Wilson talked of the abject poverty for the majority of Pakistani Christians and the persecution they face
At the end of the meeting an informal discussion ensued during which we enjoyed Indian nibbles!
On Thursday 26th May at St John's Church in Stratford Wilson Chowdhry talked about the ongoing persecution and oppression of Pakistani Christians.
The event was organised by A Mr Glyn Morgan who is the Men's Discipleship Group leader for the Church. Glyn has proven himself to be a man very concerned about the persecution of minorities in Pakistan. He has been in communication with the BPCA for over a month and wanted to create a better awareness of the problems our community is facing within the homeland, amongst his group.
We talked about the history of Pakistani Christians and the visits to Taxila and Kerala from the Disciple Thomas. Many members of the group had heard this news for the first time.
The presentation described the commonly held belief that many more Christians exist in Pakistan then purported by the Government in their inconclusive census which dates back to 1965. We highlighted that fact that churches exist throughout Pakistan even in rural villages with few Christians, such as Asia Bibi's Ittanwala.
Signposting of major incidents including Gojra, Waris Pura, Shazia Bashir, Robert Danish (AKA Fanish Masih) and Asia Bibi shocked the group. Many knew little if any of the existence of Christians in Pakistan.
A full description of the Blasphemy laws and the constitutional failings of Pakistan emphasised the inferior status of minorities in Pakistan to the group. Moreover, we furnished details on the limited literacy within our community and blue collar roles our people are employed within, such as domestic servitude.
Glyn made a very important closing statement that succinctly described the major concern in Pakistan. He simply spoke of understanding for the first time how minorities in Pakistan, live in abject poverty and are susceptible to exploitation and persecution simply for holding to the Christian Faith. The situation for other Christian believers persecuted for their faith is often different. In the city of Josse within Nigeria, people have the threat of physical attack and torture much of it fatal, but they do not live as second class citizens. The violence in Josse in recent times is an abomination and the attackers have shown significant moral bankruptcy. However the legislative and constitutional frameworks in place do not marginalise any community.
That said, the battle for peace, reconciliation, freedom and equality is one that is cultural and institutional and such systemic problems will take a concerted effort to reverse.
The group is seeking to invite us to speak before a full church and we will keep you posted.