people to the path of salvation, freedom from fear, sublimation, economic and political independence, human dignity, international peace, exemption from exploitation of every type and above all tolerance and equal opportunities to develop the latent potential of each individual and a people collectively, is destined to get Divine Approval." Another known Islamic scholar from India, Dr Asghar Ali Engineer, writes, " The most stressed values of Quran are ('adl) justice, (ihsan) benevolence, (rahmah) compassion, (hikmah) wisdom and human dignity. These values cannot be compromised in any law and if any law violates these values that would be unacceptable in Islam." He further writes, ' What is to be borne in mind that though the Quranic principles and values are universal, but their application is situation specific. Therefore we have to apply them according to our own situation which calls upon change in interpretation in changed socio-economic conditions.'



Sources of Islamic Law



The two basic sources of Islamic Law are the divine revelation of the Quran, and the Sunnah which relate to what the Prophet said and did or did not express disapproval of things done in his presence during his lifetime that is technically called Sunnah. S unnah is generally expressed through 'Ahadith' i.e., traditions. The Islamic jurisprudence is based on the Quran, Sunnah, Ijma, (consensus amongst Ulama) Qiyas, (analogy- analogical reasoning based on Quran and Sunnah) Ijtihad, (consensus amongst Muslim Umma) Customs and Conventions. The Shariah has two major legal traditions, Sunni and Shi'a. Whereas the Sunni legal tradition has different schools of thought like, Hanafi, Shafai, Malaki and Hanbali. There are now two broad distinctions in Islam the Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslims. The major difference the two Schools have is in the political interpretation of the text of Quran.



Iranian Revolution of 1979



The process of Islamisation at state level started in 1979 when Immam Khameni took over in Iran and enforced the Shi'ite version of Islam. This revolution had a monumental effect on the Muslim world. The mass killings of the opponents without proper trial however, created a fear syndrome amongst Sunnis and other minorities. The Bahais' were expelled as community. The oxodus of Bahais from Iran has woeful tales. The revolution led by Immam Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni had an anti-American and anti-imperialist stance due to which the American administration took keen interest in neighboring Afghanistan and initiated its plans to checkmate the influence of the revolution in the region. The post Khomeni revolution period is the one in which neighboring Sunni States felt threatened by the emerging Shi'ite religio-political force in the region. A sectarian strife supported by many interested parties emerged amongst different schools of thought. The Shia revolution provided space to the militant forces of Sunni's spearheaded by Deoband and Wahabi sects to demand out of reaction that Pakistan be declared a Sunni State. The countries in which Shari'ah was imposed in that period were Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Indonesia, and to some extent Malaysia, where minorities suffered discrimination, harassment and inhuman treatment.



Islamic Shari'ah - A Pakistan Perspective



While examining the effects of Shari'ah on minorities one presupposes that one is considering such religious minorities who are citizens or are residing in a State that is predominantly Muslim and has enforced Islamic Shariah. A nation state such as Pakistan, born out of partition of India when the British withdrew from the colonial rule in the Indian sub-continent in 1947 will be a novel study in this regard.

Pakistan was conceived by its leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Father of Nation and titled as Qaide Azam (The Great Leader) as an enlightened Muslim State and not as a theocratic State. But the orthodox and fundamentalist forces from day one in connivance with the establishment tried to promote agenda of obscurantism for their vested interest. This agenda was materialized through administrative and legislative measures at state level. The passing of Objectives Resolution in 1949 (which provided religious base to the State) is the first example in this regard.



The second major event took place when by launching a street agitation the Parliament was forced to declare Ahamedies as non-Muslims. No parliament has ever sat in judgement on matters of faith but the establishment made it happen in Pakistan.

According to Article 2 of its Constitution that was promulgated in 1973, " Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan." And Article 227 declares, " All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, and no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such Injunctions of Islam." The Supreme Court of Pakistan is constituted under Article 175 of the Constitution. But a parallel judicial system has been created under Article 203C "which shall consist of not more than eight Muslim Judges". Under Article 203D, the Federal Shariat Court has been empowered as under;

" --- either on its own motion or on the petition of a citizen or the Federal Government or a Provincial Government, to examine and decide the question whether or not any law or provision of law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, hereinafter referred to as the Injunctions of Islam.



Shari'ah Supreme Law



Apart from these constitutional provisions there is a statute that was promulgated as Enforcement of Shariah Act 1991. This law in a way reiterated the supremacy of Shariah law declaring in its Section 3, ' The Shari'ah that is to say the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, shall be the supreme law of Pakistan." Under this Act education, economy, mass media and judicial system shall be Islamised as provided in Sections 7, 8, 9 and 14 respectively. But Section 4 of this Act overrides other laws as it says, " While interpreting the statute-law, if more than one interpretation is possible, the one consistent with the Islamic principles and jurisprudence shall be adopted by the Court." This provision of law has caused serious effects, which will be stated later.

Three fourth of the national life of Pakistan nation had been under military rule. And due to lack of undemocratic institutions the socio-political situation has been very chaotic. The religious lobby has always politically blackmailed the political governments and has been working hand in gloves with the military rulers. The military ruler Gen. Zia ul Haq, who took upon himself to Islamize the society, effected most of these constitutional amendments and brought changes in the statute law. The Objectives Resolution which had served as a Preamble to Constitutions of 1956,1962 and 1973 was made substantive part of the Constitution by incorporation of Article 2-A and was placed as an Annex to the said Article.

While serving as a preamble, the sixth paragraph of the Objectives Resolution read as under:

" An adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practice their religion and develop their culture."

Whereas the word 'freely' stands deleted from the text when it was placed as an annexure to Article 2-A. It was deliberate and a malafide act on the part of the military ruler to delete this important word 'freely' which later had serious repercussions in the socio-political setup. It introduced an element of religious extremism and the sectarian legislation made thereafter promoted religious discrimination against the minorities. In order to gain religious sanctions for his government, Gen. Zia collaborated with the religious fundamentalists. Those who were never voted for the Assemblies were brought into the corridors of power through administrative measures.



Religious Fundamentalism



The military government encouraged the religious parties like Jamait-e-Islami operating in the field of politics. They kept embarrassing each government and political forces by taking mileage on religious card. Whereas religiously extremist organizations like Sipahe Sahaba, and Jaishe Muhammad sharpened the sectarian divide. Those groups introduced violence by killing members of other groups in the name of religion. Its members openly marched in public displaying lethal weapons and over awed their opponents in particular and public in general. There was implied patronage of the government for the armed militancy of these religious extremists. It was during this time that armed militant groups like Daawat ul Irshad, Lashkr-e-Jhangvi, Harkatul Ansar and Lashker-e-Taiyyaba etc, etc, emerged to carry out 'jihad' in Afghanistan and later in Kashmir. Religious groups of like nature sprung up like mushrooms that spread culture of violence and hate. What to talk of religious minorities, the Muslims even felt scared and insecure at the hands of these zealots masquerading in the name of religion and jihad.



Islamic Criminal Law



In the process of Islamisation that Gen. Zia initiated, the following sectarian legislation was promulgated. The Hudood Laws were promulgated by Gen. Zia-ul-Haq to introduce punishments of Hadd in criminal law of the country in order to bring it in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah. These laws included,

I.The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979.

II.The Offences against Property (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979.

III.Prohibition Enforcement of Hadd Order IV 1979.

IV.The Offence of Qazf (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979.

V.The Execution of the Punishment of Whipping Ordinance 1979.



A few provisions of these Ordinances are reproduced for study.

The punishment of ' HADD' in these Hadood Ordinances has been defined as punishment ordained by the Quran or Sunnah.

The Offences Against Property (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979 relates to theft, robbery and cases of dacoity. The kind of proof required for the offence has been provided in Section 7 of the Ordinance, as under:

" The proof of theft liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:

(a)the accused pleaded guilty of the commission of theft liable to hadd; and

(b)at least two Muslim adult male witnesses, other than the victim of the theft, about whom the court is satisfied , having regard to the requirements of tazkia al-shuhood, that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the occurrence :

Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eye-witnesses may be non-Muslims:

Provided further that the statement of the victim of the theft or the person authorized by him shall be recorded before the statement of the eyewitnesses are recorded.

Explanation-In this section, tazkia al shuhood means the mode of inquiry adopted by a Court to satisfy itself as to the credibility of a witness."

Whereas the punishment of theft liable to hadd is provided in Section 9 which is given as under:

1) Whoever commits theft liable to hadd for the first time shall be punished with amputation of his right hand from the joint of the wrist.

(2) Whoever commits theft liable to hadd for the second time shall be punished with amputation of his left foot up to ankle.

(3) Whoever commits theft liable to hadd for the third time or any subsequent thereto, shall be punished with imprisonment of life.



Whereas, Section 25 of this Ordinance, provides;

" The Presiding Officer of the Court by which a case is tried, or an appeal is heard, under this Ordinance shall be a Muslim: provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the Presiding Officer may be a non-Muslim.



The second Ordinance was called the "Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance of 1979. The Ordinance in its Section 4 defines Zina:

" a man and a woman are said to commit Zina if they willfully have sexual intercourse without being validly married to each other."

Whereas, Zina liable to hadd under Section 5 is provided as under;

"(1) Zina is liable to hadd if;

(a)it is committed by a man who is an adult and is not insane with a woman to whom he is not, and does not suspect himself to be married; or

(b)it is committed by a woman who is an adult and is not insane with a man to whom she is not, and does not suspect herself to be married.

(2) Whoever is guilty of zina liable to hadd shall, subject to the provisions of the

Ordinance;

(a)if he or she is a muhsan, be stoned to death at a place; or

(b)if he or she is not a muhsan, be punished, at a public place, with whipping numbering one hundred stripes.

Explanation: Muhsan mean an adult Muslim man or a woman.

And Section 8 of the Ordinance provides the required standard of evidence as under;

" Proof of Zina (adultery) or zina-bil-jabr (rape), liable to hadd shall be in one of the following forms, namely:

(a)the accused makes before a Court of competent jurisdiction a confession of the commission of the offence; or

(b)at least four Muslim adult male witnesses, about whom the Court is satisfied, having regard to the requirements of tazkiah al-shuhood,that they are truthful persons and abstain from major sins (kabair), give evidence as eye-witnesses of the act of penetration necessary to the offence:

(c)Provided that, if the accused is a non-Muslim, the eyewitnesses may be non-Muslims.

Explanation: Tazkiah al-shuhood means the mode of inquiry adopted by a Court to satisfy itself as to the credibility of a witness.

The Presiding Officer under Section 21 of the Ordinance shall be a Muslim but if the accused is a non-Muslim the Presiding Officer may be a non-Muslim.



The next law is Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979. It prohibited the use of liquor. The non-Muslims may use liquor for religious ceremonies on liquor permits issued by the Government. The punishment for offences for use, manufacture, bottling, possession and transportation for liquor under this law includes life imprisonment or not less than two years imprisonment along with whipping not exceeding thirty stripes and shall also be liable to fine. The evidence required for an offence liable to hadd under Section 9 of the Ordinance provides that "at least two Muslim adult male witnesses" about whom the Court is satisfied that they lead life according to the Injunctions of Islam. who lead life according to injunctions of Islam. The Offence of Qazf (Enforcement of Hadd) Ordinance of 1979 defines and provides punishment for an offence of Qazf that is false imputation of zina (adultery) about any person knowing that that imputation would harm and injure that person. Such person will be subjected to whipping numbering eighty stripes as a punishment for the commission of such an offence. And such conviction shall require evidence of 'at least two Muslim adult male witnesses. The Presiding Officer of the Court by which a case is tried, or an appeal is heard under this Ordinance shall be a Muslim.



Testimony of Non-Muslims



The testimony of non-Muslim citizen has been rendered secondary to that of a Muslim as it is adjudged and measured in terms of the principles as laid down in Quran and Sunnah, under the new Evidence Act with an Islamic name - Qanoon -e- Shahadat of 1984.

The application of Islamic Shariah on non-Muslim citizens is most unjust. The act of imposing a particular Shariah to which he/she does not belong tantamount is to flagrant violation of human rights as laid down in the international treaties. The argument advanced in favour of the application of Islamic laws to non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan is that public law is applicable to all citizens across the world. The argument is fallacious and not tenable as the declared base and foundation of this law is religiously sectarian. And the application of Hudood Laws over non-Muslims of the country reflects a theocratic mind.



Personal Law of Minorities



There has been a serious invasion against the Personal Laws of the religious minorities. The concept of marriage and divorce of the citizens of other religions is not similar to Islam. Polygamy is allowed in Islam whereas Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Paris's strictly forbid having more that one wife. Some of the provisions of Divorce Act applicable to minorities are in conflict with the Ordinance.



It may be stated that Pakistan is predominantly an agrarian society and feudal values dominate the socio-cultural life of its people. Abduction and violence against women is a common feature. And women of the marginalized sections of the society are common victims. According to the report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan for the year 2002, 'one woman is being raped in every two hours and one woman is gang raped in every eight hours in Pakistan'. And most of the cases go unreported because of social taboos and the stigma that wretched act carries against a woman. This is an appalling situation and calls for some immediate remedial steps to better the situation.



The Muslim landlords without much uproar abduct the married Christian/Hindu women. And in order to avoid the rigors of penal law, converts the abductee to Islam and under goes the procedure of Islamic marriage with her. The whole exercise is under taken in such a mechanical manner that the law is made a sheer mockery. Since the Shari'ah has become the Supreme Law, and the statute law has to be interpreted according to the Injunctions of Islam, her earlier marriage under the Christian Marriage Act or under Hindu Marriage Law practically stands dissolved ipso facto. Why because she has supposedly embraced Islam and she being a Muslim is prohibited to marry a non-Muslim. As Islamic Shariah has to prevail, the institution of Christian marriage is rendered as a fragile thing and the personal law of non-Muslim citizens becomes meaningless.



"Dhimmies"



The religious parties which were not only against the founder of the nation Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah but were also against the formation of the state of Pakistan gradually reconciled and launched campaign to turn it into a theocratic state. The religious lobby of the Islamists was not prepared to accord equal status to non-Muslim citizens in this newly founded state. They term non-Muslims as 'dhimmis' which is a derogatory word to lower down the social status. Dhimmis are charged with a 'jazia' (tax) for giving protection to life and property to non-Muslims in an Islamic State. The non-Muslims were not treated as part of one Pakistan nation as according to Islamists there were two nations in the country, one Muslim nation and the other non-Muslim nation. The Jamiat-e- Islami wrote a lot of literature about the status of a non-Muslim in an Islamic State. This generated the baneful sentiment of religious prejudice, which slowly marginalised the non-Muslim citizens in the socio-political life. Maulana Abu ala Maudoodi well-known Islamic scholar in his book 'Islami Riasat' (Islamic State) said," the non-Muslims shall not have a right of vote and right of representation in the legislature of an Islamic."



Separate Electorates



It was in this background that a stunning blow causing serious damage to the socio-political status of non-Muslim citizens was administered through amendments in the electoral laws and the country's constitution whereby an apartheid mode of separate electorates was imposed on nation in general and non-Muslim citizens in particular. The electoral lists were separated as Muslim and non-Muslim voters. Both could not vote for each other at the time of elections as electoral constituencies had been separated on sectarian lines in five religious groups, one that of Muslim and the other for non-Muslim citizens belonging to four different religions that included Christians, Hindus, Ahmadies and other religious communities. This apartheid mode of separate electorates threw the non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan out of the main stream of national life. Their status was rendered as second class citizens. They were no more part of the business of the State. The right of vote stood classified on religious lines and the citizens were deprived to fully enjoy the right of adult franchise. They thus stood politically marginalized on the basis of religion. The non-Muslim citizens were deprived of the right of vote and right of representation in the legislature during four general elections, a period spread over a quarter of a century. This is the period when religious fundamentalism in this country flourished and the religious extremists gained ground. A time came when these forces of militant Islam challenged the State agencies and the civil society was made hostage.



General Pervaiz Musharaf by over throwing a civil government took the charge as military ruler on September 9 1999. Despite the fact that it was an undemocratic government it took a bold step and restored the mode of joint electorate that brought the apartheid mode of Separate Electorates to an end. The general elections of 2002 were held under joint electorates with reserved seats for the religious minorities through proportional representation and list system. Some of the religious parties still keep harping the old tune. They assert that Pakistan being an Islamic State, the mode of joint electorate offends its ideological ethos.



Blasphemy Law



The law on blasphemy also belongs to the era when the country was under military rule of Gen. Zia. The offences relating to religion have been given in sections 295, 295-A, 295-B, 295-C, 296, 297, 298, and 298-A, 298-B and 298-C of Pakistan Penal Code. It would be appropriate to reproduce the text of these Sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, which were introduced later through amendments.

Chapter XV

OF OFFENCES RELATING TO RELIGION

295. Injuring and defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any

Class. Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine or with both.



295A. Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any Class by insulting its religion or religious belief. Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to ten years, or with fine or with both.



295B. Defiling, etc. of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment of life.

295C. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Note: The section has been amended and the alternative punishment of life imprisonment has bee deleted.

296.Disturbing religious assembly. Whoever voluntarily causes disturbances to any assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship, or religious ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine or with both.

297.Trespassing on burial places, etc. Whoever, with the intention of wounding the feeling of any person, or of insulting the religion of any person, or with the knowledge of that the feelings of any person are likely to be wounded , or that the religion of any person is likely to be insulted thereby,

commits any trespass in any place of worship or any place of sculpture, or any place for the performance of funeral rites or as a depository for the remains of the dead, or offers any indignity to any human corpse or causes disturbance to any persons assembled for the performance of funeral ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

298. Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings.

Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

298-A. Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of holy personages.

Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innenundo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of any wife (Ummul Mumineen), or members of the family (Ahle-bait), of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him), or any of the righteous Caliph (Khulfa-e-Rashadeen) or companions of Sahaba) of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

298-B. Misuse of epithets, descriptions and titles, etc., reserved for certain holy

Personages or places.

(1)Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves

'Ahamedies' or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation;

(a)refer to, or addresses, any person, other than a Caliph or companion of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), as "Ameer-ul-Mumineen", "Khalifa-tul-Mumineen", Khalifa-tul Muslimeen" , "Sahaabi" or "Razi Allah Anho";

(b)refer to, or addresses, any person, other than a wife of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), as "Ummul-Mumineen";

(c)refer to, or addresses, any person, other than a member of the family (Ahle-bait) of the Holy Prophet 9Peace be upon him), as "Ahle-bait"; or

(d)refer to, or names, or calls, his place of worship as "Masjid";

shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

(2)Any person of the Quadiani group or Lahori group (who call themselves '

"Ahamedies" or by any other name) who by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, refers to the mode or form of call to prayer followed by his faith as "Azan", or recites Azan, as used by the Muslim, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.

298-C. Persons of Quadiani group, etc., calling himself a Muslim or preaching or

Propagating. Any person of the Quadiani group or Lahori group (who call

themselves 'Ahmadies' or by any other name), who directly or indirectly poses

himself as Muslim, or calls or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or

propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either

spoken or by visible representation, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the

religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either

description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable

to fine.



The text of the aforementioned law amply provides a fair understanding how the Muslims who are in predominant majority are touchy, sensitive, and assertive about their faith and religious leaders and are totally unmindful how grossly they are offending, violating and injuring the religious feelings of others. The State and its agencies have treacherously acted in manner that has flagrantly violated not only the international treaties and conventions but also has offended all standards of human rights legislation.



Shariat Court and Death Punishment



It may be stated that the Section 295C was incorporated vide Ordinance 1 of 1988 which had alternative punishments of death or imprisonment for life for the offence of blasphemy against the Holy Prophet.

A petition was moved by a Muslim lawyer who is member of Jamait Islami before the Federal Shariat Court under Article 203D of the Constitution, praying, that since Islam provided only one punishment to the blasphemer of Holy Prophet and that is death i.e., capital punishment, therefore the provisions of Section 295C, Pakistan Penal Code providing punishment as 'death or life imprisonment' being repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam may be struck down from the statute book.

There was an interesting debate on the issue as arguments were advanced for and against by the lawyers before the five Judge. Finally the religious fundamentalists and those who wanted death as mandatory punishment for the blasphemer, won and those against lost. The lawyers against the petition very eloquently argued that Hadd was not provided in the Holy Quran and that there were instances that Prophet himself pardoned those who were rude and insulted him. But the Court was swayed away with the religious fervor of the Islamic extremists. The Federal Shariat Court in its judgement of 30th October 1990, held, " We are of the view that the alternate punishment of life imprisonment as provided in section 295C, P.P.C. is repugnant to the Injunctions of Islam as given in Holy Quran and Sunnah and therefore, the said words be deleted therefrom."

The judgement further said, " A clause may further be added to this section so as to make the same acts or things when said about other Prophets, also offence with the same punishment as suggested above".

It further held, " A copy of this order shall be sent to the President of Pakistan under Article 203D(3) of the Constitution to take steps to amend the law so as to bring the same in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam. In case, this is not done by 30th April, 1991 the words "or imprisonment for life" in section 295C shall cease to have effect on that date."

The government of Pakistan did not take any action, therefore the said words are no more on the statute book from April 30, 1991 with solitary and mandatory punishment for death to a person accused of blasphemy against the Prophet.



Blasphemy Law As Tool of Oppression



The record shows that after declaring death as mandatory punishment for the blasphemy against Prophet, this law was used for religious persecution and for settling personal scores. A bear reading of the definition of blasphemy provided under section 295C is so vague and ambiguous that it casts the net wide open to rope in any one for malicious prosecution. This law has been ruthlessly abused against Christians and Ahamdies who have been the main victims ever since the Shariat Court amended this law. After the verdict of the Shariat Court a wild wave of religious extremism by the fanatics was unleashed against the minorities who were targeted for religious persecution. A few cases would show the extent of torture and killings caused to the religious minorities under this law. These are some of the high profile cases in which the writer served as the defense counsel for the alleged Christian blasphemers under heavy odds as his life too had been in danger on account of such engagements.



Naimat Ahmar Case



A Christian of 44years,was a post graduate teacher. He was a progressive poet, writer and a government schoolteacher. One Farooq Ahmad, a Muslim zealot of 20 years, butchered him in the broad daylight (at 10am) on January 6 1992 at the premises of the office of the District Education Officer Faislabad, Punjab, Pakistan, while the victim was on his work place. The young assassin who was member of Sipahe Sahaba (a religious outfit well known for its terrorist activities) had been directed by his religious leaders that the victim had committed blasphemy against the Prophet and it was his bounden duty to kill him to punish the blasphemer and by doing so he would also win to win heavens.

The deceased was left behind a widow, two daughters and two sons. No case had been registered against the accused. He was not provided an opportunity to defend his person. No Court tried him for the allegation of blasphemy. He was killed on the basis of 'fatawa' (religious decree) issued by Muslim clerics who had been won over by a colleague of the deceased who had been offended as the deceased did not agree with his mutual service transfer proposal. Therefore in order to teach him a lesson he hatched a conspiracy to implicate the deceased in a false blasphemy case. The killer was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the trial Court that was up held by the High Court.



Gul Masih Case



Gul Masih, a Christian was charged for alleged blasphemous utterances against the Prophet while engaged in a religious discussion. The religious debate initiated when Gul Masih attributed dishonesty to the Muslim plumber who had been paid for repairing fosse of a leaking community water tap. The two Muslim neighbors felt offended at the remarks and took as communal insult. The discussion took bitter turn but during all that time Gul Masih did not say any thing outrageous that could be termed blasphemous against Prophet. The two Muslims thought of teaching him a lesson and thus roped him in a false blasphemy case registered on 13.12.1991.And soon thereafter he was arrested.

Gul Masih was sentenced to death on 2.11.1992 by the Sessions Court. Gul Masih had to languish in the jail till such time the Division Bench of the Lahore High Court in its judgement of October 27 1994 declared the case as a " case of no evidence". He was acquitted and was released from the jail. It would however be not out of place to mention here that it became difficult to bring him out the jail as serious threat was posed to his life by the Muslim extremist who were annoyed with the judgement of acquittal. Gul Masih was taken out of the jail at the dead of night under cover of heavy police contingent to be hibernated at a place wherefrom he was transferred to Islamabad Airport to be flown to Germany under some church arrangement.



Tahir Iqbal Case



Tahir Iqbal 33 was born in a Muslim family. After matriculation he joined Pakistan Air Force as an aeronautical mechanic. In 1982 he contracted meningitis and lower part of his body paralysed. He was later confined to wheelchair as he could neither stand nor walk. During his protracted illness he came closer to religion and during that process he was converted to Christianity. His family boycotted him. The Pentecostal clergymen who had helped him in conversion often had his Christian testimony presented on loud speaker in church. Such announcement offended the religious feelings of the Muslim fundamentalists. The Maulvi of the nearby Mosque got a false case registered against Tahir Iqbal. He alleged that an apostate had defiled the Holy Quran (by marking at various pages), taught children against the teachings of Islam and at the time of "Azan" (call to prayer) early morning he gets infuriated and starts shouting and abusing Islam and the Holy Prophet. On this report he was arrested and sent to jail where he was deprived of his wheelchair. A petition was moved before the Sessions Judge for his bail praying that he was an invalid person whose lower portion of his body had completely paralysed and thus was physically handicapped and that he was entitled to bail in that totally false case. On the other hand the Muslim extremists had launched a movement against Tahir Iqbal and fatwas (religious decrees) from different Muslim clerics had been issued that he was an apostate and that he should be executed in public. Therefore, there was wave of religious frenzy and an atmosphere not conducive to fair trial. This would be best evidenced by perusal of the Order of the Sessions Judge who refused him the bail.



" Tahir Iqbal Versus The State



Present: Counsel for the Petitioner

DDA for the State

IO with Police record



Police South Cantt, Lahore, arrested Tahir Iqbal petitioner in case FIR No. 297/90 registered under Section 295C PPC. He has applied for bail.

2.Allegations as contained in the FIR is that Tahir Iqbal petitioner originally a Muslim has converted to Christianity and he is allegedly using sacrilegious language making derogatory remarks against Islam.

3.Learned counsel for the petitioner has conceded before me that the petitioner has converted himself as Christian. With this admission on the part of the petitioner's counsel, there is no need to probe further into the allegations as contained in the FIR because learned DDA has disclosed that charge has already been framed by the Illaqa Magistrate and the accused is facing trial. Since conversion from Islam into Christianity is in itself a cognizable offence involving serious implications, hence I do not consider the petitioner entitled to the concession of bail at this stage. This application is accordingly is dismissed.

Announced.

8-7-91. Signed

Additional Sessions Judge,

Lahore."







This is a novel court order that abundantly sheds light on the subject. The States where Shari'ah has been enforced, justice is subjected to sectarian affiliations. The atmosphere becomes suffocating for the religious minorities in particular and the civil society in general. The religious lobby consolidates and not only makes the civil society hostage but also embarrasses the State agencies including the judiciary. It may be pointed out that till the writing of this article (September 2003) there is no law yet enforced in The Islamic Republic of Pakistan whereby conversion from Islam is a cognizable offence. But the Judge in his order himself appears to be religiously hurt and that is why he says," with admission on the part of the petitioner's counsel, there is no need to probe further into the allegations." Injustice, intolerance, violation of fundamental rights, equality before law and due process of law become alien concepts once you choose to adopt a particular religious creed in a State where people of different faiths and ideologies reside. Therefore, the original Islamic concept of diversity and today's concept of pluralistic society is not only defeated but also the Quranic injunction that there should be no compulsion in religion is ruthlessly violated.

Tahir Iqbal was tortured and humiliated in the jail under a conspiracy of the religious fundamentalists. It was on 20th July 1992 when Tahir Iqbal was poisoned to death in jail with the connivance of the jail officials. Tahir Iqbal was a prisoner of conscience who was subjected to religious persecution and was done to death.



Salamat Masih, Manzoor Masih and Rehmat Masih Case



Maulana Fazal Haq, a local clergy in-charge of a mosque of village Rata Dhotran, got a blasphemy case under section 295A and 295C of Pakistan Penal Code against three Christian, Salamat Masih, a minor of 13 1/2 years, Manzoor 38, and Rehmat 42. The allegation leveled against them was, " on 11.5.1993, they, with a brickbat were writing blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad on the walls of the mosque and that on seeing them they fled away." The complainant further alleged, " even earlier small chits of paper with blasphemous material against Islam and Prophet were thrown in side the mosque court yard."

Now nothing could be farther than the truth as all the three accused were completely illiterate and were not in a position to read or write. The accusation was palpably false and unfounded. They were arrested and were condemned without investigation of any kind. The motive behind, against the involvement of the three was merely for intolerance in socio-religious life and of course for settling personal scores (details being avoided for brevity). The religious extremists used to bring banners and play cards in front of the Court with demands written thereon, " Execute the blasphemers", " Wrath of God on those who are providing help to them" etc.

The Sessions Court granted bail to Salamat being minor but refused to other two who later were released by the High Court on bail. But after their release from jail they remained in a state of hibernation wherefrom they would only come out for court appearance.



Fundamentalists Influence Courts



It would be worth mention as to how Court proceedings were influenced by the Muslim fundamentalists and their clergy on the day charge was framed against the accused. It may be pointed out that framing of the charge is a crucial stage in a criminal trial. The pieces of paper containing alleged blasphemous remarks were in a sealed packet as case property, which had been brought to the Court on the day. The accused and the writer as their counsel were not aware about the contents of the packet. The defense counsel therefore demanded that packed be de-sealed for framing of the charge. The packet was de-sealed on the order of the Court. The defense counsel requested the Court for perusal of the said document. Those were perhaps seven in number. The papers were handed over to the counsel. He had hardly read the second paper and taken down some notes that murmuring at once became an uproar amongst a two dozen Muslim clergy who had come close to the rostrum and shouted at the judge as to what he was doing. The defense counsel was told in a threatening manner to hand over the papers to the Court as he himself was committing blasphemy by taking down notes of the alleged remarks. The sudden commotion disturbed the Court proceedings. The Judge was completely embarrassed and demanded the papers back from the counsel. And the charge was framed under the threat of the religious extremists without bringing the allegations in the knowledge of the accused and their counsel defeating the basic principles of law and judicial norms. The right to be accorded fair trial in courts is a fundamental human right. Its denial is also violation of the right of being treated in accordance with law and a principle of natural justice that no one should be condemned unheard.



Manzoor Masih Killed in front of High Court



As the situation was very vulnerable and imminent danger to the lives of the victims was always lurking, the court had granted police escort to the accused from the office of their defense counsel to the court. On April 5 1994, after the court hearing the police left the accused and the counsel to his office that was right in front of the High Court building. After some time the three victims left the office of their counsel with an escort arranged by the Legal Aid Cell Lahore. They had hardly covered about a thousand yards distance when three religious extremists (who were later recognized as members of the notorious militant outfit Sipahe Sahaba) on two motor cycles attacked the victims by spraying volley of bullets with lethal weapons. Manzoor Masih died on the spot whereas Rehmat and Salamat along with their escort John Joseph were grievously injured. This cold blooded murder at the hands of the Islamists created a scare amongst the members of the Christian community and those who were helping the victims as lawyers and as members of the civil society.



Death Sentenced Passed



In short the remaining two were sentenced to death vide judgement dated 9.2.1995 and sent to jail for execution. The two condemned to death filed appeal before the High Court against their conviction. The Division Bench of the Lahore High Court through their well known judgement of February 23,1995, acquitted both Salamat Masih and Rehmat Masih holding that prosecution had failed to make out a case against the convicts. These proceedings were watched by the world media and got coverage in print and electronic media. The acquitted victims could not live on their own motherland that had become hostage at the hands of those who were alien to the land that is traditionally known to be land of those who have lived here in peace and harmony since ages. The victims were sent to overseas under imminent threat to their lives. They are in Germany now. It would not be out of place to mention here that after some time the senior judge of the High Court who wrote the acquittal judgement had to pay the price as he was subjected to terrorism. A religious extremist entered his office and fired fatal bullets on Justice Arif Iqbal Hussain Bhatti who died in his chair. Justice of course proved very expensive.



Anwar Masih Case



Anwar Masih was another victim of blasphemy law who was sentenced to death by the Sessions Judge on 27.4 1998, and which conviction was upheld by the High Court in its judgement of July24 2001. His case is also important because a Catholic Bishop Dr. John Joseph committed suicide in protest in front of the Sessions Court that convicted Anwar Masih. The death of the bishop further sensitized the oppression being caused under blasphemy law. This was another event that shook the religious minorities in general and the Christians in particular. Anwar Masih was charged for using blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad. The motive was to deter Anwar Masih to withdraw from pursuing a petition for the grant of proprietary rights to his peasant family in a village of district, Sahiwal. He was later acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His main ground for acquittal was that the evidence on the basis of which the sentence of death was passed by the Sessions Court and upheld by the High Court did not weigh sound on the Islamic principles of tazkia al shahood i.e., the standard of testimony to be relied upon in cases wherein hadd was to be imposed.



Quran and Punishment of Hadd



Punishment of hadd amounting to death sentence as provided in Shari'ah imposed by these countries has been subject to criticism not only by the civil society but by progressive Muslim scholars as well. They hold that punishment of hadd can only be imposed if provided by Holy Quran. Therefore they do not subscribe to the school of thought that include Sunnah along with the Holy Quran for providing death sentence for such offences for which hadd punishment has not been provided in Holy Quran. This stand is fortified, as Quran do not provide death punishment for offences of apostasy and blasphemy. The punishment of Rajam that is stoning to death for the offence of zina (adultery) has also not been provided in the Holy Quran. The subject of Hadd punishments is also one of the crucial points being contest by the aforementioned schools of thought in the currant debates amongst Muslim scholars.

>From the perusal of Quranic injunctions relating to offences of adultery, fornication and rape, it appears that emphasis is on personal repentance. The progressive school of thought pleads that the number of four witnesses required for proving adultery indicate that deterrent Islamic punishment have been provided for a society that looses all moral scruples and where orgy becomes common. However, it is a known tradition that Prophet reprimanded the captors who did not permit a culprit to run away. ( Sura Almaida5A- 39)







Social Discrimination



In rural areas particularly social discrimination against Christians is appalling. The report for the year 2002-2003 issued by Justice and Peace Commission in Pakistan would show that there are restaurants where Christians cannot have food. The report displays a photograph of a barber's saloon with a notice hung outside the door " No entry for non-Muslims." The other minorities are no less discriminated and marginalised. One Naseer Ahmad, an Ahmadie by faith was tried under section 295A and C, PPC for defiling the name of Prophet Muhammad and for trying to give an impression as if he was a Muslim. The matter relate to some Arabic words traditionally used on a wedding card of his daughter like " Aslamolekum" (peace be on you), "Bismillah ur Rehman" (in the name of Almighty that is merciful and benevolent), "Insha Allah" (God willing) etc. It was alleged that by using these words he had deliberately and maliciously out raged the religious feelings of Muslim citizens of Pakistan." He was arrested and jailed. The Sessions and High Court refused him bail but the Supreme Court finally came to his rescue and granted him the bail.



Rana Bhagwan Dass, a seasoned lawyer of Karachi, when elevated to the Sindh High Court was confronted with an embarrassing situation through a constitutional petition. The petitioner, a religious fundamentalist had prayed in that constitutional petition that since Pakistan was an Islamic State and law had to be interpreted according to the Injunctions of Islam therefore a non-Muslim Judge should be removed from the Bench. This petition embarrassed the State as well as its government that had to respond to the outer world as well. Although Justice Dass has been still elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan but nothing has been done to eradicate the baneful sentiment of religious prejudice that prevails across the country.



Death in Jail or Police Custody



Like Tahir Iqbal, Muslim victims charged under blasphemy law have also been done to death either in jail or in police custody. One Yousaf Ali convicted for death punishment under blasphemy law was done to death in Lahore Jail, whereas Naseem Bibi, an accused for blasphemy was killed in police custody. She had been charged for desecrating Quran along with her two sons. Her counsel reported that she had rejected advances of the complainant earlier which fact became cause of the registration of a false case.

A list of cases under blasphemy law during year 2001 to 2002 and from January 2003 to August is appended for perusal.



The Concept of Jihad amongst Muslims



Jihad is a subject that has become much controversial in the Muslim world. In the current debates on the subject the two distinct views have come forth and the dominant one is that jihad is waging war for a just cause as a last resort to protect community. The just cause of jihad, Safdar Siddiqui, a progressive Muslim scholar, holds, is waging war against disease, poverty, illiteracy, and for overthrowing yoke of social, political and economic subjugation and not for killing humanity.



Pan-Islamism



Empire building amongst Christians made many institutions of oppression at state level. The Church and the State collaborated for many centuries to maintain status quo of socio-economic domination of the ruling class. This nexus between church and the state was shattered by the Industrial Revolution in Europe when relations in mode of production changed. When the mode of production switched over from feudal to industrial relations.

But the Muslims remained influenced under the concept and the sentiment of Muslim Empire building much later. Muslim scholars like Jamal uddin Afghani, Syed Qutab, Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Maulana Abu ala Maoudoodi projected the concept of Pan-Islamism in the recent past.



The Concept of Jihad and Events of 9/11



The 9/11 and post 9/11 events in which Al-Qaida, Taliban and or those responsible for gory occurrences like Bali Bomb explosion in Indonesia or massacres in Pakistan against Christians or against Shias all have misconceived notions of Islam. They want to conquer the whole world on the basis of their creed and jihad. The sentiment of Jihad was promoted and was generously funded by Americans, British and other interested parties in Afghanistan. The CIA trained and armed at least 35000 zealots who became the Talibans and al-Qaida. John Cooley in his ' Unholy Wars' writes, "Prime Minister Margaret Thacher's Government supported the American funded jihad with full enthusiasm."

Jihad is a subject that has become much controversial in the Muslim world. In the current debates on the subject the two distinct views have come forth and the dominant one is that jihad is waging war for a just cause as a last resort to protect community. The just cause of jihad, Safdar Siddiqui, a Muslim scholar, holds, is waging war against disease, poverty, illiteracy, and for overthrowing yoke of social, political and economic subjugation and not for killing humanity.



Conflict Resolution



The misconceived notions and belligerent sentiments behind the treacherous jihadi attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre by Muslim zealots that killed more than three thousand people in ten minutes require serious study. How and why such misconceived creed developed? What are the forces behind? It's not mere religious sentiment or ethnicity or Islamic identity; perhaps more than that. Deprivations some times add insult to injury. The approach is certainly misconceived and misguided. Such creeds flourish only in a soil that is medieval, underdeveloped and industrially backward. The democratic order flourishes in industrialized societies because it provides space to a secular society. Therefore instead of making them consumer societies these states should be well industrialized. But the promoters of corporate globalization might find this socio-economic paradigm opposed to their agenda. The industrialization will change relations in production and will secularize those societies. This sentiment of socio-religious violence can promptly be erased once the industrial revolution is brought about. The obscurantism will end with the process of cleansing in an industrial society as it will change the out look and attitudes of people towards life.

Respecting ethnicity's, culture, religious creeds, language, values and customs of the people is certainly good but overplaying those for conflict resolution as has been done by Samuel p. Huntington in his much talked about book 'The Clash of Civilization And The Remaking of World Order" too is not only incorrect but also appears to be so put by design. On the contrary, John Pilger rightly say, " the real terror is poverty, from which some 24000 people die every day". He, in his book, " The New Rulers of the World" has given much insight for emancipating the people of the world by giving details about the 'exploitative role of the corporate globalization, which has globalized poverty.'



After tragic events of September 11, 2001 that shook the world, two distinct views emerged, one that Muslims are terrorists and that Islam promotes violence. And the other view that is more sensible that there is a small minority that subscribes to the theory of violence. The way to resolve the conflict is to address the large majority of Muslims across the world that promotes progressive, tolerant and humane version of Islam. The Muslims are 1.3 billion of the world population. They constitute large part of humanity. Their issues need to be addressed and should not be ignored. They should be mobilized towards becoming vehicle for better change that leads the march of human development forwards and not backwards.

It is high time to realize that humanity has suffered immensely in the last millenium because of self-righteous zealots who profess various religions and who try to impose their version of truth or who claim to be the custodian of the Divine Truth. Let us in all humility and with honesty accept one fact that we are all fallible and none of us has the sole proprietorship of the Divine Truth. The humanity across the world in recent past has voted for justice and world peace during, before and after Iraq war. Mammoth gatherings in London, New York, Rome, Paris, Munich, Barcelona and Sydney and many other places eloquently demonstrated that they stood not only for peace but also for socio-economic justice. These gatherings were free from genders, colors, creeds, dogmas and religions. They had actually surpassed all such boundaries. They in fact gathered around humanity for a righteous cause. It's now time to have world vision looking forward what lies ahead for humanity in the new millenium. The world society has grown pluralistic and diversity in humanity should be respected and protected as this the beauty of nature.





In the context of application of Shari'ah and religious freedom the Muslim Ummah or the Islamic leadership must realize that a moment has arrived in history where they have to redefine their role in human development. They will have to decide either to join humanity at large or stand isolated. They should bring forth the Islamic Deen (faith) in its true spirit and shun all those dogmas and religious cults that take them away from the Quranic message. The 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam as adopted by the OIC, Organization of Islamic Conference does not fully appreciate that religious freedom is inalienable right of a citizen. And imposing Islamic Shari'ah on religious minorities is tantamount to flagrant violation of the provisions of different international treaties and conventions. The intellectuals and Islamic scholars who promote the concepts of human rights, civil society and pluralist society should be promoted and projected. The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1949 that was framed by representatives who were believers, non-believers, seculars, and those belonging to different religions, cultures and traditions came to a consensus as to how humanity should be respected, protected and promoted. They reached an irrefutable conclusion that there was unity in diversity, and the principle of nature must be respected at all hands. There is no doubt there is some difference of approach about socio-political rights of citizens in between West that is industrially and technologically advanced and the third world that is under-developed and developing States mostly in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And this difference of approach is amply demonstrated in the Asian Human Rights Charter that was prepared after serious exercise organized by the Asian Human Rights Commission Hong Kong. The Muslim intellectuals and scholars should come out with unequivocal announcements in support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties and conventions that serve humanity without caste, color or creed. In this regard all member states of UN should sincerely accept and implement the provisions of Article 2 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that not only call upon states to legislate laws that serve citizens, "without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" but also to ensure and provide judicial mechanism at state level to redress grievances against violations of fundamental and human rights of the citizens.

A meaningful dialogue of life should be initiated at all levels so that a healthy debate may ensue for building a civil society. Free and open interaction of intellectuals and scholars should be promoted who are building peace and safeguarding humanity. Their literature for peace, socio-religious harmony and tolerance, and brotherhood should be extensively projected and distributed.

The agenda to lessen the rich and poor divide should be sincerely promoted. This divide pushes people towards obscurantism and fundamentalism. The liberative forces in the society should be encouraged to bring about social change that would establish a just socio-economic order. The Church leadership should issue Pastoral Letters calling upon the Christian congregations to initiate dialogue of life with other communities. This exercise will accelerate the process of peace building and bring people of different shades of opinion together for conflict resolution. We, however, should be clear that the struggle in academic and intellectual arena could only be fruitful if it materializes through people's struggle for liberation to become a dominant political force that could free humanity from poverty, disease, backwardness, economic and political subjugation of the exploitative forces.



___________________________



Bibliography



1.Holy Quran

2.Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

3.Pakistan Penal Code

4.Reconstruction of Islam by Allama Iqbal

5.Islami Riasat by Maulana Maudoodi

6.Study of Rel

Mujib or Zia? The Distortion of History in Bangladesh. Taj Hashmi, York University, Canada

Since history is always subject to distortion, there is hardly anything surprising about what the BNP-led government has done with the documents of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. It has revised sections of the fifteen-volume official history of the Freedom Movement (which is not free from distortions and lies as well) by inserting some absurd information about the so-called declaration of independence by Ziaur Rahman on March 26th 1971. I personally believe that this sort of distortions will eventually be flushed out of history not long after the BNP Raj is over in due course.



This blatant imbecility of the BNP government reminds us of similar revisionist lies and concoctions of history made by Awami intellectuals and politicians, who have left no stone unturned to prove that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the first to declare independence on March 26th after the killing had started around 11 pm on the 25th. It is claimed that Mujib instructed Bengalis to fight back the Pakistani marauders to liberate Bangladesh by sending a telegram through the EPR on the 26th. Nonsense. Pakistani soldiers picked him up around 11pm, March 25th. One may raise the question: “Why on earth would Mujib declare independence through a telegraphic message instead of writing it down with his own hand, duly signed and passed over to Tajuddin or some other trusted lieutenants prior to his arrest?”



We also heard another Fairy tale told by several Awami leaders/intellectuals that during the Language Movement of 1952, Sheikh Mujib “used to instruct Bengali language activists outside Dhaka Medical College Hospital from his cabin in the hospital with slips of paper passed through the window (while he was in detention and under treatment at DMCH)”. After Badruddin Umar lambasted them with solid documents challenging the veracity of such an absurd claim as Mujib during the Language Movement was in confinement NOT at Dhaka Central Jail but at Faridpur jail, there has been slight remission in this fever of lies and deceit in the Awami camp.



Now, what does one gain by concocting history? “Legitimacy” and “self-confidence” would be the answer. Whenever ruling parties, oligarchs and dictators feel to strengthen their grip on the masses to legitimize and lengthen their regimes, they invent history. And sycophants and pseudo-intellectuals are always around to help them re-write the history. It happened in Bangladesh not long after its emergence. Sheikh Mujib himself was responsible for serving the people pseudo-history with a view to glorifying himself and his party. He not only deprived most non-Awami freedom fighters (with the exception of the pro-Moscow groups) from the undue benefits of liberation but also denied their due role in the liberation of the country, within one hour of his arrival in Dhaka on January 10, 1972. He gave the full credit for the liberation to his party and indirectly to himself. I was present at that meeting where Sheikh Mujib blatantly manufactured history in presence of at least a quarter million people at the Race Course Maidan.



So, why should there be such a big fuss and brouhaha about this silly concoction by the BNP oligarchs and their sycophants? Don’t they have the aspirations to perpetuate their dynasty-the crown prince after the Ammajaan? Why not? This has become the norm in Bangladesh. Having said this, I have no doubt that eventually people will flush out both the Awami and BNP versions of history. In fact, the ordinary masses do not have any time to waste on the debate as to who declared Independence. They only care if the so-called liberation has actually liberated them from hunger, distress and anarchy.



The poor and the lower middle classes in Bangladesh are most definitely worse off than their counterparts in pre-1971 Bangladesh (East Pakistan). A rickshawwalla or a schoolteacher in pre-1971, ironically, consumed more calories and had better standard of living than their present counterparts. In short, what one could buy with one taka in 1971, one needs at least 80 taka today. Meanwhile, the middle class has almost disappeared (along with the middle class values)—thanks to the unbridled plunder of the nouveau and traditional rich and powerful and the hypocritical thugs who promote neo-colonial Globalization through NGOs and other exploitative means. And consequently the promised utopia of Golden Bengal—a socialist, secular welfare state—has never emerged in East Bengal. The most tragic aspect of the saga of Bangladesh is that some people are even talking in terms of “a failed state” with reference to Bangladesh. One may contradict them by displaying the cars and houses of a small section of Bangladeshis and the wealth of our bank defaulters, NGOwallas and thousands of thugs and godfathers. Nevertheless, Bangladesh remains one of the least developed, poor and chaotic countries in the Third World. No aspect of the prevalent chaos in the country, including the distortion of its recent history, can be understood in isolation without understanding the prevalent political chaos, social disorder and economic distress of the vast majority of the population.



However, the beauty of the vicious and diabolic elite’s (Awami, BNP, Jamaat and others) nefariously malevolent game lies in its art of hiding the reality by diverting the real issues with non-issues like religion, patriotism, “pro” and “anti” liberation etc. In Marxian parlance, the bourgeois elite often hegemonizes mass consciousness by certain “false consciousness” through pseudo-ideologies or wrong ideologies for the sake of power. What has been going on in Bangladesh is that the rival elites (Awami, BNP, Jamaati and others) have been trying to hegemonize mass consciousness with doses of “false consciousness” in the names of “Liberation”, “Bengali” or “Bangladeshi” Nationalism, “Islam” and what not! Unless we talk about the real issues, discarding the gibberish once for all, there is no way out of the quagmire. While bank defaulters, tax evaders, corrupt officials, ministers, NGOwallas and their petty associates (the lumpen intellectuals) and godfathers reign supreme and where men like Ershad, Ghulam Azam go scot-free (and considered respectable by many), there is no point crusading against concoction of history. These futile debates, whether from within Bangladesh or from a safe distance from abroad, will not do anything substantial for the country— I mean the non-elite masses. If you really mean business, then hit hard the political-business-professional elite, which unfortunately includes the bulk of the civil society, university teachers, poets and writers. There is a rat race for quick and easy money, out of survival instincts, greed and prevalent lawlessness. The whole nation seems to be under a collective schizophrenia—busy fighting the windmill in a quixotic manner.



Now, to turn to the question, “how we can effectively protest such a despicable act [doctoring history]”, my suggestion is that instead of being selective we must address all the previous concoctions of our history made by both the “pro-“ and “anti-liberation” people and by the “genuine” and “pseudo freedom fighters” in the last thirty odd years. Let me catalogue some of the concoctions and distortions of our history:



“Three million Bengalis were killed during the nine months of the struggle” (i.e. Pakistanis killed more than 10,000 people per day! What happened to the skeletons, especially 3000,000 skulls? In Cambodia around half a million were killed during 1975 and 1979 and their skulls are on display. It is noteworthy that during the last 21 years of Tamil-Sinhalese civil war in Sri Lanka, around 50,000 got killed. And the corresponding figure in Indian held Kashmir during the last 55 years’ of conflict is around 92,000.)



There has been a concerted effort by the Awamis to prove Sheikh Mujib as the sole architect of the Six-Point-Programme while we know that several Bengali intellectuals and bureaucrats were the real proponents of the famous “Two-Economy-Theory” and the Six-Points.



Both Mujib and his followers shamelessly distorted history by denying the truth behind the Agartala Conspiracy Case. Since Ayub Khan out of vengeance and stupidity implicated Mujib in the Conspiracy to dismember Pakistan with Indian help (while he was in detention from 1966 to 1969), Mujib had every right to deny his involvement in the Conspiracy because he had no involvement in it. But denying Agartala altogether smacks of one’s meanness (lest Shamsur Rahman Khan, CSP, Commander Muazzam Hussain, Sergeant Zahurul Haque and others overshadow Mujib and other Awami leaders!), even after the Liberation. What a shame that one of the 37 co-accused in the Agartala Case, Muhammad Abdul Aziz of Bhola, who was a soldier in the Pakistan Army’s elite SSG Commando regiment, is languishing under poverty. No Agartala convict (released in 1969) got any state award, land, pension or even simple recognition, most ironically, neither from the Mujib nor Hasina governments. Denying the valiant heroes of Agartala their due is far worse than concocting the history vis-à-vis who declared independence.



Neither Mujib nor his associates ever recognized the fact that during Mujib’s detention (1966-69) several student leaders under the leadership of Sirajul Alam Khan first organized the Bengal Liberation Front with some of my very close friends (We used to visit Sirajul Alam Khan [then clean shaven] at the then Iqbal Hall of Dhaka University (Room No. 143) as students of Dhaka College in 1965). No body ever recognized the fact that it was Sirajul Alam Khan and his associates who first coined the slogan “Jai Bangla”. It is also a fact that Mujib objected to the slogan. In March 1969, when the slogan first appeared at the main entrance of a Paltan Maidan meeting of the Awami League on a black and white banner, he had strong reservations about “Jai Bangla”. But eventually the students prevailed.



Who designed the first national flag of Bangladesh? Why no body in the Awami camp recognizes the fact that it was not Mujib but some of the co-accused in the Agartala Case who designed the green, red and golden flag of Bangladesh (and so goes the official Pakistani allegation against the Conspirators-I have got the original document).



Why nobody tells us that A.S.M. Abdur Rab and his associates from Dhaka University first raised the green-red-golden flag on March 2nd at DU Arts Building and later handed it in to Mujib at his Dhanmondi residence? Had Agartala been fabricated, why was there striking similarities between what the Pakistanis had “invented” and the actual flag that appeared on March 2nd, 1971?



THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DISTORTION OF THE LIBERATION WAR IS REGARDING WHO ACTUALLY FIRST DECLARED INDEPENDENCE. THE FACT IS THAT LONG BEFORE MUJIB AND ZIA, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SPONTANEOUSLY CAME OUT ON THE STREET AROUND 1 PM ON MARCH 1ST IMMEDIATELY AFTER YAHYA KHAN’S INFAMOUS DECISION TO PROROGUE THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SESSION SUPPOSED TO MEET ON MARCH 25TH. THERE WERE TWO SLOGANS RAISED BY THE DEMONSTRATORS: “BIR BANGALI ASTRO DHARO, BANGLADESH SWADHIN KARO” AND “CHHAI DAFA NA EK DAFA? EK DAFA-EK DAFA”. I WAS AN EYE WITNESS TO THIS DEMONSTRATION AROUND DHAKA UNIVERSITY AND ELSEWHERE IN THE CITY. THIS MEANS, BENGALIS DECLARED INDEPENDENCE ON MARCH 1. AND I THINK MARCH 1ST SHOULD HAVE BEEN DECLARED AS OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY (THEN WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO THOSE WHO ‘DECLARED” IT ON MARCH 26TH AND 27TH RESPECTIVELY?).



How many Bangladeshis are aware of the fact that Mujib publicly declared “Jai Pakistan” after “Jai Bangla” in several public meetings. I attended one such mammoth meeting at the Race Course Maidan on January 4th 1971. I could not attend the famous March 7th meeting at Race Course where Mujib is said to have uttered “Jai Pakistan”, later deleted by his followers who had gone much ahead of him towards the path of complete liberation.



Despite the popular versions of the story that Mujib declared independence on March 7th and 26th, solid documents tell us an altogether different story. On March 25th Mujib told journalists that his talks with Yahya Khan were “constructive” and “fruitful”. This may be verified through newspapers.



According to the US State papers, released in 1999, Mujib sought US intervention in early March so that Yahya Khan could be forced to transfer power to Awami League, installing Mujib as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He urged Boster, the US consul general in Dhaka (later the first US ambassador to Bangladesh), to do something in this regard otherwise he (Mujib) apprehended the leftists within Awami League (those who later formed the JSD under Major Jalil and Abdur Rab with the blessings of Sirajul Alam Khan) would kill him and install a communist Bangladesh (I have already used this document in an article, “Bangladesh—History”, in the Encyclopedia of Modern Asia, Berkshire Publishers, New York 2003).



Another distortion of Bangladesh history lays in the false claims about Awami League leaders’ and intellectuals’ “dreams” about independent Bangladesh “dreamt” as early as 1948! Kabir Chowdhury, Sufia Kamal, Showkat Usman, Rafiqul Islam (Bengali Prof, DU) and several politicians are the leading “dreamers”. It is an irony that those who admired Jinnah, Pakistan, Ayub Khan, Monem Khan and Ayub’s “Basic Democracy” (and there are documentary evidences to prove my assertion) later claimed to be “freedom fighters” long before the actual fighting started in 1971.



The late Sufia Kamal wrote at least three poems in admiration of Jinnah (one of her poems was in our school text) where she admired Jinnah as “Mahan Neta” (the Great Leader). There is no harm in praising Jinnah in the 1940s even Mujib did so. But what amounts to distortion of history is the convenient deletion of such poems from the complete works of Sufia Kamal. Whoever has done so has distorted the history of our literature.



Do you know that National Professor Kabir Chowdhury publicly touched Ayub’s Governor Monem Khan’s feet in 1965 at Mymensingh Circuit House? If not, read retired CSP P.A. Nazir’s autobiography. While Nazir was the DC of Mymensingh, Chowdhury was the principal of Ananda Mohan College. According to Nazir (and among others, famous Bengali writer, Prof A.K.Fazlul Haque, Bengali Dept. DU) Chowdhury wanted to meet Monem Khan. Accrordingly an interview was arranged and that in front of hundreds of local people, Kabir Chowdhury bent and touched Monem Khan’s feet (qadam busi) telling the Governor that as the principal of the college he would ban all anti-government student politics. Since Kabir Chowdhury has not publicly contradicted P.A.Nazir, we should not question the veracity of the claim. Anyway, what happened soon afterwards was that Kabir Chowdhury was promoted as the director of National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) and “lived happily ever after”. Later on, he became the DG of pro-Ayub/pro-Pakistan Bureau of National Reconstruction (BNR), which promoted Pakistani Nationalism and Integration of the two wings of the country and published “Pakistani/Islamic” trash books and booklets. But what we hear from his post-independence statements is that he had been actively promoting Bengali nationalism since 1948.



Another stalwart of Bengali literature was my teacher, Showkat Usman. In the 1960s he regularly contributed to the pro-Ayub Khan Bengali weekly, Pak Jamhuriyat (Pakistani Democracy). He even toured whole Pakistan with Ayub Khan in a special train to promote Pakistani nationalism. This history has been erased and what we hear is that Showkat Usman since the 1940s opposed Pakistan. What a distortion of history!



Professor Rafiqul Islam of Dhaka University (Bengali) along with the late Prof Nurul Momen (Law Dept, DU, who also wrote several Bengali plays) used to conduct an avowedly anti-Hindu and anti-Indian radio programme after the 1965 War called “Hing Ting Chhat”. Later on we hear that he also dreamt of Bangladesh throughout the Pakistani period! To him, Sheikh Hasina was his “best student” during his entire teaching career at DU.



I give another example of distortion of our history. Captain Mansur Ali (one of the unfortunate victims of the jail massacre in November 1975) was an able, educated Awami League leader with strong principles and commitment to Sheikh Mujib, unlike most of his colleagues in the Mujib cabinet who joined Khondkar Mushtaque cabinet after August 1975. In the latest edition of the Banglapedia we find that Mansur Ali was known with the prefix of “Captain” as he was an honorary captain of the Bengal Regiment in 1948. What a blatant lie! In fact, Mansur Ali was the captain of the Muslim National Guard (an offshoot of the Muslim League) while he was a student at the Aligarh Muslim University in the 1940s. The author of the article on Mansur Ali, for the obvious reason, concealed the fact lest people trace the Captain’s Muslim League connections.



I am not going to dwell on this issue any further. What I am trying here is to point out that Bangladesh history (and for that matter that of India and Pakistan) is full of concoctions, lies, distortions and half-truths. And that fact is always stranger than fiction. While we have so many other unresolved socio-economic and political problems, let us not digress the main issues for the sake of a phony debate as to who declared our independence. It was neither Mujib nor Zia but the people declared independence. And there would have been a Bangladesh without the presence and participation of the Bengal Regiment, EPR and police. A civilian upsurge has been hijacked by the military. Hence almost all the gallantry awards went to members of the armed forces. Half educated majors were overnight promoted into major generals and later into the sole spokesman of the Bengalis. What a disgrace! Let us talk about the exigencies—economic, social and political problems of Bangladesh. Meanwhile we condemn all genres of revisionist writings on our history by members of both the Awami and BNP camps.

Tremendous Work of DR. Immam-Din- Shabaz. By Daniel Khokhar. Sargodha

Immam Din shabaz was born in Zafarwal, Sialkot district, in eastern Punjab, in 1845.His whole family was Muslim and very orthodox in Islamic religious traditions. They belonged to Shia Muslim sect, who are followers of legacy of their early Muslim forefathers but he accepted JESUS CHRIST, as his savior at the age of sixteen in 1861. He was very interested in the teaching of Christianity. From his early child hood, he was desperate to know more about the JESUS CHRIST. At that time in subcontinent (India and Pakistan), in that area of Sialkot, Mission School was working for JESUS CHRIST to convert people to be Christians. This child (Imam Din) had a fertile soil to be seeded of JESUS CHRIST. He started to visit to church, at the same time he was also studying in the HUNTER MEMORIOL CHURCH, established by The Scotch Mission. While he was still studying in the school, he accepted the Jesus Christ as his savior and become Christian and The HONORABLE BISHOP W.G.YOUNG baptized him. He was the only member of his family who accepted Christianity. After seventeen year, he was appointed as a teacher in Hunter Memorial School.

He had a great interest in the poetry. He was poet of excellence and all the people at that time had already admitted his capabilities of writing poetry. Mean time other Christian missions also preached in the area and established churches. Because Immam Din was great poet, he wrote many poems on JUSUS Christ. Pastor ANDREW GARDON, who was the pastor of American Presbyterian Church in Sialkot city, set a foundation for SIALKOT CONGRAGATION. (Later Immam din shabaz was also appointed as Pastor in the same church in 1886). While admitting the capabilities of pastor Immam Din shabaz, Pastor Andrew Gordon set a committee to translate the psalm in URDU, a language spoken by largest population in the Pakistan. Pastor Immam Din Shabaz was included in the committee and sole responsibility was put on his shoulders to carry the objectives of the committee. Along with poetic sense, he also had knowledge of music and composition. Pastor Immam Din started his work and translated the psalm in Urdu and made their compositions on western tunes. This translation was made directly from the HEBREW in to Urdu. This was also a splendid work done under the guidance and supervision of pastor Andrew young. From 1882 to 1887 only 68 psalms were translated under the directions of Pastor Andrew and he was assisted by the Pastor Immam Din shabaz. In 1885, pastor Andrew fell ill and returned to America and died on 13 august, 1888;

After the death of Pastor Andrew, a new pastor, DR. SAMUEL MARTIN, was recomended to make all efforts to complete the remaining work of translations. DR. Samuel Martin reconstituted the committee and in this committee Pastor Immam Din shabaz was selected as leading translator of psalms.

Because, all the translated psalms were in URDU and all the tunes were at the patron on western style, so, this translation did not achieved the familiarity and popularity among the illiterate christian masses. So, thinking on the failure of this translation, Pastor Immam Din Shabaz decided to make the translations of psalm in folk music. Afterward, from 1887 to 1904, Pastor Immam Din shahbaz translated psalm in PUNJABI LANGUAGE, (local language) instead of Urdu, which were liked by the majority of the illiterate Christian congregations in Pakistan.

In 1905, Pastor Immam Din Shabaz went to America, where he received his degree in doctor of divinity from an American university. He returned from America in 1906 and was appointed as Pastor in the FIRST UNITED PRESBYTARIAN CHURCH in Sialkot district. DR Immam Din shabaz was members of the two translation committees earlier, so on his return from America, and he was made the head of the translation committee. In this connection, the SIALKOT MISSION also helped him. This committee was constituted on facts because earlier translations did not received popularity among the masses, so the whole concentration was translating the psalms in PUNJABI LANGUAGE. DR.Immam din shabaz made an excellence work in these years and he not only made translations but he also composed the tunes of translated psalms in locally understandable folk songs. He presented his work in 1908 in SIALKOT CONVENTION. On this occasion the people liked all the songs. The Work of these translated songs break the records of popularity.

In 1916, he was transferred from Sialkot to Bhalwal, as resident pastor and lived with his family in the American Mission Compound. Here he did the tremendous work of his life, which made him a legend. While serving here in Bhalwal, he translated 150 psalms completely in the Punjabi language and he further divided them in 408 different parts and classifications. In those songs, purely local accent was adopted. He used the daily spoken words and folk tones. But, here we find an astonishing fact that all the tunes were adopted from the original Hebrew songs, which is a remarkable work. He was not only a great poet but also a great musician too. When a person listen these songs, one has to admit that he was a great composer of music. He also hired a local musician, whose name was RADHA KISHAN he also had a great knowledge of local tunes and helped DR.Immam Din Shahbaz with his experience in folk music. Many other people also assisted him in this regards which include MR.SADIQ MASIH, a local clergyman and among other include teacher MISS HENRY GARDON, MISS MARRY MARTIN. All these personalities made utmost efforts to make all the songs familiar in the masses. Easpecially they worked in the children's and women's.

In the last days of DR. Immam din shahbaz, he lost his sight and this put him in a dilemma but he was not discouraged and he kept working and completed his mission. While residing in Bhalwal, he was assisted by MR.THAKAR DAS also.

This great Christian died in 1921 and buried in local cemetery of Bhalwal

May the LORD JESUS CHRIST SHOWER HIS BLESSING UPON HIM?



By Daniel khokhar, Bhalwal, Sargodha.

What Happens When A Christian Dies?? By Bill Diehl

To the Bible Discussion Group:



Our discussion this time is again dealing with the "Blessed Hope" of the believer in Christ: the resurrection of the dead and the second coming of Christ. One of the members of our discussion group wrote and asked what is the meaning of the term "first-fruits" in the New Testament. So I am sending out to all of you my reply to him which touches not only on the meaning of this term but also on what the Christian scriptures teach regarding sin, death, atonement, resurrection, and eternal life. Quite a few texts were used to develop this response, but I hope that all of you will find the study joyfully comforting and assuring as you prayerfully read through it for your edification in the Christian faith. Bill Diehl (To be removed from this discussion group, simply reply with "delete" in the subject line)





To my friend Bill G.,



I will try to answer your question about the meaning of our Lord Jesus Christ being called the "first-fruits".



1 Corinthians 15:20-23 "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."



In Christ, type met anti-type as He was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, the day of Passover, as the true spotless Passover Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Christ arose on the 16th of Nisan, the day upon which the children of Israel were to offer the "wave sheaf" of the" first-fruits" of the year's harvest (see Leviticus 23:10-11). Thus, again type met anti-type in that Christ arose on the third day after Passover (Nisan 14, 15, 16) as the "wave sheaf" of the "first fruits" of the harvest. The "harvest" which occurred at the end of the year for the people of ancient Israel is being used by Paul as a symbol or metaphor for the "harvest" will take place at the end of the world when all who have "fallen asleep" in Christ will also arise from the dead just as our Lord arose. The apostle Paul was allegorically or metaphorically applying the term "first-fruits" to refer to Christ as being forerunner of all who arise from the dead. Christ, the "first fruits" arose from the dead before the general harvest at the end of the world. The church of Christ at the "harvest" will be composed of those who are alive without seeing death at His second coming and those who are raised from the dead in the resurrection on the Last Day. This is the full "harvest" of the redeemed of the earth who will make up the Bride of Christ.



The fact that Moses was indeed raised from the dead (Jude 1:9) long before our sinless Lord as the Passover Lamb lived and died and arose again does not prohibit Paul from using this type/anti-type reference to Christ as the "first-fruits" of the harvest. He is using the term "first-fruits" metaphorically as a synonym for a "fore-taster" or "forerunner". Christ Jesus our Lord is indeed the only true "First-fruits" of the harvest in that He alone is the sinless one who alone fulfilled the righteousness demands of the holy Law of God for us and became forerunner of all who will be raised from the dead by virtue of His imputed righteousness and holiness.



God promised in Eden after the Fall of Adam that the "Seed of the woman" would crush the Serpent's head. Because of God's eternal covenantal promise in Eden that Christ, the "Seed", would live and die and arise again from the dead, Moses along with Enoch and Elijah were able to go bodily into heaven even though Christ's atonement for sin was yet many years in the future to their time on earth . Thus, to apply the term "first-fruits of them who slept" to our Lord does not mean that Moses or even those who arose from the grave at the crucifixion of our Lord could not have arisen from the grave before Christ's resurrection. (See: Matthew 27:50-53 "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.")



Christ is the unique "first-fruits" of the dead because he is in all things the Unique Pre-eminent One, "First-born (prototokos) from the dead" and the "only begotten Son" (monogenes) who has tasted death for all men. In Him, we who repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ's blood have all been brought to perfection through His sinless life and atoning death on the cross of Calvary. Because of who He was, Christ is the only "First-fruits" of the dead.



This term "first-fruits" is again used metaphorically in the scriptures to also describe the church of Christ as those who are uniquely set apart through faith in the blood of Christ to be the heirs of salvation.



James 1:18 "Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures."



In John's prophetic symbolic description of the Christian church in Revelation 14 we again see the metaphorical use of the term "first-fruits" to describe believers from every age who have put their faith in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the true "First-fruits" of the church, the Head or Ruler, "arche" of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14).



Revelation 14:1-5 "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the FIRST-FRUITS unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."



Revelation 1:17-18 "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,"



So we see that our Lord is given many metaphorical titles or names to describe Him. "First-fruits" is merely one of many titles. "Only Begotten Son", the "First-born (prototokos) from the dead", the "Alpha and the Omega", the First and the Last, the "Light of the World", the "Word (Logos) of God", the "Branch of David", the "Morning Star", the "Messenger of the Covenant", the "True Witness", the "Lamb of God", etc, etc, etc. These titles all give us a glimpse of who our Lord and Saviour is.



Those who falsely teach that all men are immortal by nature because humans supposedly have an "immortal soul or spirit" which can never die are merely echoing the lie of the deceiver in the Garden, "Ye shall NOT surely die". We are told in the word of God that God only has immortality. (1 Timothy 6:15 ...who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords 16 who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power eternal.) The saints will have immortality at His coming when "this mortal shall put on immortality" BUT only because we will again have access to the tree of life by God's unmerited grace alone.



Revelation 2:7 "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." God barred the human family from the tree of life after the Fall . As Genesis 3:22-24 tells us: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."



2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:



Read the following quote from Genesis 5:5-20, 25-31. From the meaning of the words high-lighted in red. Do you think that the Lord might be trying to tell us something about what happened to the human family when, as a result of the Fall, it was denied access to the tree of life???



"And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel: And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died." "And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed. And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died."



Now let's look at the New Testament:



The young man whom our Lord raised from the dead was not called back to this world from a conscious spirit existence in heaven. If this young man had died and gone to the glory of heaven why would it be a blessing to come back to life in this sin-darkened old world?? The fact is that he was raised from the sleep of death, not from a glorious existence in heaven as a "spirit" :



Luke 7:12-15 "Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, 'Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.' And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother."



The young maiden in the gospels who was asleep in death was not called back from a spirit existence in heaven to once again live on this earth. It was the breath of life which returned to her body, not a conscious immortal "spirit" or ghost. While those ignorant of the hope of the resurrection stood about mourning her death, our Lord went to her dead body and took her by the hand and awakened her from her sleep to live again. For the believer, death is merely a sleep from which our Lord shall awaken us:



Luke 8:52 And all were weeping, and bewailing her: but he said, Weep not; for she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he, taking her by the hand, called, saying, Maiden, arise. 55 And her spirit (pneuma - breath) returned, and she rose up immediately: and he commanded that something be given her to eat. 56 And her parents were amazed: but he charged them to tell no man what had been done.



Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26 "While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, 'My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.' And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land."



Now let's look at how Paul viewed death. When did he teach that believers shall become immortal? At the moment of death? or at the moment of the second coming of Christ on the Last Day? Notice his counsel to the Corinthian church and how he views death, immortality, and the resurrection on the Last Day. There is not even a hint that Paul looked to go to heaven as a bodiless "spirit". Paul's hope is for the resurrection at the Last day as the reward of the believer in Christ!!



1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the resurrected believers) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.



1 Corinthian 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished....



19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for (Greek: huper: concerning, dealing with, referring to) the dead?



In verse 29, Paul is saying those baptized Christian who have died in the faith would have no hope if the dead rise not. Their hope is in the resurrection, not in a conscious "spirit" existence apart from the body!!!



30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It (the body: see verse 35) is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.



When does the Christian receive the glorified spiritual body? At the resurrection. Notice that Paul does not say that we will be "spirits" in heaven. He says that we will have a spiritual or heavenly body just as our Lord had a glorified heavenly body after his ascension into heaven to sit on His Father's throne. Paul is NOT even suggesting that we will be merely spirits.



1 Corinthians 15:51 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? {grave: or, hell} The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."



1 Corinthians 15:21 "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."



2 Corinthians 4:14ff "Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this (body) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked . 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest (down payment) of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.



When shall we be "present with the Lord"???



1 Thessalonians 2:19 "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?"



Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.



Philippians 1:20-23 "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."



When will Paul be with the Christ? He answers this in chapter 3:10, 20-21



Philippians 3:10 "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."



Philippians 3:20-21 "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."



Even a child can see that Paul is not looking for some disembodied "spirit existence" after death apart from a physical body. He is looking and earnestly longing to be "clothed" with his immortal body at the second coming of Christ when Paul would be "present with the Lord". When Paul states that he is willing rather to be "absent from the body", he is referring to his earthly tabernacle so that he might be clothed with his "heavenly" house or tabernacle.



Here are a few more texts to consider regarding how the word of God describes death.



Acts 7:57 But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit (pneuma - breath of life). 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.



Acts 13:32 And we bring you good tidings of the promise made unto the fathers, 33 that God hath fulfilled the same unto our children, in that he raised up Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he hath spoken on this wise, I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David. 35 Because he saith also in another psalm, Thou wilt not give Thy Holy One to see corruption. 36 For David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, fell asleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man is proclaimed unto you remission of sins: 39 and by Him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses



"Spirit" also used in scripture in the sense of a "life force" or "vitality" or "feelings":



Judges 15:19 But God clave the hollow place that is in Lehi, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore the name thereof was called En-hakkore, which is in Lehi, unto this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.



1 Samuel 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before Jehovah. 16 Count not thy handmaid for a wicked woman; for out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken hitherto. 17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant thy petition that thou hast asked of him



1 Samuel 30:11 And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; 12 And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.



1 Kings 10:4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 5 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her. 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom



1 Kings 21:5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread? 6 And he said unto her.....



Matthew 26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.



Ephesians 4:20 But ye did not so learn Christ; 21 if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: 22 that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth



Philippians 4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit . (ASV)



Philippians 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. (KJV)



"Breath" In the Old Testament as the Breath of Life:



Psalms 104:29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. 30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created



Job 34:12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. 13 Who hath given Him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? 14 If He set his heart upon man, if He gather unto Himself his spirit and his breath;15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. KJV



Job 33:4 The Spirit of God hath made me, And the breath of the Almighty giveth me life.



Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.



Genesis 6:17 And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon this earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is in the earth shall die.



Genesis 7:21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both birds, and cattle, and beasts, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life,



1 Kings 17:17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath (nesh-aw-maw: wind) left in him. 18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul (Nephesh: life) come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul (Nephesh: life) of the child came into him again, and he revived.



The meaning of "give up the ghost" in the Old and New Testament



When the phrase "give up (or yield up) the ghost" is used in the Old Testament, the word used is "gaw-vah" meaning "to breath out".



Genesis 35:29 And Isaac gave up the ghost (gaw-vah: breathed out), and died (mooth), and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.



Genesis 25:17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost (gaw-vah: breathed out) and died (mooth); and was gathered unto his people.



Job 10: 18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost (gawvah: breathed out), and no eye had seen me! 19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.



The use of "gaw-vah" meaning "to breath out" to express death is consistent with the Genesis account of the creation of all living things as having the "breath of life" from God when they are created and given life. Upon death the person gives up this breath of life and "breaths out" his life or as we would say today, "expires", (from the word "expiration" or "exhale")



Genesis 7:21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died (mooth).



In the New Testament: the writers used the same phrase "give up the ghost" as found in the Old Testament. In translating the phrase into Greek they used the noun "pneuma" as in a breath of air.



Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost (pneuma - breath or spirit).



John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost (noun: pneuma - breath or spirit).



Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against Him, saw that He so cried out, and gave up the ghost (verb: "exepneusen" - breathed out)........



The writers of the New Testament also used the Greek word, "ekpsucho" to convey the phrase "give up the ghost" as a synonym of "exepneo". A direct translation into English could be "He so cried out, and His life (psucho) expired". "Self" here used as one's life, person, or being. So it is clear that the phrase "gave up the ghost" did not imply that the person left his body as an immortal spirit able to live on without the body. James clearly tells us this in his epistle



James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit (pneuma: breath) is dead, so faith without works is dead also. {spirit: or, breath}



When Stephen was murdered by the Jews, the author of Acts is not telling us that Stephen's "immortal soul" left his body and went on to live in heaven. Luke is telling us that as Stephen falls asleep in death, he humbly acknowledges that his life is the gift of God's grace and invites God to receive it back until the resurrection day when Stephen will awake from the sleep of death. All believers who are trusting in the blood of Jesus have their names and lives written in the Lamb's book of life and will live again on the Last Day. God does not forget His own. There names are written upon His heart. Luke 10:20b "rejoice, because your names are written in heaven!"



Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit (pneuma). 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, 'Lord, lay not this sin to their charge'. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.



Finally we will briefly examine our Lord's statements regarding eternal life and living for ever. From the following texts it is clear that eternal life for the repentant believer in Jesus comes at the day of resurrection on the Last Day, not at the day of death. Christ makes it clear that the believer shall live again, not as a disembodied spirit but as a resurrected person with a glorified body. The Lord tells us that, though we die, yet we shall live; the believer merely sleeps, unaware of the passage of time, awaiting God's tomorrow at the last trump and the voice of the Archangel.



John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day..... 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day......50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him . 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.



John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?



To summarize the Biblical view of death:



Article of Faith # 9.



Immortality and Eternal Life



We believe that the "just shall ‘live’ by faith". All who are justified by God’s unmerited grace alone through faith alone in the sinless life and atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ alone have the verdict and promise of eternal life and immortality. Just as the believer is reckoned perfectly righteous by faith alone, even so we have the gift of immortality by faith alone. The life and righteousness that we possess now are merely the small down payment of the righteousness and immortal life that we will have "by sight" at His coming.



Death to the believer is a mere moment of sleep from which we shall arise to be like Him. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall put on perfect righteousness and immortality at the Last Trump.



In water baptism, Christians are "buried" in the likeness of our Lord’s death and "arise" in the likeness of His resurrection. Even so, we who fall asleep in death shall arise on the Last Day to everlasting life through the promise of the resurrection. Death entered the creation through Adam’s sin and so "in Adam all die". After the fall of Adam, the flaming sword hedged the way to the Tree of Life so that Man could no longer eat of its fruit and "live forever". But that flaming sword of judgment has pierced our Savior’s side, so that at Christ’s second coming the Tree of Life will once again feed the sons and daughters of God. Then we shall shout, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?" Death has been swallowed up in victory through the blood of Calvary!!



God bless you my friend,

Bill Diehl

www.PresentTruthMag.com

Present Truth Magazine

Present Truth World Radio

Report of Italian Study Trip 17 Nov. to 22 Dec. 2002. By S Michael.

By Grace of God I got another opportunity to go to Italy. I went there in the city of San Giovanni Arezzo a small city of Toscana to attend the Italian Language Course of 80 hours. This trip was actually became possible due to the scholarship of the school for the foreigners called Sillabo in San Giovanni Italia. They offered one scholarship for attending Italian Language Course in their school to those students who performed well during the course before in Pakistan. According to my result I did good and Prof. Laura Fioretta as an eligible candidate for this scholarship recommended me. Along with Sillabo an Italian NGO working for the blind called Apostolic Movement for the Blind [Movimento Apostolico Ciechi (MAC)] provided me residential facilities with the co-operation of community of Pop John 23rd in San Giovanni I stayed with Signora Nadia Campoli the secretary of community of Pop John 23rd.



I reached on Rome airport (Fiumicino) on 17th of Nov. 2002 in the evening from there I first reached to Arezzo by train and then by car of one of the member of our host organization in San Giovanni in house of my host Nadia Campoli. Right of the next day 18th Nov. I started to go to school with the support of the volunteer of Caritas San Giovanni Sig. Paolo Fiani. This course lasted for four weeks comprising on 80 hours. Monday to Friday we had lessons for four hours each day whereas each Saturday we had a cultural trip to any cultural city or historical place. In the 1st week of the course I felt some uncomfortness to adjust within the foreigners and to study but later I became active and satisfied my teachers. There were students of different countries with me mainly from Japan, Australia, Mexico and Iceland. On the certificate issue to me my teachers gave me level of intermedium, which is consider more satisfactory performance in Italy. In terms of cultural trips I visited different cities including Florence, Pizza, Voltera, and Montevarchi etc. At the end of the course we had small celebration in which we celebrated farewell party and Christmas celebrations it was amusing and emotional party in which the students and teachers exchanged their sentiments of friendship and their determination to keep on learning and improving Italian. At personal level after the school I remained in touch with two organizations Caritas and the community of Pop John 23rd in order to learn type and dimensions of social work in Italy. I also remained busy with my host organization Movimento Apostolico Ciechi in different meetings and informed them about my progress of studies of Doctorate in Sociology on minorities' issues in Pakistan and we discussed other matters of mutual interests in several meetings held in Arezzo and other parishes of Diocese of Toscana. On one Sunday I read prayers and attentions before the audience in the church after the sermon of the priest. It was encouraging for me to speaking in Italian before the audience during the mass. In the evening I had an opportunity to walk around with the active girls and boys of the team of volleyball of San Giovanni to be familiar with cultural aspects. I also continued to visit different Parishes and participated in religious gatherings and community meetings. I visited almost every possible aspects of Italian culture and tried to make full use of this trip. I also participated in couple of programs of couple of social developmental organizations, which help me to learn little bit about my interest of activities of social development. I participated in couple of musical concerts which was polite and thrilling experience for me and through these I developed interest to learn guitar in a future even I can play piano now. I also visited Loppiano a Centre of Focolare movement twice. There I met with Pakistani focolarians and with other foreign focolarians. It was spiritually inspiring experience for me because it was my dream to go to Loppiano in search of an ideal of love of Chiara Lubic and of God Jesus Christ.



In short it was successful and learning trip for me I captured good memories of my school, teachers, and students. I also developed good relations and friendship with some young boys and girls with whom I can continue to learn and improve Italian via Internet etc. I talked a lot about the Pakistani culture and about the Christians and other minorities in Pakistan in meetings, class participation and private gatherings. Last but not least I improved my Italian a lot. I got familiar with the actual accent and tried to pronouns and speak over there, which can be helpful for me to learn Italian in depth. I think in this way in future perhaps I can find some work related to Italian Language either in Pakistan or Italy for any Italian NGO or church. At the same time this is also true that one month was very short but I would love to go there for some long period first for some studies in human rights, community development or social development if I will get the chance in the future. Everyone engaged with me was very kind and they helped and supported me beyond my expectations. I really want to thank to my teacher of Italian in Pakistan Prof. Laura Fioretta for her technical assistance in order to make this all possible. I also want to thank Il Sillabo (school for foreigners of Italian Language and culture) and Movemento Apostolico Ciechi who helped me to do this course, which was not possible without their co-operation. Last but not least I also wish to thanks Signora Nadia Campoli for providing me hospitality and other related support and also to Sig. Paolo Fiani of Caritas San Giovanni for assisting during my stay. I hope and wish to improve my Italian in future either in Pakistan or in Italy to do something for the promotion of Italian culture through out the world with my professional knowledge of sociology.

Sabir Michael Reports on his Educational and Academic Trip to UK of April 2002

By grace of God like in the past I got an opportunity to go to United Kingdom. I was invited by International Interfaith Center which organized a conference on Religious Freedom on 6th and 7th April 2002 at Harris Manchester College Oxford UK. I mana
1. To participate in a conference on Religious Freedom organized by International Interfaith Center.



2. To visit organizations that is working for Minority's Rights and their development.



3. To do research work of M.Phil/Ph.D. in different libraries in UK.



4. To have an opportunity to have some tourism of beautiful United Kingdom.



My first major activity in UK was to participate in a conference. Different National and International NGOs to discuss the phenomenon of Religious Freedom attended the conference. The main theme of the conference was that the Religious Freedom is Freedom of Belief and expressions. It has got connection with the legal and political environment and system of the particular state that determines how the people are capable to act upon their religious values and rituals. Religious Freedom is fundamental right of the masses that must be granted equally. The participants were of the view that there is strong need to promote interfaith and inter-religious social interaction within the



Religious communities. The conference raised strong criticism against the French Religious discriminatory laws. I raised a point to promote social and religious harmony in the states relating it with the solo economic development of the under marginalized people. I suggested that there should be planned socio economic and developmental projects within the communities through the people's organizations focusing on the activities of social interaction within the different religious and minority groups. In the evening session of the conference I was allowed 20 minutes for my presentation in which I underlined the contents of my on going research and described the present situation of minorities focusing on socio economic aspects of their lives. The participants raised questions highlighting discrimination and prejudice within the Punjabi and Anglo community in Pakistan. The participants also noted isolation within the religious communities and minorities in Pakistan. Anyhow I replied their questions confidently and urged international organizations to pay attention towards the upliftment of the under marginal socio religious groups. In the conference the problem of minorities



Relating to the Tibet and Sikh community were especially discussed. I got new ideas, new relations and contacts in this conference along with enhancement of my confidence.



After the conference I came back to London from the Oxford and kept myself busy in my doctoral research work. I got a membership of British Library UK where I spent most of my time but also in the libraries of couple of other Universities including University of London etc. I was able to collect some research material that will prove helpful in my ongoing research work. I also visited some organizations, which are working for minority's rights and development. First of all I visited Minority Right Group. I shared my research with them grasped their ideas, methodology and collected some research material from them. Later I visited Amnesty International London with their research experts. I also got chance to visit Human Right unit of common Wealth and the Head of Political Division of Common Wealth Mr. Sharfudin and discussed with him about my research work and took his interview on the stand of Common Wealth towards minority and human rights with special reference to Pakistan. I also discussed the minority issue with the general public in the streets of London, which was really wonderful experience for me. I also participated in a budget session of The British Parliament as well as the on going session of House of Lords. This was really good experience for me. I also visited famous places of London, which include Height Park Corner Royal Palaces, British Museum etc. I went to visit couple of Islands in the countryside of UK with my friends over there. Which include Olive White Island and Swanage Island. This was fabulous experience for me. I also met with high officials of Catholic Church particularly Bishop of London. I also availed a chance to visit some projects of such organizations, which were working for the child rights and development. Mean while I continue to visit professional organizations of the social workers and couple of departments of social work of different Universities. I had also good experience and exposure with Sikh community based in London. I spent some time with Sikh organization called "Fateh." I was invited in their couple of temples to address the gathering on peace and International Religion. I found my presentations very good on the base of responses of the audience. I was also invited on local Sikh radio called "Sikh Sagar". I was allowed one hour to discuss my research activities, situation of minorities in Pakistan, peace and international religion and about my struggle to get higher education. I also answered live telephone calls during this one-hour live show.



After the conference I came back to London where I first of all struggled to manage some persons who may be able to help me to walk around and to help me in my studies. Anyhow I got some support from Focolare movement London and they provided me the support of the personals occasionally. I got the membership of British Library for 5 years and continued my research work in British Library and Universities of London and collected some research materials. Similarly I visited some NGOs including Minority Right Group, Human Right Common Wealth Unit, Racial and Equality Commission UK and Catholic Charity for the Homeless Children etc. I also visited the representative of Pakistan in Common Wealth I also met with Head of Political Wing of Common Wealth Mr. Sharaf-U-Din. I collected some research materials from these organizations as well. Along with all this I visited the London off and on with my friends. I participated in the budget session of the British House of Common and also visited the Royal Palaces and other historical buildings and monuments. I also visited to islands with the purpose of tourism. During this stay I developed good relations with Sikh community in UK. I participated in their religious services and addressed the Public gathering in the two temples. I also gave two interviews on the sky satellite radio channel of the Sikh community called Sikh Sagar. In these interviews and addresses I spoke about the socio economic condition of minorities in sub-continent. And the need of socio religion and spiritual movement to peace and interfaith harmony.



I could manage to get following achievements.



¨ I got new ideas about religious freedom and minority rights.



¨ I established and enhanced new contacts.



¨ I collected some research material that will be incorporated in my research thesis.



I was lucky to find my old friends with whom I had good time and tourism in London. I got new vision and dimensions of social development after visiting the social development workers and organizations of UK that will help me to do some positive work in Pakistan. I felt boost in my confidence after this trip. I also captured real picture of life of UK and found that life is not easy there and this is better to make strong efforts to adjust and settle in socio economic environment of Pakistan rather than dreaming of first world countries.



In this tour many people and organizations supported me I really want to thank Citizen Foundation who provided me support for managing airfare with the mediation role of Mrs.Tahira Khan of Beacon House School System. In this regard I also want to thank Bishop of Karachi, Franciscan Missionaries in Karachi and my friend Benjimen Paskal and Mr. Herman of Bible Society. Last but not least I want to thank to my close friend Malik Ghulam Fareed who lives in London provided me accommodation and all the rest expenditures. I also want to thank Focolare Movement London who provided me an individual during my research and to walk around in London. In the end I thanks to My God and wish that every good student may able to get such useful opportunities for career development.

Report of Educational and Academic Trip of United Kingdom (UK) 4th July to 17th July 2002

In the month of July 2002 I again found an opportunity to go to UK to continue my on going research activities. The funding was provided by some friends in UK and from couple of friends in Pakistan for the airfare I traveled by PIA on discount fare a
I was able to see some charities (NGOs) in UK working in the different fields of social development, which are working on minority rights, family planning and youth development. First of all I met with London based organization working for the facilitation to the Pakistani Christian community in terms of providing them support in legal and settlement matters. I met with Nasir Saeed Co-ordinator Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement (CLASS). Mr. Nasir Saeed was working on the preparation of report on minority's situation in Pakistan. I informed him required information during mutual discussion focusing on the socio economic conditions of the minorities. This organization CLASS showed their interest to start their work in Karachi with my possible support.



The Minority Rights Group (MRG) is a prominent charity in UK in minority's issues. I met with their research co-ordinator for Asia Ms. Shelina Thawer in the head office of Minority Rights Group. We discussed activities of this charity in Asia. I was informed that Minority Rights Group is going to publish their first report on Pakistan related to minorities in coming few months. I identified areas to work in terms of research and community work for the MRG. I shared with them my research and future plans wishing to participate actively in the programs of the MRG expected to be started in Pakistan in near future. After this I visited the head offices of International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF), which is a funding charity that is working all around the world on population planning and youth development. The Family Planning Association of Pakistan in which I am member of Youth Development group Jeat Caravan is also working as a partner of IPPF London. I met with Mr. Mohammad Imtiaz Programme Co-ordinator South Asia Regional Office IPPF and Ms. Carel dealing Human Rights and Reproductive Health issues. I informed them on going activities of the Youth Group of Karachi as well as its past activities. I also informed them about the on going activities of FPAP Karachi as an out side observer. Mr. Imtiaz and other staff were quite move positively after visiting me on the performance of Jeat Caravan. I received wonderful response from the office and almost everyone in the office received and treated me warmly. They were happy and were of the view that it's amazing that someone starts his careers as a volunteer and come to us at his own. They took it as a sign of great performance of FPAP for boosting the moral of the youth and to provide them an opportunity to develop their acquired knowledge and skills. They said that they considered me as a product of youth activities of Jeat Caravan. I was informed of the administrative infrastructure of the IPPF at National and International level. The representative of the IPPF also shared their current working strategies with me. They encouraged me a lot to continue the work with current enthusiasm and Mr. Imtiaz asks me to be in contact with him. They also pre-tested one questionnaire about the FPAP south Asia and Pakistan with me which was also very interesting exercise. I informed them about the technical support provided by FPAP Karachi Youth Section, which also inspired them. On the whole I spent two to three hours in their offices receiving amazing protocol as a volunteer of Jeat Caravan and as a young visitor. I think my visit will increase the confidence and image of IPPF of FPAP Pakistan especially of Jeat Caravan. I also talked with them about the present ongoing performance of Youth Help line, which also inspired them. I discussed with them how I talked about local radio channel about the work of Jeat Caravan and Youth Help line.



Later I visited couple of organizations working for the Blind people in UK specially working in the field of computer training and development for the blind. I visited Royal National Institute for the Blind and saw all the electronic aids available for the blind to support them to enhance their professional capabilities. I saw computers, electronic talking dictionaries and diaries and portable note taker multi function electronic machine supporting the blind people to carry on their professional and business work with the full command. In RNIB I met with Mr. Parish and Mark who gave me all the briefings they also informed me about the International Exhibition which was going to be held on 16th July 2002 in Birmingham and invited me to participate in it. This exhibition was held in Birmingham in which all the International companies displayed their all the available products to support the blind people. This was wonderful experience in which I developed relations with Catholic Blind Services UK I spent whole day there and looked for future prospects for me in terms of computer training.



I also visited the Head Offices of BBC Bush House in London and met with Mr. Nasir Abbas Editor BBC Urdu. I spent one hour with them and observe how the transmission for Pakistan in Urdu is worked out. I also discussed with them about the activities of my research project of Ph.D. and shared my views on social and minority's issues focusing on socio economic aspects. I have been very respectful to the BBC since my childhood because it is an important radio channel that helped me a lot to understand the international scenario in terms of politics, economic and social sciences. It was like a dream's fulfillment for me to visit and to have coffee with them.



In regard to the visits of Catholic Church in the UK I visited Children Welfare Society of Dioceses of Westminster London where my one friend is Deputy Director. I visited their couple of projects that this charity is running for the homeless children. I moreover participated in annual general meeting of Catholic Church Association of Racial Justice this is a charity commissioned by Catholic Church to promote racial justice in multi cultural British society focusing on youth. This was wonderful experience to observe how the charities in first world work and how they organize their programs. I met with some human rights activists and visited Bishop Trip former president of this Charity and Present Director Mr. Steven Caurier and discussed with them my other activities and back at home. I had also an opportunity to visit Lords Cricket Ground, which is considered a holy place of Cricket. We also visited Head Offices of International Cricket Council (ICC) and met with their Pubic Relation Staff in a guided tour. I saw scientific and modern media center of Lords Cricket Ground and walk all around feeling proud for being at very important international stadium.



Last but not least on the vary last day I visited Mr. John Batle Advisor to the Prime Minister UK on Interfaith and Minority Issues in House of Common Parliament of United Kingdom I was received by Secretary of the John Batle. First of all John Batle walked around with me through the different sections of the Parliament and later we had coffee and formal discussion for almost 100 minutes. I asked from him about the viewpoint of British Government on situation of minorities in Pakistan and UK and informed him from the views and my on going research on minorities' issues he raised some questions during the discussion of my research. He agreed with me to start some work for the minorities at grass root level. In this duration we also discussed some other prevailing national and international issues related to the international politics, economy, social development and interfaith issues. This was good privilege for me, which boosted my confidence I also informed him about the organizations that are working for the minorities in Pakistan and their actual working situation in my views. I wished him to focus on Pakistan and India at community level to promote interfaith harmony by involving real community leadership both of Sub-Continent and UK. I also suggested him to focus on socio economic development the people of sub continent that will ultimately promote peace and unity among the masses. The purpose of this visit was to know about the on going activities of the British Govt. on interfaith issues to clarify concept of interfaith and to clarify my concept.



In terms of results I can say this trip was 70% successful for me. I can summarize acquired advantages in following:



1. I improved my English skill.



2. I collected some research material for my M.Phil/Ph.D.



3. I visited some new people of different walks of life and establish my contact with them that will be helpful in future.



4. This time I stayed with English family that's why I was able to observe typical English life.



5. I came to know how organizations in first world countries work and conduct their programmes.



6. This tour helped me to understand the social welfare setup of Church in UK.



7. This trip helped me in finding some educational research and academic support from some intellectual scholars.



8. This trip helped me to understand the setup of Charities (NGOs) in UK.



9. I was able to learn the general prevailing concept about the people of Pakistan in the minds of English people and got many new ideas about different aspects of social life.



10. I was also able to establish contact with new charities (NGOs), which will increase my networking skill.



In short this was useful trip and besides above benefits it help me to boost my confidence to work at international level and to participate and represent specific organization and Pakistan across the world. I will try to incorporate all this learning's of this trip unlike last one in my professional life and later.



Reported By:

Sabir Michael

Bishop John Joseph Was Killed by government agencies or Muslim militant groups.

* Post Research Team, Investigations. * Fr. Yaqoob's Testimony Was Under Pressure. * Vatican Declared Suicide A Sin. * Catholic Encyclopedia Define Suicide A Sin. * Commission to Probe Into Killing Under Supreme Court Justice.
The anniversary of Bishop john Joseph is again on head but still his killers are at large. The true followers of Bishop Joseph are still waiting that culprits shall be brought to justice and duly punished under law. The eyes of those true Christians are on that social and political leadership came in existence on the shoulders of that brave, courageous and able religious and political leader of Pakistani Christians. Unfortunately those parasites are working for their own benefits and forgotten the valuable great mission of bishop john Joseph. Now they daily issue press releases, hold press conferences and walk in Christian society with honor by the funds and resources created by that great man for them around the world but the efforts of that are in vain. These parasites have never dared to settle the blood of Bishop John Joseph still crying in wilderness for justice. The blood of Bishop John Joseph is also on heads of so called:



Human Right Commission of Pakistan

Liberation Front

Commission of Justice and Peace

Bishops Conference of Pakistan

Clement George ex. MNA

Peter John Sohtra Ex. MANA

Johnson Ex MPA

Dubarra

And

All those who were funded by Bishop John Joseph for in best interest on Christians but same turned out for their personal benefits are responsible for his killing on their part if they fail to bring his killers to justice.



The news of murder of Bishop John Joseph was learned with grief and anger around the world on May 7,1998, for confirmation, when I contacted agency France press in New York and wished to record my condolence and demand to arrest the killers, the news manager Informed that situation is contrary to my comments as the catholic church of Pakistan have issued a press note that Bishop John Joseph have committed suicide as a protest on death sentence under blasphemy law to Ayub Mash from Sahewal. The news agencies dispatched my opinion and widely published in international press, that possibility of government agencies can not he ruled out in assassination of Bishop John Joseph and killers may be arrested immediately. On May 25, 1988 the Christian community of North America organized a protest rally before United Nation offices, where again I demanded the probe in to killing of Catholic Bishop John Joseph by a commission, headed by a justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan.



The facts behind my views expanded on decades of experiences witnessed on working of Bishop John Joseph, the true believer of liberation theology and impressions of Bishop Toto of South Africa, in ways of his struggle.



I knew him when he was in Karachi seminary where I used to visit one of my friends, a brother in priesthood training and he becomes rector of the same seminary later on. I liked him when an article appeared in news paper daily Jang Karachi that he is working on Urdu dictionary research which introduced him as a scholar and general Christian appreciated him.



In 1970, the Christians of Pakistan, realized that Catholic Church of Pakistan is dominated by GAO and Anglo Indian Christian minority and they are enjoying the privileges of education and social welfare under Catholic Church Administration and Punjabi catholic in Catholic Church are neglected being in majority.



All the catholic Bishops were from GOA catholic minority and such measures were adopted to keep away the Punjabi catholic majority from seminaries, school, hospital and church based social welfare organization administration. The Punjabi catholic Christian started protest on having a Punjabi bishop in Pakistan in 1972 when Goa bishop's conference signed an agreement with government on nationalization of missionary school, college and hospitals. The majority of catholic Christians were unhappy on this decision and protested against government as well as church administration, keeping in view the situation, the Vatican decided to make a new catholic diocese of Faisal Abad in 1980 and Fr. john Joseph become the first Punjabi Christian bishop of this diocese. The catholic community had great hopes from this Punjabi bishop and Bishop John Joseph organized social, youth and political groups funded by him in Faisalabad.



He invested generously in the election campaigns of Clement George and John Peter Sohtra, who won elections of MNA and blasphemy laws were legislated in the presence of these church supported members of parliament, due to which Bishop John Joseph was much annoyed and started funding, an ordinary youth to establish a 'Front', paying the press conferences, tours and function bills of said Front, to built pressure group on his funded elected members of National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies.



His involvement in political affairs of Christian's, encouraged a Rev: father Julius to seek permission from Goan Bishop of Lahore on gunpoint and to provide the election funds. Many relatives and friends of Bishop John Joseph put pressure on him to funding non-government organizations and to establish the future funding recommendations from western countries, his nephew Johnson demanded funds for election of provincial assembly and catholic vote bank support. When the Vatican provided him with the funds for Christian Muslim dialogues the' naukar shahi' enjoyed those funds too.



Bishop john Joseph was a Christian warrior in Pakistan. When he experienced that his funded social, religious and political elements always bargain on principal with government for personnel benefits and his ambition to become a legend and milestone in Christian history of Pakistan, he stepped forward and led. The processions in person against conviction of Manzoor and other blasphemy laws victims and later on against the inclusion of religion column in national identity card.



Its facts that he was fond of leadership and always ready to take daring steps to prove himself the religious as well as the political leader of the Christians. Before discussing the tragic incident of May 6,1998, we must keep in mind that Bishop John Joseph was a scholar of Catholicism as well as a courageous leader and coward step of SUICIDE can not be expected from such a warrior, who's life is full of struggle as a poor student of remote village as priest for his congregation, as a Bishop for his diocese and as politician care for his nation. Now we shall investigate the facts; as, This Press Note;



Rev. Dr. John Joseph, 66, Catholic Bishop of Faisalabad and a high profile human Rights activist, was found dead in the dark corridors of a session's court in Sahiwal at about 9:30 p.m. on 6 May 1998, he came here to protest against the death sentence recently given to Ayub Masih on 27 April for blaspheming Islam. This is the same spot where Ayub Masih, a Christian of his diocese, was shot at on 6 November 1997. Bishop John Joseph traveled to the city of Sahiwal in the afternoon of 6 May from his residence in Faisalabad. He went to address a prayer meeting for the Christian parishioners there specially organized for the victims of blasphemy Cases.



Since the early 1990s when Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code was Amended, making the death sentence mandatory for the offense of blaspheming Islam, dozens of non-Muslims have fallen victims to the often-abused blasphemy Laws. And the bishop was deeply shocked by Ayub verdict.



Reverend Joseph presided over the diocese of Faisalabad and was an outspoken leader in the fight for freedoms for all Christians in Pakistan. He had stood by the side of others accused of blasphemy. Only days after well-known Christian Ayub Masih were sentenced to death, Rev. Joseph called the diocese of Faisalabad to pray and fast for Ayub Masih. At dinnertime on 6 May, Bishop John Joseph had little appetite as according to the parish priest, Fr. Yaqoob Farooq, O.P. After others had had their meals, the bishop asked Fr. Yaqoob to accompany him to the spot of the courthouse Where Ayub Masih was shot at exactly six months ago. On reaching close to the Vicinity of the session's court, the bishop asked Fr. Yaqoob to stay back and Went to the spot himself. Moments after, Fr. Yaqoob heard a gun shot. He then Rushed to the spot and found the bishop dead and had gun shot in the neck. According to Fr. Yaqoob, Bishop John Joseph was instantly dead.



* Immediate Reaction Of Christians.



On hearing the news of the bishops death, the Christian populace of the city Gathered at the spot in the courthouse. As of 12:35 a.m. of 7 May, the Christians there refused to remove the dead body until the prime minister would come personally to express his sorrow. Bishop John Joseph, a human rights Activist well known locally and internationally, was the founding chairperson of The National Commission for Justice and Peace under the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan, and he remained in office since it establishment in 1984.



Christians mourning the death of Bishop John Joseph Police in the Pakistan city of Faisalabad have used tear gas to disperse a crowd mourning the city's Roman Catholic bishop, DR John Joseph, who committed suicide on Wednesday to protest against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Several thousand mourners had accompanied the body of the bishop, DR John Joseph, from his home village of Khush Pur to the church in Faisalabad where it is to lie until his funeral on Sunday. The police Said they used tear gas after people began throwing stones at shops.



Court case prompted protest Bishop Joseph was chairman of a human rights commission established by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Pakistan He shot he in the head in the corridors of a courthouse where a Pakistani Catholic, Ayub Masih, was convicted and sentenced to death on April 27 for committing blasphemy in a public place. Bishop Joseph was said to have been distraught over Masih's verdict and the way the trial was conducted, and had threatened to protest in an "astonishing" way unless the government repealed the death sentence. Dr. Joseph - Bishop of Faisalabad since 1981 - published an open letter on Thursday, urging fellow Christians, Muslims and minority groups to protest Against Pakistan's blasphemy laws.



"We must act strongly in unity, Christians and Moslems, in order not only to get this death sentence suspended but to get (legal articles) 295 B and C repealed without worrying about the sacrifices we shall have to offer," the letter said. Government defends laws The Pakistani government has rejected criticism of the blasphemy laws. The Pakistani Minister of Information, Mushahid Hussein, said the country's higher courts have invariably overturned death sentences passed by the lower courts. Pakistan's Minister of Information: blasphemy laws not used to discriminate; Critics charge that zealots against religious often misuse the law Minorities. Several Christians have been sentenced to death, but higher courts have overturned their convictions.



* We Shall Fight Till The Dawn Comes



Bishop John Joseph had led two nationwide protest of the Christian community and even went on hunger strike for the cause. The first protest was in 1992 against the government's proposal to include a column for one religious faith in the national identity cards. Christians and other minorities in the community thought that the new identity card system would lead to further victimization of Religious minorities in Pakistan. The second nationwide protest was in 1994

Against the murder of Manzoor Masih, a Christian tried on blasphemy, outside the court right after the court hearing on 5 April 1994.



On 20 March 1998, Bishop John Joseph led an ecumenical rally for Christian Solidarity in Vienna in which personnel from both the Catholic and Protestant Church hierarchies took part in the programmed. He gave a homily on the Persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan, especially the impact of the notorious blasphemy laws. The bishop told the rally "we object to these (The blasphemy) laws because they are the main hindrance to Christian-Muslim Relations. We shall fight till the dawn comes, (and) the forms (of this fight) may be diverse." Bishop Joseph was said to have been distraught over Masih's verdict and the way the trial was conducted, and had threatened to protest in an" astonishing" way unless the government repealed the death sentence.



Dr. Joseph - Bishop of Faisalabad since 1981.



* Published an open letter



On Thursday, urging fellow Christians, Muslims and minority groups to protest against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. "We must act strongly in unity, Christians and Moslems, in order not only to get this death sentence suspended but to get (legal articles) 295 B and C repealed without worrying about the sacrifices we shall have to offer," the letter said. Reverend Joseph presided over the

Diocese of Faisalabad and was an outspoken leader in the fight for freedoms for all Christians in Pakistan. He had stood by the side of others accused of blasphemy. Which have demonstrated increased intolerance and injustice toward Christians in this dark nation.



Dr. Joseph administered the Holy Communion the day of his death. Also it is noted that Dr. Joseph visited Ayub Masih in prison the night before. The Christian leader recruited a fellow parishioner to drive him to the court sight in Punjab where assassins earlier attacked Ayub Masih, but missed him with their bullets. After ordering the driver back to the car, Reverend Joseph shot himself with a gun to the head. His suicide is viewed as a Direct protest to the ongoing persecution and injustice toward Christians in Pakistan. His last recorded chilling words before taking his life were, "It is no longer possible for my people (Christians) to live in Pakistan."



* The Catholic Encyclopedia on Suicide.



This article will treat the subject under the following three heads:



* The notions and divisions of suicide;

* The principles according to which its morality must be judged;

* Statistics and explanations of its frequency.



I. NOTION



Suicide is the act of one who causes his own death, either by positively destroying his own life, as by inflicting on himself a mortal wound or injury, or by omitting to do what is necessary to escape death, as by refusing to leave a burning house. From a moral standpoint we must treat therefore not only the prohibition of positive suicide, but also the obligation incumbent on man to preserve his life. Suicide is direct when a man has the intention of causing his own death, whether as an end to be attained, or as a means to another end, as when a man kills himself to escape condemnation, disgrace, ruin etc. It is indirect, and not usually called by this name when a man does not desire it, either as an end or as a means, but when he nevertheless commits an act which in effect involves death, as when he devotes himself to the care of the plague-stricken knowing that he will succumb under the task.



II. MORALITY



The teaching of the Catholic Church concerning the morality of

Suicide may be summarized as follows:



A. Positive and Direct Suicide Positive and direct suicide perpetrated without God's consent always constitutes a grave injustice towards Him. To destroy a thing is to dispose of it as an absolute master and to act as one having full and independent dominion over it; but man does not possess this full and independent dominion over his life, since to be an owner on must be superior to his property.



God has reserved to himself direct dominion over life; He is the owner of its substance and He has given man only the serviceable dominion, the right of use, with the charge of protecting and preserving the substance, that is, life itself. Consequently suicide is an attempt against the dominion and right of ownership of the Creator. To this injustice is added a serious offense against the charity which man owes to him, since by his act he deprives himself of the greatest good in his possession and the possibility of attaining his final end.



Moreover, the sin may be aggravated by circumstances, such as failure in conjugal, paternal, or filial piety, failure in justice or charity, if by taking his life one eludes existing obligations of justice or acts of charity, which he could and should perform. That suicide is unlawful is the teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Church, which condemns the act as a most Atrocious crime and, in hatred of the sin and to arouse the horror of its children, denies the suicide Christian burial. Moreover, suicide is directly opposed to the most powerful and invincible tendency of every creature and Especially of man, the preservation of life.



Finally, for a sane man deliberately to take his own life, he must, as a general rule, first have annihilated in him all that he possessed of spiritual life, since suicide is in absolute contradiction to everything that the Christian religion teaches us as to the end and object of life and, except in cases of insanity, is usually the natural termination of a life of disorder, weakness, and cowardice. The reason we have advanced to prove the malice of a suicide, namely, God's right and dominion, likewise justifies the modification of the general principle: God being the master of our life He may with His own consent remove from suicide whatever constitutes its disorder.



Thus do some authorities justify the conduct of certain saints, who, impelled by the desire of martyrdom and especially to protect their chastity did not wait for their executioners to put them to death, but sought it in one manner or other themselves; nevertheless, the Divine will should be certain and clearly manifested in each particular case. The question is asked: Can one who is condemned to death kill himself if ordered to do so by the judge? Some authors answer this question in the affirmative, basing their argument on the right which society possesses to punish certain malefactors with death and to commission any executioner, hence also the malefactor himself, to carry out the sentence. We share the most widely accepted opinion, that this practice, prevalent in certain countriess of the East, is not lawful. Vindictive justice -- and for that matter all justice -- requires a distinction between the subject of a right and that of a duty, hence in the present case between the one who punishes and the one who is punished. Finally, the same principle, which forbids anyone to personally compass his own death, also forbids him to advise, director command, with the direct intention of suicide, that another should slay him.



B. Positive and Indirect Suicide



Positive but indirect suicide committed without Divine consent is also unlawful unless, everything considered, there is sufficient reason for doing what will cause death to follow. Thus, it is not a sin, but an act of exalted virtue, to go into savage lands to preach the Gospel, or to the bedside of the plague stricken, to minister to them, although they who do so have before them the prospect of inevitable and speedy death; nor is it a sin for workmen in the

Discharge of duties to climb on roofs and buildings, thus exposing themselves to danger of death, etc.



All this is lawful precisely because the act itself is good and upright, for in theory the persons in question have not in view either as end or means the evil result, that is, death, that will follow, and, moreover, if there be an evil result it is largely compensated for by the good and useful result which they seek. On the other hand there is sin in exposing oneself to danger of death to display courage, to win a wager, etc., because in all these cases the end does not in any way compensate for the danger of death that is run. To judge whether or not there is sufficient reason for an act which will apparently be followed by death, all the circumstances must be weighed, namely, the importance of the good result, the greater or less certainty of its being attained, the greater or less danger of death, etc., all questions which may in a specific case be very difficult to solve.



C. Negative and Direct Suicide



Negative and direct suicide without the consent of God constitutes the same sin as positive suicide. In fact man has over his life only the right of use with corresponding obligations to preserve the object of God's dominion, the substance of his life. Hence, it follows obviously that he fails in this obligation of usufructuary who neglects the necessary means for the preservation of life, and this with the intention of destroying the latter, and consequently

Violates the rights of God.



D. Negative and Indirect Suicide



Negative and indirect suicide without the consent of God is also an attempt against the rights of the Creator and an injustice towards Him whenever Without sufficient cause a man neglects all the means of preservation of which he should make use. If a man as usufructuary is obliged in justice to preserve his life, it follows that he is equally bound to make use of all the ordinary means which are indicated in the usual course of things, namely: he should employ all the ordinary means which nature itself provides, such as to eat, drink, sleep, and so on; moreover, he should avoid all dangers which he may easily avoid, e.g. to flee from a burning house, to escape from an infuriated animal when it may be done without difficulty. In fact to neglect the ordinary means for preserving life is equivalent to killing one's self, but the same is not true with regard to extraordinary means.



Thus theologians teach that one is not bound in order to preserve life to employ remedies which, considering one's Condition, are regarded as extraordinary and involving extraordinary expenditure; one is not obliged to undergo a very painful surgical operation, nor a considerable amputation, nor to go into exile in order to seek a more beneficial climate, etc. To use a comparison, the lessee of a house is bound to take care of it as becomes a good father of a family, to make use of the ordinary means for the preservation of the property, for instance, to extinguish a fire, which he may easily extinguish, etc., but he is not bound to employ means considered extraordinary, such as to procure the latest novelties invented by science to prevent or extinguish fire.



Application of Principles



The principles which have been outlined in the four propositions or divisions above given should serve for the solution of particular cases; however, the application may not always be equally easy, and thus a person may by an objectively unlawful act take his life and nevertheless consider it permissible and even an act of exalted virtue.



It may be asked whether by performing or omitting a certain act a person may injure his health and shorten his life. To apply the foregoing principles: it is first of all clear (1st and 3rd propositions, A and C) that one may not have in View this hastening of death, but, this hypothesis aside, it may be said on the one hand that to expose oneself without sufficient reason to a considerable shortening of life constitutes a serious injury to the rights of the Creator; but on the other hand if the danger of death be not imminent, although it is to be feared that life may be shortened even by several years, it is not a grave but only a venial sin.



This is the case with the drunkard who by his intemperance causes his premature deatth. Again it must be borne in mind that with the addition of a reasonable motive the thing may be entirely lawful and even an act of virtue; thus the workman does not sin by devoting himself to rough labor, and the saints performed a very meritorious and highly virtuous act when in order to overcome their passions they lacerated and tortured their flesh by penance and fasting and were thus the cause of their earlier death.



III. FREQUENCY OF SUICIDE; CHIEF CAUSES



The plague of suicide belongs especially to the period of decadence of the civilized peoples of antiquity, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. The Christian Middle Ages were unacquainted with this morbid tendency, but it has reappeared at a more recent period, has developed constantly since the Renaissance, and at present has reached such intensity among all civilized nations that it may be considered one of the special evils of our time.



This suicide rate obviously includes suicides attributable to mental illness, but we cannot accept the opinion of a large number of physicians, moralists, and jurists who, led into Error by a false philosophy, lay it down, as a general rule that suicide is always due to insanity, so great is the horror, which this act inspires in every man of sane mind. The Church rejects this theory and, while admitting exceptions, considers that those unfortunates who, impelled by despair or anger, attempt their life often act through malice or culpable cowardice.



In fact, despair and anger are not as general thing movements of the soul, which it is impossible to resist, especially if one does not neglect the helps offered by religion, confidence in God, belief in the immortality of the soul and in a Future life of rewards and punishments. Widely different reasons have been advanced to explain the high frequency of suicide, but it is more correct to say that it does not depend on any one particular cause, but rather on an assemblage of factors, such as the social and economic situation, the misery of a great number, a more feverish pursuit of what is considered happiness, often ending in cruel deceptions, the ever more refined search for pleasure, a more precocious and intense stimulation of sexual life, intellectual overwork, the influence of the media and the sensational news with which it daily provides its readers, the influences of heredity, the ravages of alcoholism, etc. But it is undeniable that the religious factor is by far the most important, the increase in suicides keeping step with the de-Christianization of a country.



*Vatican Council Declared Suicide As Sin.



Quotes from Guadium ET Spes, 2nd Vatican Council Quotes from Gaudium ET Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), Second Vatican

Council 27. (...) The varieties of crime are numerous: all offenses against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and willful suicide (...) All these and the like are criminal: they poison civilization; and they debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the Creator. 51. (...) God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of Safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of

Themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes. Man's sexuality and the faculty Of reproduction wondrously surpass the endowments of lower forms of life; Therefore the acts proper to married life are to be ordered according to Authentic human dignity and must be honored with the greatest reverence. When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of? Life, it is not enough to take only the good intention and the evaluation of motives into account; the objective criteria must be used, criteria drawn from the nature of the human person and human action, criteria which respect the Total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; all this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is seriously practiced. In questions of birth regulation the sons of the Church, faithful to these principles, are forbidden to use methods disapproved of by the teaching authority of the Church in its interpretation of the divine law. (1) Let all be convinced that human life and its transmission are realities whose meaning is not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true evaluation and full meaning can only be understood in reference to man's eternal destiny. Cf. Pius XI, Encycl. Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930), p. 559-561; DENZ., 2239-2241 (3716-3718); Pius XII, Address to Italian Midwives, 29 Oct. 1951:

AAS 43 (1951), p. 835-854; PAUL VI, Address to the Cardinals, 23 June 1964:



* Testimony Of Fr. Yaqoob on Suicide.



The press note issued by the Catholic Bishop Conference totally based on the testimony of Fr. Yaqoob, who accompanied him to the Session Courts on the night of incident. Fr.Yaqoob, stated that he Bishop John Joseph left him behind and he heard the gunshot, when he approached the Bishop Joseph was dead.



Its crystal clear fact that Fr. Yaqoob was not an eye witness and Bishop John Was not in his sight when he heard the sight and he was on such a long distance that Bishop Joseph died before saying a word to him. The Christians gathered in protest prayers of sentence to Ayub Mash also approached on the site of shoot out of Bishop Joseph and demanded that presence of Chief Minister of Punjab to come personally and screamed for justice from the government.



Its also on record that mourners protested for 24 hours on site with dead body of Bishop John Joseph, if the story of suicide was revealed by Fr. Yaqoob on that moment, the agitation on dead body was never going to proceed. Fr. yaqoob was also of the same opinion that some body killed Bishop Joseph and same he told the Christians when he went back to inform them and rush to accompany him with dead body.



The story was fabricated on pressure of some very strong forces to satisfy and calm down the agitating Christians in the country. Its very important question to know about those very strong forces that turned down the services of great Christian warrior, religious leader and catholic scholar as sinner of committing suicide according to Christian teachings. It's very clear that government was not happy on voice of Bishop John Joseph on national and international forums and extra judicial murders are very normal and daily routine of government agencies to make silent such voices. On other hand the Christian and Muslim elements who have snatched million of rupees in name of donation and funding are also on the list of murderers. Our research team comes to conclusion that "Government agencies killed Bishop John Joseph and those Christian and Muslim blackmailers to save their skin fabricated story of suicide and awarded him degree of a sinner, which shall ever be counted shameful act in history of Pakistan."



* Post Research Team Action investigations.

1. Commission to investigate under Supreme Court justice.

2. Fr. Yaqoob may be taken under protective custody before recording testimony. 3. FIR of the death may be made public.

4. Catholic diocese of Faisal Abad may be investigated.

5. Killers may be brought to justice.



Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation By Nazir S Bhatti

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