Mr. John Battle MP
House of Common
Westminster, SW1A 0AA
Dear Mr. Battle,
We would like to bring Pakistani Christian's plight to your kind attention. The Home Office with similar standard objections is declining those who come into the UK and
As you know that we are an Interdenominational Christian human rights organisation and presently working for the Pakistani Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith. We raise awareness at national and international levels and we have also raise this matter several times with you and we thank you for your support in our cause.
CLAAS has complied an exhaustive report on the intimidation of Christians in Pakistan at the hands of the Muslim fundamentalists namely, "FAITH UNDER FIRE." This report manifests the plight of second-class citizenship of Pakistani Christians under the provisions of constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, and intimidation of Christians under the rigid Islamic laws. The report focuses on the persecution of Christians and the abuses against women and children in Pakistan. Abuses against women, forced conversions, especially Blasphemy Law often used against minorities. Several case examples are presented to illustrate the situation in Pakistan.
The report gives introduction to legal context in Pakistan and the role of Sharia Law. CLAAS gives recommendations to Pakistani government and calls for constitutional and legal reform to better protect the rights of religious minorities, women and children. It also includes responses to human rights abuses by the government and fundamentalist groups.
CLAAS is also working for the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and would like to bring into your knowledge that their applications are being declined for asylum in the UK. However, we believe that most of the Christian who apply for the asylum have genuine case of well-founded fear of persecution in Pakistan and they should be granted to remain to leave in this country under the Universal Declaration of Geneva Convention and under Human Rights article 2 and 3.
We have noted with great grave that the functionaries of the Home Office (FHO) while deciding the asylum applications of the Pakistani marooned Christians straightaway refuse the asylum application with 'similar standard objections' having no depth of knowledge or command on the implications of Islamic Penal Laws. The FHO are unaware of this fact that after the strict application of Islamic laws on the non-Muslim minorities their lives and properties are always in danger. The Pakistani government authorities have shown their helplessness in protecting the life and property of a victim of blasphemy law. The militant Muslim fundamentalists take the law in their own hands and extra-judicially kill the innocent soon after charging innocent victims with the offence of blasphemy.
Moreover the functionaries of Home Office usually emphasis on the theoretical codifications of Pakistan law but overlook practical shortcomings of Islamic legislations badly effecting the interests of religious minorities in practice. The FHO interpret the Islamic laws of Pakistan between the lines of the secular law of Briton and international Human Rights charters. By such attitude of the FHO the genuine cases of Christians are being refused in routine.
The Home office miserably fail to give consideration to this irrefutable fact that in a traditional Islamic Society a non-Muslim person hardly enjoys equality of social or religious status. The FHO (Functionaries of Home Office) in Reasons for Refusals repeat 'adnauseum' conclusions as the beaten paths and err in giving logical and rational arguments on the social and constitutional discrimination being confronted by the Christians of Pakistan in the Muslim narrow-minded, prejudiced and bigoted Islamic state of Pakistan.
The functionaries of Home Office always depict the image of military ruler General Pervez Musharraf as the liberal head of the Islamic state of Pakistan and bent on relying upon the formal declaration against terrorism of 12th January 2002 of banning some Islamic organisations. But they ignore this fact that the declaration of 12th January has already been foiled by the banned organisations by working under different organisational names. They miserably fail to give democratic approach to this fact that General Pervez Musharraf took steps that further consolidated to army's authority and all but ensured that any future government would operate military tutelage (Amnesty International' Human Rights World Report 2002). It is relevant to mention in the regime of General Pervez Musharraf that five victims of blasphemy law have been sentenced to death namely:
1. Mushid Masih
2. Kingri Masih
3. Anwar Masih
4. Aslam Masih
5. Dr. Younis
Few of the incidents that occurred last year during the reign of General Musharraf:
1. On 14th January a bomb was set off in a Protestant Church in Islamabad, no one was hurt.
2. The attack on the International Protestant Church in Islamabad on 17th March 2002, in which five people were killed.
3. On 7th April 2002, Muslim youth fired shots and abused at Christian worshippers outside a church in Satrah, Gujranwala.
4. On 14th June 2002, eleven people were killed in a bomb explosion outside the US Consulate in Karachi.
5. On 5th August 2002, six people were killed and four were injured when four unknown gunmen attacked Christian Murree School, in Garial.
6. On 9th August 2002, three armed gunmen attacked a Christian hospital in Taxila, killing three nurses and a paramedic - all women, and injuring at least 30 people.
7. On 30th August three unidentified men desecrated the United Presbyterian Church in Karachi.
8. On 25th September 2002, two unidentified gunmen entered in the office of a Christian Human Rights organisation Justice and Peace Commission of Pakistan and brutally massacred seven Christian aid workers.
9. The Protestant Church in Chianwala, near the town of Daska, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Lahore was holding a special Christmas service on 25th December 2002, for women and children when a grenade was hurled through an open front door by two attackers. Three girls aged 6, 11 and 15 were killed and 14 people were injured.
Terrorist Act in Bahawalpur against the Christians:
On Sunday 28th October 2001 some assailants attacked at the Christian worshippers in St. Dominic's church in Bahawalpur near Multan, killing 16 people.
Desecration of St. Peter's Church in Lahore in 1999:
On 22 October 1999, 10 days after General Musharraf took charge as the Military Ruler of the country, St. Peter's Catholic church situated in Township, Lahore was set on fire by a Muslim fanatic namely, Saeed Ahmed, who wanted to teach America and Christians a lesson for getting involved into Kargil situation. He was later released by the police officials stating that he was mentally ill and there was nothing to be done further in this case.
Suicidal protest of Bishop Dr.John Joseph against sentence of Ayub Masih:
Bishop Dr.John Joseph a well-known Roman Catholic Bishop of Faisalabad committed suicide in front of session court, Sahiwal that awarded death sentence to Ayub Masih, in blasphemy law on 6th May 1998.
Annihilation of a Christian village:
A Christian village of Shanti Nagar in District Khanewal was attacked by 3000 Muslim fanatics where almost whole of the village was set on fire on 26th Feb 1997.
It is pertinent to bring to your notice that since 1979 no government of Pakistan had taken any concrete and positive steps to curtail religious apartheid from multi-religions society of Pakistan. Even the government of Muhammad Khan Junejo (1985-1998), Benazir Bhutto (1988-1990) and (1993-1999), Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (1990-191993) and (1997-1999) and General Pervaiz Musharraf from 1999 have not dared to repeal or amend the discriminatory provisions against the religious minorities incorporated the constitutions of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, and took any measure to stop the misuse of blasphemy law against the religious minorities to check the segregation of multi-religious society of Pakistan. As such the discrimination towards the religious minorities is phenomenal in Pakistan.
The functionaries of Home Office fail to understand that in traditional Islamic Pakistan, where the government is at beak and call under the control of fundamentalist militants and terrorist Muslim organisations can be termed as "agents of persecutions" in the real sense of the word as well as coreligionist authorities of Pakistan.
This situation makes us much more concerned for the entire Christian community, especially for those who are charged under blasphemy law, converted to Christianity, women and young girls who are abducted, raped and forcibly converted to Islam and for the evangelists who are subjected to persecution for preaching the name of Christ.
At this time we would like to raise the cases of Naeem Pasha Bhatti, who converted to Christianity from Islam and escaped from Pakistan to save his life from the fundamentals. He came into the UK and applied for the asylum on the grounds of well-founded fear of persecution but he was declined by the FHO giving him the 'similar standard objections' and was detained in a Detention Centre, Hassalr.
Joseph Shahzada Mir and Emmanuel Khan….
We would like to request you to raise this important issue of the Christians' persecution with he Home Office and the Secretary of State making them realise that Christians in Pakistan are really facing religious persecution and discrimination at the hands of the fundamentalists on daily basis. To make the FHO and Secretary of State aware that the Christians who come into this country are runaway from the ongoing harassment, discrimination and religious persecution from both the government and the fundamentalists.
Under the above circumstances we pray you to request the FHO and the Secretary of State on our behalf that the Christians' applications should be dealt fairly and sympathetically as the British government does know that Christians are not safe in Pakistan under the Islamic Shariah Laws, like blasphemy law, Qanun-e-Shahadat (Islamic law of evidence), Qisas-o-diyat (Blood Money law), etc. and that they should be given indefinite stay in this country.
Thank you in anticipation.
The Rt. Revd. Mano Rumalshah