This morning I received a call from Zaki Samson who forwarded the email below and asked me to upload it in its entirety. Any message received from any members of public will be published uncensored unless it has inflammatory, or fabricated information. The BPCA is open to criticisms and concerns and try to respond to all enquiries swiftly. We encourage dialogue of any sort, we live in a democracy and believe in the freedom of speech and erudite knowledge available through information sharing and debate.
Zaki's email (sic):
It is very sad.
I appriciate your concern.
Many members of our community are working hard to raise the voice of our vulnarable minority individually but never thought to be united. Do you think that being a moniority is the ONLY CAUSE of these persecutions. I don't think so.Shazia being only of 13 years of age was forced to work. Why? Because she was the doughter of a poor christian family.It was her time to play and get education. But she could not. WHY?
Is not it a time for all of us to think that how can we take steps to eliminate poverty from among our community. Could you please think about yourself.
Are you playing your part and have you ever given a thought to do something in this regard.
Thank you Zaki Samson
I thank Zaki for his comments and will respond to his comments in order of print.
Firstly if we continue to work individually, we reduce the impact and the impetus of our efforts. The preceding efforts to resolve the numerous issues in Pakistan are evidence of this. I am not saying we all need to club together into one group - not at all. I am all in favour of separate movements, that reach a more diverse community and create a wide spectrum of benefits and solutions. However, we need to be supportive of one another and should promoting each others associated works, were possible, especially where linkage would be beneficial to the end user. For instance, I am in contact with Release International (campaign fro perescuted Christians) they receive our regular email bulletins. In response to our initial story regarding Shazia's demise they sent an investigation team to the victims house and are now working with the family. An officer from Release International attended our protest and was allowed to do so with a team of his cohorts, even though Release did not fully endorse the protest - contesting our flexibility compromise with the Blasphemy Law. Release want the immediate abrogation of the act we are choosing an attritional process to affect step by step attainment towards the eventual repealing of the unfavourable law. Release did not prevent the officer from attending (non representative) and have shared their regular updates with us. A happy compromise was reached and I have recently created a secure blog for sensitive information, such as Release regular updates. If anyone would like to be connected to this send your details to me, I will forward them to Release so that you can join.
Considering the plethora of organisations and individuals working for the benefit of our community, I personally feel it would be sensible to create a lead body, derived from leaders of the main players for Christian aid in Pakistan. It would provide useful cross pollination of ideas and services, create effective linkages and could provide a steering function towards the peace unity and justice we all wish to see in Pakistan. We should also hold interfaith meetings -allowing wider aid agencies working on similar goals to coordinate, share best practice and unify on big issues such as the blasphemy law. But I am an idealist!!
On your second point. I do not believe that being a minority is the only reason for concern in Pakistan. Quite the contrary the BPCA have been challenging for much wider educational reforms. We believe the standard of education in Pakistan has to be increased across the board, if we are to see any progress. We challenged the High Commissioner on the proposal to enhance education by hiring retired teachers in the UK to train Pakistani teachers - our main objection is that those in retirement use out-dated practices. We believe teachers should be recruited from main stream academies as teaching styles and aids have improved drastically in the last 5 years. Moreover, we have always stated statutory reform and police reform should not only tackle the minority equalities, but also the caste and wealth divide. Why in this day and age, can wealthy people thwart justice with bribes? In my most recent post about the progress in the Shazia incident I have proposed educational and statutory reforms of a broad context. Please read it again and see for yourself...?
The same egalitarian approach is highlighted in our meetings with Green Party MEP Jean Lambert (South Asian delegate to the EU), and with the High Commissioner of Pakistan in the UK - please read further:
We are with you on this point and agree that the lot of Pakistanis and not just Pakistani Christians or it's minorities is a bad one! We have been clamouring this from the outset and your query is rather unfair. We are new on the scene, yet were able to arrange such a wide selection of participants at our protest, meeting with the Green MEP Jean lanbert and delegation to the Pakistani High Commissioner. This is because we work on an inclusive principle based on the premise, that collaborative effort, will see to fruition the desire for justice, peace and equality, that affect so many of us globally.
Your next statements reflect on Shazia's position. We agree with you and if you read the post highlight above on the Shazia story. In the content of that link, I believe we have already posted an answer to your query - it may have fuelled your own suggestion? I believe you have already read this post, so you may be confusing us with another group...? Please advise.
We are an unfunded group and our work is very involved and costly - arranging the protest cost over £2000 and that came from my brothers and I (this does not include our time and travel costs only capital and revenue costs associated with the event). Much media attention was raised including several radio interviews, stories in UK and Pakistani newspapers. This resulted in meetings with MEP's and the High Commissioner of Pakistan. Both who have confirmed they would like to work with the delegations, on a long term basis. Our focus in on peace, justice and equality. Within that remit is a strong educational and employment focus base on parity of opportunity. We are doing what we can and that is all we can offer.
If you had some ideas you would have liked to share than why have you not done so? You cannot deny there has been opportunity to meet with us, we have held 3 public meetings and a protest and have visited several churches. Send us any ideas by email, call us on the phone, text us if you will we promise that we will respond to any query. We can respond publicly or privately - however you wish.
Our invitation is open to you and any others - we want to work with anyone and everyone and are planning a public meeting in February - to form a forward plan.