We availed an opportunity to meet and discuss Christians issues with an economist turned successful Businessman Mr. Earnest Gulab, in his suite of Best Western Hotel in Seaford Delaware, one of the world largest chain hotel. The dedication, commitmen
Mr. Earnest Gulab born at Lahore in 1945 and grown up in an educated and influential family has sense of humor and ability in heritance. His father Mr. A. R Gulab who retired as Deputy Registrar of Punjab University was then a Law graduate when Christian can only dream of to be a lawyer in Pakistan. Mr. Earnest Gulab was admitted to CTI School Sialkot as beginner and matriculated in 1964. He completed his graduation from Government College Lahore, an esteemed academic institution where majority of the politicians and intellectuals have studied and played important roles in Pakistan movement. Mr. Earnest Gulab passed B. COM (H) from Punjab University in 1969 and entered in Banking Training with United Bank of Pakistan. He post-graduated in commerce and joined First National City Bank Lahore as credit analyst for 3 years. In 1974 he married Ms Jamila, daughter of a Christian agriculturist from Clarkabad. Mr. Earnest Gulab rendered his services with foreign firms as administrator and cast accountants based in Libya and Saudi Arabia till 1980 and later migrated to USA. He started his business in Delaware State. His ability, hard work and knowledge of commerce earned a fortune with blessings of lord and at present he owns five hotels and motels in a very limited period of 20 years and now he is richest Christian in North America.
Mr. Earnest Gulab remained active member of Christian organizations and participated in congregational rituals of churches with his family during his struggling period of establishment of his business in USA. In recognition to his volunteer social services of community his busy business life, he was elected Chairman of PCA and served in this capacity till 1992. He was among the founder members of PACC and first elected president in 2001. He presented memorandums and made presentations on Christian rights to all the visiting head of state of Pakistan. Mr. Earnest Gulab called upon Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Mian Nawz Sharif and Mir Zafar ullaha Khan Jamali during their visits to USA to present Christian persecution and human right violations in Pakistan. Mr. Earnest Gulab also has been a meetings high official of US administration on incidents of Christians victimizations in Pakistan. During meetings with Congressman Mike Castle and President George Bush he disused Pakistani Christian's constitutional issues. On his Human rights services, the Government of Pakistan extended him the invitation to join the visiting US delegation to Pakistan to examine the human right situation in Pakistan. Here we are covering our conversation with Christian leader Mr. Earnest Gulab for Pakistan Christian Post readers.
Q. You have meet many chief executives of Pakistan. What major issues you raised in these meetings?
A. I always believe that Pakistani Christians living in western countries in freedom to profess belief, expressions and speech have more opportunities to highlight the issues of Christians in Pakistan on international forums to press upon government for remedies and revival of equal basic democratic rights in religion, social and political fields. . In all my meetings with visiting Pakistani Prime Ministers and Presidents in USA, I stressed upon social justice in Pakistani society and equal opportunities for Christian youth in employment and education. Its facts that better education leads to better opportunities and important factor in economic prosperity of any nation. If our Christian youth is equipped with better education standards to meet the merit criteria in job opportunities in government and semi government institutions only then we can expect the revolutionary changes in Christian nation. I have grave concern on substandard policies of merit, which is unjust and unfair toward Christian youth in Pakistan. The 5% Christian quota of admission in professional and higher education institutions have been abolished when quota is allocated for Afgan Refuges, Kashmir Refugees, Rural Area Residents, Professors children, Armed Forces officials children, President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Governors, Chief Ministers and Federal Ministers which is never a privilege for Christian youth and Muslim students have been beneficiary of this backdoor who fail to qualify on merit that's why. I have been demanding to restore the Christian quota.
Q. Being a successful businessman in USA. What are your recommendations and future of Pakistani Christian in business sector?
A. As Feudal Lords and Tribal Chiefs have played effective roles in formation of governments in third world countries in nineteenth century, the twentieth century and new millennium is the era of economists, intellectuals and businessmen to lead in all fields of life and set up of governments. The Christians in sub continent of India never enjoyed the feudal lord class and ultimately were kept away from the establishments in the British colonial rule. If the Christian participation in the economic development is ignored again when the business class is taking over the control of institutions from the feudal and tribal chiefs in Pakistan, again Christians shall be isolated from the resources of the federation of Pakistan, therefore I have suggested on all available occasions to Christians youth to seek professional education to participate in business. The cottage industry is the best and proper base to flourish in business in Pakistan for Christians. The sanctions of loans for Christian individuals in establishment of cottage industry remained my priority in meetings with prime Minster Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif and. I appealed these leaders to arrange loans for Christian applicants with limited guarantees and collaterals on easy terms.
Q. Do you think Muslim dominated society of Pakistani have grounds for business opportunities for Christians?
A. No doubt the Pakistani Christians are facing difficult situation in establishment of business concerns in Pakistan. There are social and constitutional burdens to commission business for Christians. The curse of touchability in Pakistani society is one that which
has closed the doors of profitable business sector of catering industry on Pakistani Christians. It has been my major objective in my social and political services to present memorandums to the government of Pakistan to constitute strict legislations to end the touch ability in Pakistan which is worst evil and violations of fundamental equal rights conferred under constitution of Pakistan. The majority of Muslims is not ready to eat food prepared by Christians under touchabilty and its also main obstacle initiate successful Christian Muslim dialogue in Pakistan. No one can sit on same table to discuss cordial relation without sharing even a cup of tea when majority of Muslims hate to enjoy meals with Christians in Pakistan.
Q. Would you tell us about your struggle to repeal blasphemy laws in Pakistan?
A. The blasphemy laws are root cause in apartheid in Pakistan among different religious communities. In multicultural and multiracial societies such laws to maintain the supremacy of any community negate the integrity and prosperity of the state. The implementation of Islamic laws on Christians is UN Islamic and contrary to the Pakistan Resolution of 1940. The Christian Personal laws protection was guaranteed under Pakistan Resolution, which have been violated by endorsement of Objective resolution as preface of Constitution of Pakistan. We have witnessed so far that blasphemy laws have been used on business rivalry and personal enmity of Muslim individuals and groups against Christians in Pakistan. So far no Christian victim under blasphemy law have received the capital punishment and higher courts have acquitted the sentences imposed but still blasphemy laws are open hanging sword on the Christian necks and potential life threats to Christians. I have organized and led many protests rallies against such laws in USA. I have demand the repeal of blasphemy laws in my meetings with the Pakistani administration officials and spoken on this issue on international forums.
Q. What role you played in Brown amendments?
A. To explain how important Brown amendment is for interests of. Pakistan and what efforts we delivered to make it success? Its important for information that under section 620 E of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of USA, the Pakistan government suffered sanctions but Brown Amendment enabled Pakistan government to receive $ 368 million worth of military equipment purchased before implementation of Pressler sanctions of October 1, 1995. As patriotic Pakistani origin individuals settled in US, I hold talks with US congressmen and Senators to vote in favor of Brown amendment success that Pakistan may receive back the large sum of amount paid for purchase of defense equipment from USA. we are proud that Brown amendment met with success and Christian played vital role in its success.
Q. Would you tell our readers about your struggle for revival of Joint Election system for minorities in Pakistan?
A. I always recommended the Joint election system of elections because said system was duly endorsed by the elected parliament in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Constitution of 1973 for minorities due participation in the main stream of society. The Separate Electorate under 8th Amendment of constitution was imposed under Presidential Order through an Ordinance by the Martial Law administrator against the will of the minorities and I termed it unconstitutional act and to push minorities in isolation. Its fact Separate Electorate system was undemocratic and not feasible to protect the interests of minorities in the state, therefore, we presented memorandums to all chief executives of Pakistan in my meetings for revival of Joint Election System for Christian Minority in Pakistan.
Q. Are you satisfied with representation of Christians in the Parliament?
A. No, I am not satisfied with the present or past representation of Christians in Parliament as it's not proportional to the population. I have been demanding the increase in reserve seats for Christians in Parliament. For example, First Assembly of Pakistan has 4 reserved seats for minorities when house was of 48 seats in 1948. The minorities were allocated 10 seats in the house of 235 under 1973 constitution which were not proportional to the increase in the number of seats comparing to the Muslim seats in the house. The representation of any community or nation is an important factor as a basis of share in resources of in state but unfortunately minorities have been denied their due share, negating the international phenomena of representation proportional to population. We need urgent and united action by the entire minority, social, religious and political leaders living in Pakistan or abroad to raise voice on this issue. If due consideration is given by government of Pakistan then we can have more councilors in Local Government which means more development budget, more job opportunities in basic democratic institutions. Like wise the National Assembly seats and Provincial Assembly seats shall also increase and due share in power of state shall be achieved. I stress upon government for Christians representation in Senate of Pakistan that upper house may have the Christian voice.
Q. Do you feel the organizations of Christians abroad are playing effective role to safeguard the basic democratic and equal rights of Christian in Pakistan?
A. Yes, other organizations in foreign countries are playing an important role andt I am proud to add that actions of Pakistani American Christian Coilation PACC are in best interests of Christians in Pakistan. For example, with the help of other organizations we have taken out processions against victimization of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. We have presented memorandum to government of Pakistan for repeal of Blasphemy laws and to end persecution of Christian in Pakistan. Moreover PACC formation is very positive step toward unity of Christians living abroad. We have invited all the Christian organizations to join this coalition for joint campaigns on Christian issues with keeping their respective identities. I hope that many organizations shall join us soon for better coordination among general Christian's immigrants in USA.
Q. What are futures plans of PACC?
A. We urge on unity of Christians in Pakistan because unity among Christians can only lead them to achieve goals of success in Muslim dominating society in Pakistan. We are educating masses and youth in particulars in Pakistan with our writings and people to people contacts. Our important message for Christians is to ensure that they are son of soil and they reserve right for peaceful struggle to safeguard their equal rights in Pakistan because peaceful struggle for their legitimate rights is only solution to basic problems.
Q. Would you like to give any message to Christians in Pakistan?
A. I would like to address Christian youth in Pakistan which is future of Christian community. I appeal to Christian youth to prefer professional education in Pakistan. The participation of Christians in business sector can enable them to enjoy the better life style and I urge them to begin with cottage industry. I assure them that PACC shall support them for loans of government of Pakistan for establishment of small-scale businesses and cottage industry with limited collateral. We shall always be ready to discuss their loan cases on easy terms with Commercial secretary in Pakistan Embassy in USA for recommendations to the governments of Pakistan.