An open letter to government of Netherlands. Doors are closing in Holland for Pakistani Christians
18 Oct 2002
The Pakistani Christian community living in Holland and facing the problems in the Asylum cases presents an open letter to the Netherlands government. The letter sent to PCP by the community leaders in Holland reads as;
Two recent developments have seriously aggravated the situation of Christians of Pakistan origin seeking asylum in the Netherlands. Firstly the government has recently tightened the controls on the admission of asylum seekers into the community of the Netherlands. Secondly the recent election in Pakistan have brought into power parties, which are either fundamentalist or even Muslim extremist.
Under the conditions prevailing during the elections it was impossible for Christians to organize themselves politically. They were also kept away from the elections booths by force. Asylum seekers who have sojourned in the Netherlands for no less than four or five years are now suddenly faced with the threat of being sent back to their home country with serious risk to their lives.
One example will make this clear. The family of Mr.. Egbert Elias in Deventer has lived in the Netherlands for more than five years. Their children differ in no way from other children's in that they speak fluent Dutch and go to school. The family is very peaceful and happy in their surroundings. During these five years they have regularly attended church service and are an accepted part of the community.
With the imminent risk of being torn loose from their friends and sent back to Pakistan the family is living in a permanent state of anxiety and stress. After what the Americans did in Afghanistan to overcome the Taliban government, strong anti-christian sentiment have come to the reign in Pakistan. Only during the last two-month more than forty innocent people were killed, Christian property destroyed and false charges filed against Christian youths and preachers. Article 295/c and other Islamic laws are being misused against Christians.
It is important to emphasize that the Christian minority in Pakistan, like similar Christian minorities elsewhere in the world, are consistently peaceful and pose no threat to the majority.
We urge the government of the Netherlands to take due note of the changed conditions in Pakistan and reconsider their policy in regard to Christian asylum seekers from that country.
Watson Gill and other members of
Pakistan Christian Community In Holland.