The dream comes true: Clergy in Pakistan regains control of Christian politics on November 17, 2005 after 20 years through Joint Elections.
20 Nov 2005
Catholic Bishop of Karachi observed the Black Day announced by Church leadership in Pakistan on incident of Sangla Hill with Press Conference along with few priests in Karachi Press Club. The APMA leader Michael Javeed was chanting Slogans with small gathering out side Press Club demanding judicial probe on incident of Sangla Hill, where churches, school, hostels and church properties were set on fire by Muslim mob on November 12, 2005. In Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar also church leadership marked Black Day with press conferences while other political and social groups organized protests with very small gatherings.
The All Pakistan Minority Alliance APMA, a second birth of Christian Liberation Front was wiped out of scene of Black Day protests by the church leadership while all press conferences were addressed by clergy and APMA Chief was only present in Islamabad. The sad incident of Sangla Hill is worst after attack of Muslim extremists on Christian village Shanti Nagar in 1998. The incidents of brutally killing Christian worshipers in churches, attacks on hospitals, setting on fire Christian houses and to martyr church leaders by Muslim extremists in Pakistan expedited after implementation of Joint Electorate in 2000. There were more incident witnessed of arrests of Christians under blasphemy laws after Joint Elections.
The strong wave of protests on incident of Shanti Nagar through out Pakistan was very alarming for the government of Pakistan when angry Christians were able to create law and order situation in Pakistan. I was leading protest against attack of Shanti Nagar in Karachi when Christians gathered in thousands and 1000 peaceful youths were arrested. The situation in Lahore and other major cities of Pakistan became challenge for administration on Shanti Nagar incident. Its important to note that clergy was not involved in reaction against shanti Nagar incident and these wide spread Christian protests presented strong Christian leadership of political groups, which was not appreciated by government of Pakistan or by Bishops during Separate Electorate.
The government agencies in collaboration with Bishops concluded to end Separate Electorate in Pakistan after Shanti Nagar protests. The Christian Liberation Front, a group based in Faisalabad and funded be late Bishop John Joseph was moved as tool against Separate Electorate. The foreign tours on church funds were organized for puppet leadership of Christian Liberation Front to misled International Community against Separate Elections in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan was only waiting to snatch right from Christians to elect their representatives in parliament by their own votes under separate electorates and Christian liberation Front provided an excuse to government.
What Church leadership bargained with government on Sangla Hill incident? The visit by Punjab Chief Minister to Sangla Hill and Judicial probe in incident. The Chief Minister has visited Sangla Hill and ordered suspension of DPO and DSP. The CM has ordered the repair of Churches, School, Hostels and other properties on government expenses. The same was agreed upon in meeting of Bishops Conference in Chief Minister House Lahore two days after this attach then why this drama of Black Day? The political leaders on incident of Shanti Nagar forced Prime Minister of Pakistan to Visit Christian village and to constitute a Tribunal headed by Justice of High Court without any drawing room bargain.
I think, now Christians can understand that why church funds and tool leadership was used to abolish Separate Electorate and push demand of Joint Elections. The drama of week leadership and bargain on Christian rights in Pakistan starts as desired by government of Pakistan. The arrested on Sangla Hill incident shall be bailed out and DPO and DSP shall again be in offices after few weeks.
Nazir S Bhatti