Raymond Durrani raises issue of Asia Bibi in 2nd Canadian parliamentary forum on religious freedom
05 Apr 2012
Ottawa: April 5, 2012. (PCP) Mr. Raymond Durrani, Central Committee Executive of Pakistan Christian Congress for the Canadian Chapter participated
in ‘2nd Parliamentary Forum’ on ‘Religious Freedom and Governance’ on invitation of Government of Canada, held at Govt. Conference Centre, Main Hall, Ottawa on April 2nd, 2012.
PCC leader Mr. Raymond Durrani questioned the Hon. Bob Dechert MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. John Barid about the anonymous motion passed in the House of Commons instructing the Government of Pakistan to release of Asia Bibi who had been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.
Mr. Durrani asked whether a reply from the government was received and if was what and if not – what is government doing to tackle the ignorance of Government of Pakistan for not coming back with a reply. Further, he asked “what is the intention of the government of Canada – would it consider filing a case with the United Nation for any recourse to get the attention of the Government of Pakistan for release of Asia Bibi and many others rotting in the prisons of Pakistan which are plagued with deplorable and unbearable condition on top of the treatment they receive from the members of the Muslim Extremists who manage those prisons?”
Majority of the questions from the audience were from the people from the Pakistan origin who drew the attention of the panelists in particular, the attention of the MPs of the current government for the persecution of largest minority of Pakistan, members of the Christian nation. Mr. Vincent Samuel from Hamilton explained as to how members of the Christian nation are impacted and suffering from the government of Pakistan polices such as nationalization of all the elite Christian institutions like Schools, Colleges and Hospitals which provided jobs and resources to support their livelihood and created a climate of deprivation after the nationalization.
Leader of Pakistan Christian congress PCC who heads PCC Canadian Chapter Mr. Durrani also suggested the Hon. Dechert and other MPs whether it would be possible to attach any further financial aid given to Pakistan to such issues of lack of religious freedom provided to the minorities of Pakistan particularly, the largest minority, and the members of the Christian Nation. Mr. Durrani was advised that the reply will be sent to him after consultation with the right party when the parliament reconvenes.
The forum was opened with welcome by David Anderson, a backbencher MP and Mr. Bhatti of ICV, whileThe Examination of Governance by Michael Van Pelt, Editor, Researcher and Robert Joustra, President of Cardus – a think tank capacity institution. Both described the role of religion and governance while freedom being the core issue at hand for discussion.
‘The Reality of Religious Restrictions’ by Mario Silva editor of International Journal of Rights and Security/former Liberal backbencher MP, Scott Reid a backbencher MP of the current government, Mohd. Jebara of Cordova Academy and Hon. Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. John Baird. Each one examined the role of religion and its freedom and responsibilities the governments have towards good governance – what role the governments play in protection of religious minorities etc. It is important to note that all the MPs stressed on freedom for religious minorities around the world. It is intention of this government to raise this issue to the countries in violation of this freedom – countries like Pakistan and Iran for example to mention, said Bob Dechert MP and Assistant to Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Role of Social Media was narrated by Mr. Brian Lilley, Host Byline, and Sun News Network. He explained how the social media like the Facebook can pick on the issues discussed on TV networks and or printed in major news papers around the world. It is a very powerful tool which connects people to study the issue and draw conclusion satisfactory and acceptable by the general public of all religious organizations.
Brian Lillyey was also held responsible to ‘Call to Action Discussion’ – He opened the floor to the audience who were given the opportunity to ask questions, display suggestive views on issues discussed by the four panelists. It is important to mention that Imam Mohd. Jebara left the Forum soon he finished his part and it was his part which most of the audiences question but he wasn’t there to answer – may be he knew what he said and decided to leave rather than face the criticism – good for him.