London: (By Juliet Chowdhry and Hannah Chowdhry) Religious intolerance in Pakistan has reached alarming levels, with recent announcements made in local mosques driving the Christian community in Sheikhupura, Punjab, to flee their homes for their safety.
The situation has ignited concerns about the safety and well-being of religious minorities in the country, who increasingly find themselves targeted by baseless accusations.
On Tuesday, September 5th, Pastor Akhtar from Ghosia Colony, Joyanwala Mor Sheikhupura, filmed a video addressing the escalating tension in the region following announcements of blasphemy accusations against a Christian resident in the local mosque. Pastor Akhtar’s plea for help was poignant, stating, “We are in danger. The police force should be immediately sent for our protection.”
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The Christian community now lives in fear of a repeat of the horrific events that unfolded just last month on August 16th in Jaranwala when houses and churches were set ablaze after similar announcements in mosques (click here). These incidents have left Christians in Pakistan feeling vulnerable and persecuted
It is reported that the allegations of blasphemy stemmed from a personal dispute between a Christian man and a Muslim individual, highlighting how personal grievances can lead to grave consequences for religious minorities. The Christian community, terrified by the accusations, has dispersed to various locations in a bid to safeguard their lives and those of their loved ones.
In response to the escalating tension, a significant contingent of police forces has been deployed to Ghosia Colony. Senior police officers are also on the scene to maintain control and ensure the safety of the affected Christian community. However, the underlying issue of religious intolerance and baseless blasphemy accusations continues to plague the nation.
Regrettably, it has become a disturbing trend among the Muslim majority in Pakistan to level accusations of blasphemy against Christians as a means to settle personal scores. These accusations often result in mob violence, threats, and the forced displacement of religious minority communities.
This troubling pattern of persecution is not isolated. Recently, a pastor in Faisalabad was shot when attempts to convert him failed (click here). Instances of Islamic text being written on the walls of a church in Karachi and Rehmat Town Kamuanna Faisalabad have added to the sense of insecurity felt by Christians across the country.
The Christian community and other religious minorities in Pakistan are increasingly living under the shadow of threats to their lives and property.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“The incident in Jaranwala has already ignited fear and anxiety within Pakistan’s Christian community.
“This latest threat only serves to further exacerbate the existing feelings of helplessness among them.
“If the escalating violence and hatred towards Christians continue to grow, as we have witnessed in recent weeks, it may soon become impossible for Pakistani authorities to prevent the potential genocide of Christians.
“This situation is deeply concerning, and immediate action is necessary.
“The government of Pakistan should prioritize the safety and well-being of all its citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs.”
To address these pressing challenges , several key steps must be taken:
Legal Protections: Strengthening and rigorously enforcing laws that safeguard the rights of religious minorities, ensuring that perpetrators of discrimination and violence are held accountable.
Law Enforcement: Urgently investigating and prosecuting individuals responsible for threats and violence against religious minorities, demonstrating a commitment to justice.
Community Engagement: Promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding to foster religious tolerance and reduce tensions within society.
International Engagement: Collaborating with international partners and human rights organizations to raise awareness about the situation and apply diplomatic pressure to protect minority rights.
Education: Integrating education programs that emphasize religious diversity, tolerance, and the importance of peaceful coexistence into schools and communities.
Support Services: Offering comprehensive support services to victims of religious violence and discrimination, including psychological counseling and legal assistance.
The spectre of genocide is a grave concern, and proactive measures must be taken to prevent such a tragedy from unfolding. Please pray for Pakistan.
The British Asian Christian Association is a charitable organization committed to enhancing the lives of Christians in South Asia. Our mission is to eliminate injustice and persecution while fostering a climate of political and religious equality across the region. Our multifaceted efforts encompass various initiatives, such as the provision of clean water wells, liberation from slavery, advocacy on behalf of individuals facing blasphemy accusations, and safeguarding their families. Additionally, we engage in evangelism and the production of Bibles to support our broader goal of promoting spiritual well-being and social justice in South Asia.
Your generous contributions play a crucial role in sustaining our efforts. By donating (here), you directly support our mission to improve the lives of Christians in South Asia and continue our vital work. Thank you for being a part of this important cause and helping us make a lasting impact in the region.