Special Rights of Muslims in Pakistan. Rt. Rev. Dr. Major (Retired) Timotheus Nasir

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In any civilized society every citizen enjoys all rights and privileges that are given to them according to law and the constitution without any discrimination of color, creed and religion of any citizen of that society. Likely so all Pakistani citiz

Among all the self “invented and reserved rights”, insulting Christianity is the most commonly used by every “Dick, Tom and Herry” or in Urdu, Ayra, Ghera, Natho Khera. These people think that insulting Christianity is their birth right. The most common word used for Christianity by these so-called Islamic scholars is “Mischief” or “Fittna”. (in Urdu language the word “Fittna” means much more than the word “mischief”) They are not at all ashamed to use the word “Fittna” for Christianity. They use derogatory words for Christian faith, the Holy Bible, the Christian Doctrines, the Saints and even Lord Jesus Christ. They feel pleasure in using “vulgar and street language” for every doctrine of Christianity, along with their centuries old false and baseless accusation that the Holy Bible has been “corrupted”. (Thanks to various translations and versions of the Holy Bible that come from the West. Especially the “Revised Standard Version”). One Dr. Israr Ahmad used the word “Devil” for Saint Paul few years ago. One can find such derogatory books on Christianity in every book store in Pakistan. The daily newspapers, the Islamic and none Islamic magazines, columns and columnists do not hesitate to insult Christianity on any thing that goes on in the world. Even the state run and private television channels keep insulting Christian faith every now and then. Private television channel “Geo.TV” during its Christmas 2002 and 2003 and Easter 2004 used extremely derogatory remarks and words, for Christianity, Christ and Holy Bible in their program “Alim On Line”. The Comparer of this program, Dr. Amer Liaqat Huissain is the member of National Assembly, never cared for our repeated protests.

Such practice is not allowed by the Criminal law of Pakistan. The Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-A, clearly states regarding, Offences relating to religion. According to Section No. 295-A. [Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs] Whoever with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [ten] years, or with fine, or with both”.

Despite the presence of this law in Pakistan Penal Code, no case has ever been registered against the people who insult our religion and religious beliefs. “Rud-e-Essaiyat” (refute or rebuke Christianity) is most commonly used word against Christianity. To this date, a considerable number of Christians have been accused by “minor children” and have Bible has been “corrupted”. (Thanks to various translations and versions of the Holy Bible that come from the West. Especially the “Revised Standard Version”). One Dr. Israr Ahmad used the word “Devil” for Saint Paul few years ago. One can find such derogatory books on Christianity in every book store in Pakistan. The daily newspapers, the Islamic and none Islamic magazines, columns and columnists do not hesitate to insult Christianity on any thing that goes on in the world. Even the state run and private television channels keep insulting Christian faith every now and then. Private television channel “Geo.TV” during its Christmas 2002 and 2003 and Easter 2004 used extremely derogatory remarks and words, for Christianity, Christ and Holy Bible in their program “Alim On Line”. The Comparer of this program, Dr. Amer Liaqat Huissain is the member of National Assembly, never cared for our repeated protests.

Such practice is not allowed by the Criminal law of Pakistan. The Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-A, clearly states regarding, Offences relating to religion. According to Section No. 295-A. [Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs] Whoever with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation insults or attempts to insult the religion or religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [ten] years, or with fine, or with both”.

Despite the presence of this law in Pakistan Penal Code, no case has ever been registered against the people who insult our religion and religious beliefs. “Rud-e-Essaiyat” (refute or rebuke Christianity) is most commonly used word against Christianity. To this date, a considerable number of Christians have been accused by “minor children” and have been jailed under Pakistan Penal Code Section 295-B and 295-C which to the best of my belief, they never violated. These cases are registered to avenge personal disputes, business rivalry, hate and enmity with Christians. These accused Christians are rotting in jails for years. A crime that has a maximum punishment of “Ten” years imprisonment is not an ordinary or small crime. Yet no case has ever been registered against any Muslim who injures the religious feelings of Christians of Pakistan. The Christians feel vexing of heart and anxiety over this immoral attitude of the Muslim majority. The people who have stirred, enraged and roused our religious feelings, get away very easily and comfortably. On 8th July 2004 a columnist of the Daily News Paper “The Daily Jang” the most circulated Urdu news paper in Pakistan, Mr. Baidar Bakhat in his column “Christian Fundamentalism and the Middle East” (in context of war in Iraq) used extremely annoying language against the Holy Bible and on 16th July 2004 under the same “Heading” in the same news paper and another columnist Dr. Mehmood Abbas Bukhari, gave most unbearable, dirty and extremely derogatory remarks for the New Testament. Both the columnists were not checked by the news paper people, the “Press Brach” that reads all news papers, magazines and books published in Pakistan. (It is mandatory for every printer publisher to send at least four copies of their publication the “Government Press Branch”). No case of Section 295-A Pakistan Penal Code was registered against them. We are sure that such people are willfully ignored by the Federal and Provincial Governments. Therefore these mischievous people get away. Our government, the Judiciary and Bureaucracy has closed their eyes on the insult of Christianity and our anxiety. The Pakistan Police will not register any such case and even if we do try along with evidence in black and white. On contrary very criminal case will be registered against us by the Pakistan Police. And we will be made to suffer under all criminal laws of Pakistan. In Pakistan Penal Code there is only one law that could safe guard the miseries and anxiety of Christian community in Pakistan and that is PPC 295-A. It seems that the government of Pakistan has rendered this law null and void or has forgotten this law. Therefore we are justified to say that the government, the judiciary and the law enforcing agencies such as Police has accepted the “self invented illegal and unconstitutional right” of each segment of the Muslim majority. We do try to reply to these so-called Muslim scholars but there are sanctions on our “words and pen”. I am sending my note of protest to the daily Jang Lahore via Fax repeatedly since 16th July 2004, but there is no response. I dare ask the Government, the Judiciary and the Police department, for how long do we have to suffer religious discrimination, anxiety and insult to our religion and religious beliefs? Is there an end to it? Does any one have an answer? I guess not.

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