The Targeting of ‘Minority Others’ in Pakistan

The Targeting of ‘Minority Others’ in Pakistan
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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wilson reports on why he has been banned from Pakistan.

Many of you are aware of the ban imposed on me via the UK High Commissioner for Pakistan, yet few know the full details. I chose to refrain from divulging the full incident details until I had safely seen the return of my wife and children to the UK. Many of you may query why?.. and I promise to reveal the full facts as we proceed with this posting.

The incident first started after my wife and I decided to take a trip back to Pakistan to see her family, she is Lahore born and had not returned for 2 years, due to the work I have been undertaking for the BPCA and the heightened threat in recent years.  Prior to that we had been travelling to Pakistan annually.

Whilst completing her documents the first applications were rejected as the forms on the web were not current, these subsequently were re-completed with newer forms.

Wanting to be sure about the application process,  my wife took the opportunity to approach some High Commission staff at a meeting with the Interior Minister, I had been invited to in my capacity as Chairman of the BPCA. They offered her assistance before submitting the application and confirmed a date and time for her to come to the High Commission in a few days time.

In the meanwhile I published my story about the insouciance to tackle minority concerns exhibited by the Interior Minister and must have ruffled some feathers, as when my wife arrived with me at the allotted time and date we were told no-one was around to help.

I was a little frustrated with this but the officers agreed another date and time for assistance to complete the forms. Lo and behold in error the Officers had scheduled the second meeting on "Pakistan Day" a National holiday at which they could not possibly help, as they were busy eating halwa puree, cake and other niceties.  We noted no Christians were present and I opted to write a story about the paucity of minority representation and the lack of desire to hold a 1 minute silence to the recently lost Federal Minsiter Shahbaz Bhatti Shaheed.

If you thought my article on the Interior Minister pulled their nose out of joint you would have been shocked at the cold treatment I was getting from High Commission staff from here on.  I have always stated that I am not out to make friends, nevertheless, I find it a real blessing when friends are created as a consequence of my work with the BPCA.  First and foremost however, the BPCA has been created to raise a voice for the voiceless minorities of Pakistan.

Five ensuing trips to the High Commission drew little assistance and problems such as dual parent authorisation of our children's applications, a photo that was older than 6 months old and queues too long to allow service in time for that days Visa's actions prevented success. One particularly grating and shambolic delay was caused by a Visa officer confirming that we would be able to submit our eldest daughters Visa application without a full birth certificate(using the briefer copy), as long as we paid the full cost for a visa rather than applying for a discounted visa under the provisions set for Pakistani Passport holders (My wife's). After submitting the documents we were later told this could not be done.  If it was not a defined process such a scheme should not have been offered.  To me it seemed as if any possible hurdle was being erected to prevent my visa and my family would suffer as a consequence. Despite the fact that the application for my visa was correct and that two of my other children had fully complete applications by our 3rd visit, all visa applications were communally assessed?

On the 4th visit I held a snap protest after hearing that another brother was accused under Pakistan's controversial Blasphemy Law, this action seemed to grate the High Commission staff.  We are legally obliged to hold any protest we want in this country, however, the police prefer prior notice as it prevents a breach of the peace - we need permission to use a megaphone.  I chanted on my own whilst given verbal abuse by many Muslims who could not understand why I was so impassioned about Christian persecution, when their brothers were suffering attacks from Americans?  I tried to explain that one wrong does not justify another and tried to explain that Pakistans Christians were not complicit in the actions of America - to no avail.

I had by now taken 5 days of work and was rather fatigued so I asked my wife to attend the last session to get the Visa's once we knew all was complete.  The High Commission staff now decided to play their final card.  They informed me that I would have to have an interview with Juliet in my presence confirming that my children were allowed to leave the country.  I found this a rather contrived process as the people who were interviewing me were the same that had seen me with Juliet 5 times during the week?  The General Secretary and an applications officer were well aware of my attendance and support for the VISA applications.  They and other officers including the Communities Officer, had promised me that the application would be a smooth process and requested that I inform them if I had any problems on several occasions?

Disappointed and discombobulated as I was, I agreed to attend an interview with Juliet and the General Secretary.  A time had been set for 12:00 and on our arrival at 11:30 I informed them of our arrival.  We waited in a queue to be seen and at 13:30 they then advised me that the meeting had been moved to 15:00 without any apology or reason.  I had programmed another meeting for that time and was fuming that more of my time was being squandered unnecessarily.  They had been holding my passport and those belonging to my family for several days now.  Moreover, information such as letters from the owners of property inviting us to attend, which they had requested and had caused delay to our applications, proved to be worthless and whimsical.  My application had been fine from the outset and yet they had chosen to delay return of my documents with the appropriate visa approval.

I asked the lady at the counter for a reason for the additional delay, she stated that the decision had come from the High Commissioner.  I suggested that I provide a letter of confirmation which could be left with my wife which the officer categorically refused.  I did not want to waste another day at the High Commission so agreed to stay.  At 14:30 I asked if they could check if Mr Zecharia would be on time for 15:00. she called his office and stated their would be no guarantee.  By now I felt as if I was being played as a chump.  I asked the counter server if I was being treated this way due the work I was undertaking for the BPCA.  She just smiled back at me other officers were sniggering at this point.  My applications had been discussed with a much wider number of visa staff than was usual -a multitude had been involved in the process for some unknown reason.  We had been passed from pillar to post in a visible attempt to prolong the process.

At the end of my tether I shouted out stop persecuting me for being a Pakistani Christian. I just wanted my visa and I stormed out shouting how fortunate it was to be a British Pakistani Christian and promised not to stop fighting for the freedom of my brethren.

The Security officers outside the entrance to the High Commission accosted me and asked me what was wrong, as I explained one of them pushed me back into the foyer of the High Commission, whilst the other incessantly punched me to the face, which unbalanced me. I was dragged to a corner inside the High Commission and the heavy door was shut locking me in and causing a real dread.  I prayed as I was being sprayed with punches and God gave me the strength to push the two security Officer's away. The officer dealing the blows, seemed to suddenly cower and I warned him that if he decided to use his fists again that I would retaliate - this was more bravado then any real threat.  I am very slight of frame and have not had a fight since I was 11 years old or younger...

I took advantage of the "temporary stay of execution"  and called the local police informing them that I was being held against my wishes and had been assaulted.  In the meanwhile a diplomat came in telling me he too had call the police for an alleged assault on him (he was not even in the room), the lady from the counter also arrived by now and accused me of punching her in the eye, she showed a bruise that had been covered in make-up and was rather old looking (probably the result of the usual domestic bullying in families originating from Pakistan).  Unless I was Green Lantern or Mr Fantastic I cannot perceive how I could have punched her through the reinforced glass counter screen, moreover she arrived at the scene of my attack well after the blows had terminated?

The police arrived my wife and I told my part of the story, the High Commission gave their side of the story.  Two further High Commission employees gave their testimonies regarding the incident and I was bemused to hear that I was to be arrested under charges of assault.   Much due to the large number of witnesses.  My wife heard a private conversation between the diplomat and a colleague.  What he said would translate as;  "If he keeps on with this campaigning we will deal with him"  I assumed these were words spoken in anger when my wife first informed me and were not a deeper threat to my very existence.

The police refused to place me in cuffs despite significant clamour from high commission staff.  They had already decided that I was harmless and were not going to put me through the ignominy of such loss of freedom.  Moreover, they informed me that they would pursue for CCTV footage for the incident in an attempt to prove my innocence or guilt as they could see the High Commission was well equipped.

I was put in a cell but was treated exceptionally well.  Police provided me with a blanket and a newspaper and the cell was rather comfortable.  I prayed for God's intervention and after 2 hours I was set free as the High Commission dropped charges, probably through lack of evidence due to a reluctance to provide the very video footage that would incriminate them.  I did not immediately press charges as I wanted to drop the affair as I still wished to meet my in-laws in Pakistan.

The next day I met with the General Secretary for the High Commissioner Nafees Zecharia who informed me that my wife and children could go to Pakistan, however that I was to be banned indefinitely.

As upset as I was with this decision I did not press charges against the Security officer until a further 3 days and only when my back started paining and I felt my health had been compromised.  I asked for these charges to be dropped after the ISI (Pakistan's Secret Police) visit to my wife at her parental home

The ISI interviewed my wife for two days, mainly focusing on me and my life here in the UK.  Today an Imam and two ISI officer's have returned to her parents home and I have grave concerns for their safety.

I never envisaged that my work with the BPCA would have such ramifications and cannot believe the duplicity shown by the Pakistani government in interviewing my wife's father, an innocent man in his 60's, who has kept a life free of trouble.  I ask for Christians to pray for a ceasing of the recent attempts at thwarting justice and a stopping of the intimidatory actions utilised by the ISI.

27 comments:

  1. their minds are rotten. and u know they are hopeless . one day i was working with kids 6 years on average. they started condemning 2 shia kids wid hatred. so wotever they are they are transfering it into their next generation too. we pray for ur family in pak. our Savior is only God.and he never leaves us.

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  2. So sorry to hear of your rough treatment at the Pakistan Embassy. Undoubtedly the kind of work you are doing will bring persecution and attention from the authorities in Pakistan. This is part of the price you pay for seeking justice for our Christian Brothers and Sisters. Remaining calm and quietly determined is very difficult in these circumstances, and I can appreciate your frustration with it all.
    I'm glad your wife and children are safely back in the UK. We will continue to pray for your family in Pakistan and your work here in the UK.

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  3. Brother Wilson, we are really appauled to hear what you are going through. Among other things it shows how insecure, intolerent and intimated these Pakistani officials feel They are so afraid of a harmless man who is simply raising his voice for the oppressed Christians. What a shame.
    Be assured of our prayers for you and your family's safety. Stay strong for the Lord our God is with you.
    M.M Noble(on behalf of Scottish Asian Christians.)

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  4. I am really sorry to hear what your family is going through. My dear brother, we draw our strength from the risen Lord who suffered for us. You are very brave to still go on. You will be in my prayers, May God protect you and give us all the same courage as you have. Amen

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  5. Brother, why do you want to go to that God forsaken country. People there are like living in hell, all of them want to escape to the west. They are all bunch of hypocrites who will sell their grand mothers to come to west but at the same time curse the Europeans and Americans. You can do much more in this country by exposing their hypocrisy. That is what they are really afraid that the west will be able to see through them. This is where your vocation lies. God bless.

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  6. May God bless you and heal the hurts that you have suffered so unjustly. I pray that the persecution you have endured will not deter you from the work that the Lord has given you in fighting for the freedoms of the precious Pakistani Christians. I will be praying for strength, wisdom and courage for you - along with discernment. I will pray for your wife's precious family who is now under scrutiny and living in fear. May the Lord bind the forces of evil that would harm them. May the Lord protect you, your wife and your children.
    We will all be praying for you dear brother. God bless you. In His love and service, Mamite, California USA.

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  7. Sorry to hear about your treatment.. But keep fighting for our freedom your an inspiration and hopefully one day soon things will change...

    May God Give You The Strength To Never Back Down!!

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  8. Dear Wilson,

    Sorry to hear all about this story. It is very said the way you both were treated. What about the evidences police has taken from the video recorded when you were beaten? Was any arrest from the security people?

    Thanks God you and your family is safe. John Bosco

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  9. Dear Service provider to LORD JESUS & HIS People
    for HIS GLORY:
    May LORD give you more wisdom & strength to fight for justice & peace and open eyes of persecutors like Apostle Paul.

    Evanglist

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  10. SUE THE PAKISTANI GOVRENMENT AT ANY COST IN UK!!
    I will support you at all costs!
    Please phone me and I seek Justice for you?

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  11. Great security service. Can't find OBL in own country for 5 years, but abilities can just about stretch to harrassing and intimidating Christian women....

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  12. Wilson: You let them do to you in your own country - somthing is missing and I am very concerned about it. I am ashamed of the fact that no christian youngmen of London has come forward to shut down this Paki House called High Commission of Pakiland. You need me in there, Wilson. Why have you not yet laid assult charges against the culprits? Keep, us posted, Wilson.

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  13. It is a rather complicated situation Raymond, just as in the case of Raymond Davis there is diplomatic immunity that fits into this equation. The police did not want to get to embroiled in an international affair and my wife was being interviewed by the ISI in Pakistan for 2 days. I dropped the charges for the safety of my family. Moreover, it would have been a very elongated process to obtain the videos from the Pakistan High Commission who were playing every political manoeuvre.

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  14. Mr. Wilson, please contact me at my e.mal. gunner@brain.net.pk
    Nasir

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  15. I am Hadassah, sorry to hear the incident at your high commission. comming from this background myself,been in similar situation and encounter many injustice I feel for you and your family, as this is due to their insecurity and unstability in amny areas.We have to pray for them and may Elohim vindicate them. Trust and lean on HIS grace and mercy. Uphold you and BPCA in HIS goodness.On behalf of the Malaysian persecuted church.

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  16. Oh wow Wilson! What an inconvenience. I could understand how this all could be disheartening & frightening given the treatment of Christians there- especially b/c the role you play affects your loved ones. Brother I am
    a sinner not worthy of having my prayers being heard. But I will pray for the safety of your family & in-laws, as I continue to pray for Pakistan. Please press forward with your ministry. Even if worse comes to worse. Lord redeem your beloved according to your will. May our God give you wisdom, vision, clarity of mind, & support during this unstable time

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  17. Dear Wilson, I would like tell you that this is how sometime moments start and than revolations come, and its looks like in pakistan there are lots of Christian are facing lots of hate and problems this mean there will be a point where from revilotation will start these are sign of freedmom moment start, one day we wil see Christain will stand up for their rights that time is not very far. God Bless your and your family in Pakistan.

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  18. Dear Wilson, So sorry to hear the treatment you had from these so called diplomatic /representatives of Pakistan. But in effect they do represent Pakistan, in general, don t they? Their attitude, their fabricated stories/charges, their behavior all but proves that not only socially but morally Most Pakistani s have stooped to the lowest possible level and I wont be surprised if Pakistan as a country and as a nation claims the TOP spot in Failed Nation/State category, sooner than later.

    May God Of Abraham Isaac and Israel protect you, your family and all our Christian brethren from these wolves.Amen-

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  19. Did you not noticed that non of or very few from london are commenting on this gravelly tragedy - this the time when all chips should fall in proper places and a movement of freedom should start - with the help of, of course, from all members of the nation, at home and abroad. There will be expections but whoever will join, will reap the fruits of movement. These tactics used by these Bastards will not discourage those who have a will to stop them. Minds have to explode before reasonable solutions are discovered - lets find the avenues.

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  20. Anonymous who wrote:

    SUE THE PAKISTANI GOVRENMENT AT ANY COST IN UK!!
    I will support you at all costs!
    Please phone me and I seek Justice for you?

    Please come forward and stop being anonymous - speak with guts and not anonymously. 'raymond.durrani@sympatico.ca. please write me a note - we must discuss.

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  21. It is like reading about officials of the Soviet Empire.

    There is something particularly sad for me in the depiction of the woman - her cruel smile to you, gloating - paired with her willingness to prostitute her own pain by blaming you for the violence she has most likely suffered from her own relatives or friends.

    She is committing violence against herself by glossing over and supporting the violence she is suffering. Pray for that unhappy woman who has sunk so deeply into misery and loss of human dignity.

    Perhaps she has been beaten all her life to have been subdued so completely.

    May God touch her soul so that she may learn from your example and courage that it IS possible to oppose violence and injustice and move on to a better life, a kinder life!

    Even though she and the other officials all acted so cruelly against you, you have now witnessed to them that there is the possibility of protesting against injustice and violence.

    Maybe this will change them in time.

    I wish the best for them, a better, kinder life than the one they lead now, a life that does not demand lies or treason from them, or force them to cover up their wounds with makeup and clothes. A life that lets them show their human faces and lets them smile from pure happiness instead of from cruelty.

    I think you did them good, Wilson. Every time we protest against cruelty, we help not only ourselves, but all that suffer from it.

    I only hope that the experience did not damage you in any way, but only strengthen you.

    My best wishes for you all - you who were the victim of their violence and they who were the victims of themselves.

    "A murderer kills twice: He murders both his victim and the human in himself. A violent person strikes twice with every blow: He strikes down his victim, and brings his own soul down with it."

    Love from Mary.

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  22. Totalitarian states never did like open debate and free enquiry, especially when it exposes the Islamabad Reich for what it is.

    The struggle continues!

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  23. Brother Wilson,

    They can stop you, one thing is for sure. You are brave man and your courageous movement is really a voice for voiceless as you say.

    God bless you...

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  24. Hi Wilson

    I'm appalled to hear what has happend to you, I found out about it yeterday and was furious, God knows how you must be feeling, how can this happen in this country? It's bad enough that our people get abused in Pakistan, but to now have this happen in England? Absolutely rediculous! We must stand together on this, we simply cannot have these people thinking they are above the law, I say that you should press charges, this is the only way these people will be sorted, otherwise they will continue to make their own law and this persecution will start to spread in this country.

    Vincent Masih, Nelson, Lancashire

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  25. Many of you will have hard Sunrise Radios news story on this topic on Wednesday. Still the High Commission refuse to speak on the matter!

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  26. We have only to look to Christ and cling to Him for comfort. He was with you Wilson when you were unfairly treated at the embassy in London. He protected you. Forgive them because they do not know what they are doing. We are grateful to God that He opened our eyes, showed us that we were sinners who deserved the wrath of God, that is eternal death but through His free gift of grace and faith, He enables us to see our sinful condition, our helplessness, our inability to save ourselves. He provides the salvation. by the blood of Christ, we are reconciled to God. The peace, the joy and the love a Christian experience is just the ultimate beauty of life. What more do we need.
    I have no answer to 'Why are Christian girls or other girls from minority groups ill treated, kidnapped, raped and many forced to marry Muslim men and be converted to Islam?' But I know something when the God Son was separated from the Father God because He carried our sins and the wrath of God was appeased: this cry "Why have you abandoned me?" really meant that God abandoned our Lord but He promised He will be with us every day until the end of time."
    So one thing I know God is with these Christian girls and He even protects the other girls. He is God.

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  27. God will always deal with his enemies.No wonder Pakistan is where it is today economically.Don't worry bro God has the final say on all these issue.Your in-laws are in God's hands.

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