Isolation in some cultures, ethics and moro-social values is taken as a curse whereas, some take it as privacy. Isolation in certain conditions and times is may be very good and results exceedingly positive, but it may not be always the same. Any nation, group or individual left in isolation dies soon and when isolation becomes a fate of the same, that nation, group of individual can not progress rather will become victim of different social ailments, diseases and will remain marginalized.
Though there are more than a dozen minority groups in Pakistan but particularly Christian community in Pakistan is a clear-cut picture of the above cited scenario; a nation and a larger group than others is lead in bits and pieces with short term objectives resulting in timely healed wounds. Development is a continuous process, which takes place in reciprocation. The history reveals that there has been no reciprocation in the development of Christians in Pakistan, which has resulted in high level of marginalization of the sub groups. Many groups, individuals, leaders and organizations such as, Churches, NGOs, politicians, individuals, groups and missionaries have been contributing their best to lift up the marginalized communities through various services that include health, housing, law, education, socio-economic empowerment and many more. As I have said earlier that development is a reciprocal process, that means, it should come from both sides, the organizations, churches, leaders and individual at the same time from the marginalized communities too, in order to complete this cycle of development. Where marginalized communities were urging sincerely for their development, they did not find a sincere leader and where leaders were sincere, they could not find sincere community to be developed. When I see the overall graph of the Christian community in Pakistan from the last three decades, it is though encouraging but frustrating because individuals have progressed, not the nation. Those individuals, who got opportunities, availed them and thus progressed, at the same time, hundreds of communities got opportunities but could not avail it timely and properly.
It is important to highlight some of the points which need to be discussed and noted seriously, as couple of groups and individuals think that they are the master pieces and the rest of the nation is stupid. Though Churches have taken lead in most of the development areas but have worked in isolation, worked more for their own projects than nation building. Non-governmental organizations being run by individuals and smaller groups worked harder than the bigger institutes but progressed themselves.
In one of the interview I conducted with Baba Suba in a poor Christian community, suburban slum of Lahore he said, “all church leaders, NGOs and social groups have come to this basti to develop us, but I have seen that they have developed and are now settled abroad, but we are still in mud houses, kacha roads and naked….”. It opened my eyes and bothered me to think twice, why these people have not developed if all the churches, development organizations and social groups have worked with them. Resultantly found, that these people did not cooperate with the above cited organizations when they seriously wanted to work for their development.
The history of Pakistan also reveals that individuals from Christian community have also placed their names on record for their meritorious services being rendered for the nation almost in all walks of life. They put their efforts, intellect, resources, struggles, ambitions and dedication but all in isolation. No leader has created an other leader, or helped to make an other leader. Today, we are suffering from lack of second leadership. Do you find any in Pakistan? I don’t because the existing leaders have not given any opportunity to the young people to grow and take the lead. We all know that couple of genius Christians have worked for law reforms in Pakistan, some in Sports, some in education, some in development, some in politics and many more in other fields. But how would you rate them, a 500 meters race or teamwork or a reciprocal development process? When I say the Churches may take lead to organize the rest of the civil society and make a bigger group to bring about a social change, they have restrictions because of their limited boundaries. When I say, the civil society organizations, should take lead and build up a greater platform for the ultimate development, the Churches have their limited policies. Who then would decide where to lobby for the rights and empowerment of those poor Christians who even do not have anything to eat?
I have fears that the rendered isolated services being given by the churches; civil society organizations, politicians and other groups would not result in developing Christian community in Pakistan, unless or until there is no strategic and committed efforts being make. For how long will we wait to be marginalized? For how long should we wait for attacks of fundamentalists and how many more innocent Christians to be killed, churches to be burnt, schools and hospitals to be ruined? Should we remain marginalized or do we need to take firm steps? If yes, then who is sincere to take up the cited above issues of the nation to re-build it?
I am extremely hopeless with our Christian politicians because the history reveals that none of them have done anything in concrete rather than building churches, boundary walls of the graveyard, roads and streets. I have firm believe in Church and the civil society organization along with some dedicated individuals who can make possible change in our society and can create better future of my nation. Because, all the existing churches have good working relationship with the whole world, including churches, donor agencies and governments from where they can get money, create leadership and pool that money in the right direction so that we do two main things, 1. Educate our new generation, 2. professionally train youth irrespect of their gender and lobby to fix them into mainstreams.
I have high hopes from NGOs and influential individuals too. They touch the right community with their right needs and problems. They have also access to local and find funds and utilize for the needs of the people. For God sake, try to understand, there is no Christian NGO, which is working nation wide other than the Church bodies. Is it possible that we can make on or harmonize the existing ones to become one body and do lobbying and empowerment work at national level? I believe it is not impossible but may be little difficult; we indeed have to bear the difficulties in order to build a nation rather that working in Isolation.