Joseph Patres, member of Pakistani Canadian Christian Community writes an eye opening experience when along with Muslim counterparts visits members of Parliament:


Dear Sirs/Madams: I had the opportunity to attend the above meeting organized by Pakistan Action Committee for Equality in Canada along with most of you, members of parliament on January 25, 2009.

I had the opportunity to attend the above meeting organized by Pakistan Action Committee for Equality in Canada along with most of you, members of parliament on January 25, 2009. In that meeting the members of the Pakistani-Canadians community, mostly Muslims raised many issues involving situations of Khader, a Muslim currently detained by the by government of United States of America as prisoner of war in Guantanamo Bay . They displayed their unhappiness with the Liberal members of parliament particular and also the current government of Canada not doing enough to bring him home. They also showed their unhappiness over the leadership of Mr. Ignatieff, as they branded him pro-war, pro-Israel. They also criticized you, members of the Liberal Caucus, for not doing enough involving the situations in Gaza (Hamas), Israel , Lebanon , Iraq , Afghanistan & Kashmir and energy problems in Pakistan , rising of Islamophobia in Canada and distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters. The members of the Pakistani Muslim community also questioned the support Canada gave to India during the Mumbai bombing and lack of support for person arrested. A member of the Pakistani Canadian community raised the issues regarding suffering of minorities in Pakistan, particularly the Christians, the largest minority, around 15 to 20 million in numbers who are terrorized, harassed, tortured, humiliated, spited on, raped and persecuted for years by 150 million Muslims. He requested that the members of the Pakistani Muslim community should write to the Govt. of Pakistan to protect them from the extremists who are on a rampage lately to burn Christian Churches . Right at that moment, a member of the Muslim community started criticizing him. After the meeting was over they formed a circle around him and started intimidating him by twisting his genuine question he asked. I as a member of the Pakistani Canadian, a Christian from Pakistan raised a question regarding problems experienced by the members of the Christian community when it come to issuing Canadian visas from the Canadian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan and in the Middle East. You may have or may not have realized the members of the Pakistani Canadian Muslim community bombarded you with questions involving situations of the entire Muslim world. However, when a member of the Pakistan Canadian of the Christian community highlighted the suffering of minorities in Pakistan , many of the audience were uncomfortable but also criticized him for asking a genuine question which was based on the truth. It was difficult for most of the members to swallow the truth. Matter of fact, it is all on the record that the minorities are suffering in Pakistan by the discriminatory laws government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan introduced during the past two decades. For example, all the Christian Institutions, Schools, Colleges and Hospitals were nationalized by the government of Pakistan during the PPP rule of late Z. Bhutto. President Musharraf was decent enough to return large numbers of schools and Forman Christian College of Lahore . A large number of the Schools and top educational colleges equivalent to standards like Gordon College Rawalpindi and Murray College Sialkot are still in the possesion of the government. For your kind information I hereby enclose a list, which includes detail of discriminatory laws exercised in Pakistan . Also enclosed is a recent report where Churches in the city of Karachi were burn down by elements of the group of extremists. I understand it is an issue, which must be dealt by the Human Rights component of the Canadian government and I ask that you question the government of Pakistan through that component. I thank you in advance for taking the time to attend the forum and look forward to hearing more of your views on these issues. Sincerely yours, Joseph Patres Member of the Pakistani Canadian Christian Community

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