Thursday, 14 April 2011
Pakistani Christians call for wider Christian support for a minority to small to represent itself!
British Pakistani Christians urge Christians in the UK of all nationalities to support the victimised Christians of Pakistan.
The British Pakistani Christian Association has organised a protest on the 2nd July 2011 and calls on churches of all denominations to challenge their parishioners to join them in solidarity, calling for reform of the Blasphemy Laws and Constitution of Pakistan, that have made Christians second class citizens in their own country.
Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian association said:
"The Pakistani Government has never endured international attention of the nature it has in recent times since the death of Shahbaz Bhatti, the former Federal Minister of Minorities. The fact that it took the death of Pakistan's most progressive statesmen to highlight the suffering of the Christian community in Pakistan is deplorable.
Christians in Pakistan are a forgotten minority 86% of them work as in sewers, as domestic servants or as cleaners. Only 7% of Christians in Pakistan attain an adequate level of literacy and Christians are subjected to torture, persecution and killings, living in fear of the next attack.
So few of our people have escaped the oppression and injustices of Pakistan that we can only whisper our concerns to the wider world. Meaning that much of the atrocities our people have had to face have gone rather unnoticed. Historically, in the UK the largest protest we have managed to organise through our community has been limited to around 250 people. Without wider Christian support we are doomed to failure"
This year we have organised a multi-faith demonstration which includes Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews and much wider diversities. In particular, we challenge Christian brothers and sisters up and down the country, of all origins, to celebrate the continued existence of our Pakistani Christian community, who have survived much upheaval in recent times.
The bible says:
Ps 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. so please bring your banners and pick up your crosses for the suffering church.
Percentage of British Pakistani Christians in the UK:
In the 2001 census a figure of 8174 Pakistani Christians were purported to be living in the UK. These stats do not account for asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and those that are lost in the system due to unavailable information.
The BPCA believes that through births, new migrants and the increase in asylum seekers and illegal immigrants - a consequence of the worsening political and social climate in Pakistan, that our population figure for the UK will have grown.
Through our awareness of a growth in Urdu fellowships and links to more isolated pockets of our community, the BPCA surmises that our community will have grown to at least 15,000 – 20,000 British Pakistani Christians.
The total Pakistani Community in the UK was recorded as 747,285 making the British Pakistani Christian community only 1.09% of the overall Pakistani Population here in Britain.
The BPCA does not believe this is an accurate reflection of the percentage of worldwide Pakistanis that are Christian. We believe that Border Agency reluctance to accept religious asylum from Paksitan has been a significant factor in the low figure of Pakistani Christians living here. Moreover the lack of educational opportunities for native Pakistani Christian Communities creating limited "Highly Skilled Migrant" visa's or general student visa's, has resulted in a lower level of migrations of Pakistani Christians to the UK. This of course, is coupled with the fact that those fleeing persecution or with educational qualifications to further educational progress in the UK just cannot afford the plane fare, as their families must place food on the table before the luxury of good education.
It is essential that our community in the UK register themselves on the 2011 census, so that we are clearer on how our community has developed and grown.
Pakistani Christians in Pakistan:
The Pakistani Government purports that the Christian community in Pakistan is only around 1.6% of the entire Pakistani population. However, the BPCA believes this percentage to be incorrect – Bishops in Pakistan, after a recent study believe a percentage of 13% is closer to the truth. The BPCA holds no confidence in either figure as a number of concerns arise from the processing of both studies. The main census in Pakistan is highly fallible as many nationals are too illiterate to complete the census. No assistance is offered and many Christians fear that knowledge of their whereabouts could lead to persecution. The Bishops study based too much assumption on the hearsay of congregational members who "knew of families".
The fact remains that Churches exist in almost every city and town in Pakistan. Moreover, the primary aim of the British Raj was to save the souls of what they termed “Pagans” in Pakistan.
Our community has survived much persecution and continues to grow and stabilise despite the oppression, inequalities and injustice our communities are continually subjected to.
We are challenging the Pakistani Government to undertake a new census, using researchers from mixed religious and ethnic diversities (reducing potential for corruption). We believe new data would improve the existing employment and Local and National Government recruitment positions for minority groups (part of recent proposed positive discrimination to address imbalance).
(More history on first people from Indian subcontinent in the UK)