Pakistani Christians demand repeal of blasphemy law in Conference by PCC.


Rawalpindi: October 25, 2009. (PCP Report) Christian leaders in “All Christian Parties Conference” stress upon government of Pakistan to immediately repeal blasphemy here today

in a moot in Rawalpindi Press Club organized by Pakistan Christian Congress PCC. The Conference was attended by Christian delegates from Punjab and NWFP and prominent leaders representing different religious political groups of Christian. The well attended conference of its first kind in Pakistan by Christian called by Pakistan Christian Congress PCC was co-sponsored by Pakistan Masihi League. Mr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC was Chief Guest of All Christian Parties Conference who is presently in USA and was unable to attend the moot while his message was read and distributed among participants. Mr. Nazir S Bhatti in his message said “Janab Guest of honor and President of session, honorable leaders, ladies and gentlemen, It is great privilege for me to express my feelings when our Christian leaders and well-wishers are present to discuss issues causing grave impact on Christian nation. The unity is ultimate solution of every crisis and it is positive sign that we are united here and I am optimistic that we will chalk out a strategy to regain our mutual respect in society and due rights in resources of state for peace and prosperity in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan is passing through very crucial stage of history when militancy and insurgency have made hostage to society creating atmosphere of fear and chaos. We have been treated as second class citizen and deprived of our basic equal democratic rights but being son of soil we are ready to play our role in integrity and solidarity of our homeland. We are not here to create any law and order situation in country but to launch a peaceful movement for our rights and revival of dreamed Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam where he claimed freedom of expression and speech for every religion and cast. Are we living in country of Mohammad Ali Jinnah or in a state formed in light of Pakistan Resolution? If we can find out true answer of this question then peace will prevail within boundaries of Pakistan and every inhabitant shall be successfully marching in peace. But, it is not Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam!!! If we have to make it Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam, then we have to make necessary amendments in Article 2, of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which declares Islam to be state religion. We have to scratch Objective Resolution as preamble of our constitutional doctrine to make Pakistan a liberal democratic state. We were exemplary tolerant and harmonious society before Constitution of 1973 of Islamic Republic of Pakistan but Article 2, Fourth Amendment and 8th Amendment have created a violent society where one Islamic sect is firing on other Islamic Sect’s worship places and killing innocent worshipers. The militancy entered in our society after legislation of blasphemy laws in 1986, when all other religious communities declared to be infidel and majority group was equipped with a right to punish and kill any one in name of Islam. Our religious leaders were shot dead, innocents Christians were arrested and jailed, homes were destroyed, churches were set on fire, Holy Bibles were desecrated, Christians were gunned down and burnt alive on pretext of blasphemy law but we remained peaceful. But I want to inform government that Pakistani Christians successfully observed “Black Day” on August 11, 2009, to remind establishment that we have ability to protest in a very democratic way. I demand President of Pakistan to repeal blasphemy law by an executive order to block terrorism in Pakistan and secure life and properties of religious minorities in Pakistan. I assure you my brothers and our leaders that Pakistani Christian Diaspora in Europe and North America feels your miseries and suffering and raises voice against persecution of Christians on every forum. Pakistan Christian Congress is ready to host such gathering in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar for public awareness and unity among likeminded Christian social, religious and political groups in Pakistan for peaceful movement to repeal law. Pakistan Christian Congress PCC is struggling for rights on every forum and will march ahead until blasphemy is repealed and our equal democratic rights are restored. Please, except my apology that under unavoidable circumstances, I am not able to participate in this conference but hope that Lord will settle way for my early arrival in Pakistan and to participate in struggles and campaigns of my nation” Pakistan Christian Congress The President Pakistan Masihi League Professor Salamat Akhtar presided the conference. The focus of the conference was to maintain peace and harmony in Pakistan and to repeal the Blasphemy Laws 295-B, and 295-C PPC Mr. Ashiq Bhatti, Chief Organizer, Pakistan Masihi League, explained the working and the objectives of the Pakistan Masihi League, he said we are fighting for the rights of the Christians. He said we have been demanding from past 24 years we have been fighting against the Governments for the Christian Community. Mr. Yunis Gill, a leader in Social field said that I feel sad when the Christians are treated as 3rd grade citizens. He said my hearts cries to see the current condition of the Christians of Pakistan. We have to stand up now, or will we always be treated like aliens. We need to stay firm on the stand that the Blasphemy law should get repelled. Mr. Rizwan Paul, Chairman, LIFE For All, demanded that the Government of Pakistan to immediately repeal the Blasphemy law which is used as a tactic against the Christians. Mr. Mehboob Sada, Director, Christian Study Center and guest of honor at Conference stressed that in this era we need to work wisely and responsibly. We should not let our emotions take over our minds. We need to promote harmony and Unity, only we can fight for our rights. We need to educate the youth so that they get equipped to face the world. Acting responsibly is more important than acting emotionally. He said I am happy to here today that the Young Christians are very hopeful and are acting responsibly. These are the rising stars and the leaders of tomorrow. Mr. Ohm Parkash Nyran, Hindu Leader, thanked Pakistan Christian Congress for inviting a Hindu leader to speak and express himself. He praised Prof. Salamat for his efforts for the Christian Community and said that the Government has deprived all the minorities of their rights. He said Hindus have always been ignored by the Government. He said that we don’t feel safe, we cant express ourselves. He praised the Christian leaders for standing for their rights. Mr. Rashid, General Secretary, Pakistan Masihi League, appreciated the efforts made by Prof. Salamat Akhtar who led a movement for getting the representation in National and Provincial Assemblies in 1971-1972. He said that the representation in the Assemblies is not a gift from Bhutto, infact it was earned by the blood shed by the Christians who protested at the Punjab House, Rawalpindi. He said that the same emotions, feelings and sacrifice is required to get the Blasphemy law. Rashid said we are ready to shed our blood for the community. Dr. Stephen Salem Handed, Chairman, Pakistan Iqliati Rabita Party, said that he was a member of the PPP, he requested the Christians to vote for PPP and when they came into the power, they deviated from their words, so he was forced to leave PPP. He said that Bacha Khan, one of the founders of the ANP Party supported the Christians without their request. Bacha Khan always had a soft corner for the minorities and supported them. He said that this is one the qualities of the Pathans that they treat the minorities equally. Only the ANP supports the Christians in the NWFP, this is one of the reasons that the average of the cases of Blasphemy in NWFP are almost nonexistent. He said that it is so unfortunate that the fundamentalists have been the policy makers in Pakistan, the government cannot even say a word to these fundamentalists, he said that these fundamentalists have been making policies since the Bhutto era. Bhutoo, Nawaz Sharif and Mushraff never had the courage to say or stop these fundamentalists from making policies against the Minorites. Ch. Yunis Joseph, Christian Leader, thanked Prof. Salamat and Xavier William for organizing a platform for letting the leaders express themselves. He said that he was very sad and got aggressive at an article which was published in a news paper "Daily Jung" abusing the sign of the Cross. He said why this writer has not been arrested or punished? He has insulted my Jesus and is roaming free, why? The news paper authorities say that he is a mad person, then why is this mad person working at the news paper? He should be arrested and sent to jail. He said that this person should be arrested under the article 295B. Mr. Hanukah Bhatti, Christian Leader, criticized the puppet leaders who are in the assembly; he said that we should never look up to these so called leaders. We should condemn them and stand united and demand the repelling of the Blasphemy law. Mr. Faisal Anwar, Muslim Leader, Passdar-e-Pakistan, said I am amazed to see such leaders in the Christian Community present here today. He said Xavier William`s efforts for the community are clearly visible by managing to get these leaders at a platform. I am really impressed by Prof. Salamat, and agrees with all of these leaders that this Blasphemy law should be abolished. He said unfortunately in Pakistan these political parties are a group of family members, a son of a leader who doesn’t even know what politics is leading the party, where as these true leaders who have worked for more than 35 years are never even given the proper respect which they deserve. I am please to see such leaders here today and want to salute them. He said I am a Muslim, but I really want to get this Blasphemy Law repelled. He said that I am with the Christian Community in their efforts. Mr. Xavier William, Coordinator, Pakistan Christian Congress Islamabad/ Rawalpindi Council, thanked all the leaders for being there and specially thanked Prof. Salamat Akhtar for his guidance and praised his efforts for the community. Fr. Anwar Patras, All Pakistan Christian Action Committee, appreciated Pakistan Christian Congress PCC for arranging this conference and giving a chance to the Christian leaders to express themselves. He prayed for peace and harmony. Prof. Salamat Akhtar, President, Pakistan Masihi League, tthanked Mr. Nazir S. Bhatti for selecting Rawalpindi for this conference as due to the sacrifice of the Christians of Rawalpindi we got the representation in the Assemblies. A gentleman is a person who doesn’t harm or hurt others. So we have to become a gentleman He said that he read a few days back that some shoe manufacturer had written Allah underneath it, but he was not put under trial or arrested. I have been a professor of the History of Islam, I have researched and taught about the Prophet (PBUH) , the Prophet has a great importance, but is Allah important or the Prophet? But there is NO article or punishment in the constitution of Pakistan if you insult Allah in public. So if there is no article about Allah then why for a Prophet? Is this logical? He said I don’t understand this being a Professor of the History of Islam that we have a law for a Prophet but nothing for Allah. He said I have consulted so many lawyers they also are speechless on this, they said that this law which is only for Prophet is not justified. Then why don’t the Government understand this that this Blasphemy law is only a tool in the hands of the fundamentalists. He said I am a Patriotic Pakistani, we need to stand united and save Pakistan. If Pakistan will exist then we Christians and Muslims will exist.

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