Pakistan Election's Likely Effect on Christians. By David E Bhatti. Scotland
05 Nov 2002
A reasonable Christian response to any significant event cannot be made without its proper appreciation.
The president has convened the parliament on Friday, 8th November. Pakistani press has devoted itself to discussing pros and cons of various developments that have taken place since the conclusion of the election. The constitution is so amended as to enable the government's reform programme, particularly in economic and social areas, proceeds unhindered. MNAs will be obliged to work within these constraints. They are new to it, and may find it rather hard going. So, there is scope for many sharp clashes in the house. It is hoped that in due course an environment will result in the house when Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain's policy of 'Give some and take some' will become modus operandi for all parties.
During this election MMA's political skills has surprised many. Even some of their new members seem so unruffled in press conferences and their statements are so professionally worded. Not surprising when many of them of are Islamic jurists. Also, they seem already to have recognized the need to adapt their stance to the suit to the requirements of modern economic, political and social issues. As regards their nomination of non-Muslim candidates only from the Christian minority, hopefully it was also for reasons other than the loyalty and competence of the two candidates. I hope and pray that the work of these candidates for their party will justify their party's trust in them. I am sure on their part these members will do their best to bring any Christian concerns to the attention of their party.
I understand that this is the first time in the history of Pakistan that 60 women have elected to the National Assembly. Why this time? Some people say its credit should go to the president. This event has international importance, and particularly in the Islamic world. Women members' speeches and work in various committees will be followed with interest.
What is there in the election for Pakistani Christian community? The people who are most likely to benefit directly big investors. To the best of my knowledge there are not many wealthy families among us. Most of us just ordinary people (thank God for that). We can expect to gain from the general effect of the social reform programme of the government though it will be take a long time before it filters through down to us. But there are going to events from which we too can benefit sooner. To do that, we should joins such local groups as will attract grant from US and other western governments for education, and several other local initiatives. Have courage to see your local political party agent about these things. Talk, and find things out. It gets easier the next time round. Most of all, there probably will be a fall in terrorist's attacks on us. Pakistani Muslims are beginning to realize that western government's response to the sufferings of the Pakistani Christians is no more and no less than it would be for any other minority's sufferings. An advertising campaign to should be mounted to allay suspicions in public mind about us. This rich Christian institute owes this much to us. Finally, collectively and individually, we must implant this message deep down in our minds and hearts that we are Pakistanis and our fate is irrevocably bound with that of the rest of Pakistanis.
David E Bhatti. Scotland