Samuel murder by police has forced us to rethink of our status and future in Pakistan. Bishop T. Nasir
31 May 2004
PCP Report Lahore. June 6. Bishop Timotheus Nasir said the Christian community has taken enough from Muslim majority. The murder of Samuel Salamat has forced us to rethink of our status and future in Pakistan. He said that the killing of Mr. Samuel S
Bishop Nasir added that the founder of the nation Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah did not demand Pakistan for Muslims only. He had foreseen the miseries of minorities in an independent Hindu majority India. Therefore he demanded the creation of Pakistan so that all religious and ethnic minorities could live in peace in Pakistan. He never thought of an Islamic Pakistan but a secular Pakistan. Unfortunately in 1973 the Quid-e-Azam’s Republic of Pakistan became Islamic Republic of Pakistan thus making the minorities “subjects” of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
He further added that by nationalizing the Christian educational institutions Mr. Z. A. Bhutto buried the future of Pakistani Christian youth. He said that there did exist religious discrimination in Pakistan before 1973 but it has increased since 1973. Talking about election systems in Pakistan, Bishop Nasir also said that the Joint Electorate System as demanded by the Roman Catholic and Protestant Bishops and imposed on us by the government of Pakistan has damaged the identity of Christians in Pakistan. He claimed that the Christian Community does not have a single representative in Senate, National or Provincial Assemblies. The Christian members bought their seats from various parties on “Proportionate Representation” of all national political parties. As these people have paid for their seats, they do not care for their own community.
On “Blasphemy Laws” he suggested that these laws are very limited, and they should be expanded. He said that Section 295-B, 295-C, 298-A, should be amended as Pakistan Penal Code 295-B be amended as 295-B (I) for the Holy Koran and 295-B (II) for the Holy Bible, 295-C (I) for Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and 295-C (II) for Lord Jesus Christ, Section 298-A, be amended as 298-A (I) for the pious wives of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) his family and righteous Caliphs or companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and 298-A-(II) for the Holy Mary and other pious women and the Apostle of Lord Jesus Christ. Bishop Nasir also added that the “Hudood Ordinance” is a pure Islamic law and it should not be imposed on Christians, as we have our own laws that are better and more practicable. In the end the Bishop said that the time has almost come that we sell our garment and buy a sword. Yet we would not do it, we will yet not buy a “sword”. Yet we have another choice. We shall surrender our “nationality” to the government of Pakistan so that we may show that at this moment we don’t see any hope for our community in Pakistan. Bishop Nasir announced that he has already “surrendered his nationality” on the issue of Joint Electorate System on 27th February 2002, that is lying pending with the Ministry of Law, government of Pakistan. Please see what the “Daily Nation” reported on 6th June 2004.
This Seminar to repeal the “Blasphemy Law” Section 295-B, 295-C, 298 and 298-A orgnised by Pakistan Christian Party, was held in two sessions. The first session was a “memorial service” of Mr. Samuel Salamat son of Mr. Emmanuel Masih killed by a Police Constable Faryad Ali who struck his head with “mason’s tool” for cutting the bricks last week. The second session was to exchange views on how to get the “Blasphemy Laws” repealed. The Seminar was announced on 30th May and the “National Press” promised to attend the Seminar. Pakistan Television and Geo T.V also promised to cover the Seminar. Yet only one Christian journalist from the “Daily Nation” attended the Seminar. No Christian member of National or Provincial Assembly or any Bishop from Catholic Church and the Church of Pakistan attended the Seminar. Only Senator Dr. Khalid Ranjha, a former Judge of Lahore High Court and a renowned Lawyer were present at the Seminar. Speaking at the Seminar Senator Dr. Khalid Ranjha, condoled the brutal killing of Mr. Samuel Salamat and repeated the statement of the President of Pakistan to make amendments in the “Blasphemy Laws” and asked the Christian leadership to give suggestions for the intended amendments. He also stressed the need of unity in Christian community that he noted was missing. (Dr. Khalid Ranjha was Punjab Provincial Minister for Minority Affairs Punjab, former Federal Minster of Law).
Mr.Yaqoob Bhatti, Raja Nathaniel Gill, Sajjad Anwer, Pitras Ghani, Wilson Asghar, Fr. Enyat Bernat and Zia Khokhar condemned killing of Samuel Masih and demanded immediate repeal of Blasphemy Law and Hadood Ordinance.