The Targeting of ‘Minority Others’ in Pakistan

The Targeting of ‘Minority Others’ in Pakistan
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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

More gunfire on the Streets of Karachi

A church minister in Karachi has asked for prayer for him and his family and for peace in his city.  There has been heavy gunfire outside his house last night.  It has left his 2 year old child scared, unable to sleep, and has got a fever as a result, while the pastors father slipped and fell as a result of hurrying to the door as the guns fired.

Peshawar Bishop Majeed pleads for help to rebuild burnt church


Bishop Majeed holding burnt remnants of the Bible



Islamabad Pakistan, (Shamim Masih): 

Rampaging Muslims attacked an Anglican church in Mardan near Peshawar following noon prayers last Friday, during riots against the anti-Mohammed film that has stirred protests throughout Pakistan. 


Bishop Peter Mujeed said thousands of people on 21st September broke into a church compound, burnt the church, school books, Bibles and other religious books and artifacts.   The mob destroyed 27 homes in the church compound including the houses of two priests and the school head teacher, he added.


Displaced families are living with their friends and relatives now and need your help to restore them, according to Bishop Peter Majeed.


The extremists tried to set the pastor's son (Zeeshan) afire. Items of value to the militants--computers, office equipment, and chairs were stolen and the buildings were set ablaze.


Bishop Majeed said that innocent Pakistani Christians had nothing to do with the production or promotion of the anti-Mohammed film. Most know little about it, yet they are paying the price simply for being Christian in a nation dominated by Islamic extremists -a country where government officials and moderate Muslims fear to talk to protect minority’s rights on their behalf.


The Diocese of Peshawar, where the attack took place, provides education and health services to the local community – Muslim and Christian alike – and provided substantial support to victims of floods and a major earthquake in recent years, regardless of their religious affiliation.


'Where is the media outrage? When a Quran is burned or a film considered blasphemous appears on You Tube, Muslims respond with global riots and protests. But When Christian holy books are destroyed, or a church is burned, there is silence. Where is the Chief Justice of Pakistan? 


With respect to the Chief Justice, the bishop mentioned the case of Rinkal Kumari, the Hindu girl kidnapped and forced to marry, and who was brought to the top Pakistani Court. The Chief justice gave reassurances that justice would be done, but in the end the girl was handed over to her so-called husband, said the politician MLA Rameesh Lal.  


Bishop Peter Mujeed  asks Christians around the world to pray for God’s protection for Pakistani believers. He also requests help to rebuild their church building as early as possible.

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"This heinous act has been undertaken with little response from leaders in the West.  Many justifiably rushed to indicate their outrage at the hurt that the film titled "Innocence of Muslim's has caused, few have condemned this attack on a church community.  This lack of concern will only serve to continue the reckless impunity with which extremists operate in Pakistan."

In response to this request for help, the BPCA would appreciate any donations towards supporting the Families affected by the looting.  The Government has offered £3,000,000 rupees for the restoration and we hope that will come to fruition.  If you believe someone you know would be willing to contribute please send this request to them.  


If you would like to contribute to this "Mardan church fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay in several ways;


Firstly by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog. Just click the yellow oval with the words donate and follow instructions. 


You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;


British Pakistani Christian Association.

Address : British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
Ilford
Essex
IG1 1XG 

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 


Sort Code: 20-67-90 

Account Number: 63468976 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Our second food distribution to Rimsha's Townsfolk fed a new set of 20 families - the need is still great!


Shamim bought cookies for the children that filled them with great excitement!


Shamim tells us he felt like Santa Claus and the children were both polite and patient awaiting their turn for the food gifts.


Fathers and mothers were grateful for the food that meant they did not have to fear starvation for another week.


20 further families were fed after donations increased during this week.


The BPCA is the only group thus far to have served the particular families we have reached.  Many of them had become very despondent.


Mothers concerned about feeding their children spoke of their joy at receiving food parcels.


Shamim had to travel late at night to an extremely dangerous zone where these families are being intimidated.


Shamim was sent funds across on Friday and was able to coordinate the delivery by Saturday.  His efforts were much appreciated by the suffering families


Food deliveries were made till late at night.  Some young men kept watch to ensure all were safe from harm.


The families queued for the food desperate to ensure that they received there bundles.



Cookies were a special treat to children who rarely have opportunity to eat them.

Thank you for your recent donations so far we have received an initial £170 and then a further £200 that has contributed towards food for 38 families, all of whom have returned to Mehrabadi G12, Islamabad - the town of Rimsha Masih.  These families are still suffering from intimidation, despite the recent reports that Police confirm they believe Rimsha is innocent.  

On meeting with the families Shamim tells us of the despondency these families feel. The community in which they once enjoyed peace and tranquillity has become a place of nightmares.  Adults have lost their employment partly due to discrimination, others for simply not having turned up for work during their exodus from their homes.

Shamim Masih said;

"Whilst visiting the families I noticed the children seemed subdued and cautious.  They spoke of the bullying they have been receiving from adults and children alike.  They felt like outcasts"

He added;

"I bought the children some cookies it created such joy and I was blessed with numerous hugs.  It made me cry a little and I have promised to go back to the first 18 families, so I can give the children there some cookies too.  It is a shame that children have to suffer such intolerance, what have they done wrong?"

The families have enough provision for a few weeks, however they need much more support.  They feel let down by a government that has completely forgotten them.  Two protests have yielded no assistance and despondency is increasing.  They all express great joy in the news that Police have found Rimsha innocence and await an acquittal at her next hearing.  However, they fear their community will receive the brunt of reprisals if she is exonerated.  Nevertheless they are confident she will be released and are thankful that God has taken care of poor Rimsha.

Simon Naveed a local man said;  

"Rimsha is our daughter we have been so concerned for her.  We do not blame her for our situation or treatment, she is an innocent child caught up in the evil of other men"

Sohail Masih said;

"Thank you BPCA for your gifts, it is so encouraging to know that people in the UK care about us."

The BPCA would appreciate any further donations these families are in need of a lot more support.  If you believe someone you know would be willing to contribute please send this request to them.  

If you would like to contribute to this "Rimsha Masih Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay in several ways;

Firstly by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog. Just click the yellow oval with the words donate and follow instructions. 

You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;

British Pakistani Christian Association.
Address : British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
Ilford
Essex
IG1 1XG 

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 

Sort Code: 20-67-90 
Account Number: 63468976 

Protest against Church burning in Mardan


Here is an image of a protest against the church burning in Mardan held on Monday 24th September.  Protesters called for the Government to restore their homes and the church.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Now even Police admit there is no evidence to support Rimsha blasphemy allegation!


The Police authorities of Islamabad have confirmed there is no evidence to prove Rimsha Masih the young child accused under the iniquitous blasphemy law of Pakistan, desecrated any religious or holy papers.

In a revised charge sheet submitted to Islamabad District and Session Court (Friday 21st Sept 2012), Police claim that the accused local Imam Mohammed Khalid Chisti was guilty of tampering with evidence.  The document states that he added torn and burnt pages of holy text into a bag that was being carried by Rimsha.  The evidence is currently being examined further at a forensic laboratory in Lahore.

Judge Ghulam Abbas Shah adjourned the case till Monday, Sept 24 to decide on whether Hafiz Mohammed Khalid Chishti should face trial.

Police claim that no-one has identified where Rimsha  was alleged to have burnt the holy text and that two witnesses have testified that it was Rimsha's six year old sister who had disposed the rubbish outside the house of one Maqbool Ahmed, where it was later found by a Mehreen Noor the daughter of Mr Ahmed.  Ms Noor then sent then burnt pile of papers to Imam Chisti. 

The police also state  in their report that Chishti is “an educated person and knows religion and the sanctity of the Holy Quran.” Moreover, the police accuse Chishti of deliberately tearing two papers from the Holy Quran to add them into the pile of burnt papers, and preparing a false testimony. Chishti had also signed the testimony as a witness. The police report further claims that Rimsha, a minor Christian girl, is illiterate and her mental age is not equivalent to her actual age, which is 14.

Rao Abdur Rahim, the counsel for Rimsha’s neighbour Hammad Malik who had accused her along with Chishti, said he was not satisfied with the police report. He has promised to make her face trial blaming investigators with "bad intent" for these new revelations that seem to exonerate Rimsha Masih.

The district attorney, who signed the charge sheet along with a note of objections, observed: 

“Had Khalid Chishti burnt the Holy Quran, prior to adding them in the evidence, he could be declared accused under section 196 PPC.”

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"It would be a travesty of justice and a blight on Pakistan's human rights and legal record if Imam Chisti is tried under section 196 of the Pakistan Penal Code, especially considering the weight of evidence supporting his blasphemy.  Rimsha Masih, was beaten arrested and imprisoned on the basis of a purported desecration of the Koran, punishable under the iniquitous blasphemy laws of Pakistan - Imam Chisti should be tried under these same laws.  Failure to enact this procedure would highlight the duality of the Pakistani Justice system and would cement the notion of impunity for persecutors of minorities."

He added;

"Rimsha and her family who have suffered great anxiety throughout this ordeal should be duly compensated and protected. Many of her villagers are homeless or seeking relocation fearful of the neighbours that once accepted them.  The Government of Pakistan has a duty to these people and must ensure that they are kept safe from harm and that their lives can return to a relative normality."


5th Christian shot dead in Essa Nagri

Body of Zulifiqar Masih

At 10:30pm on 22nd September, there was yet another fatal attack on the Christians of Essa Nagri in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city.  This time the victim was Zulifiqar Masih, a young man of 30.  The attacks are being perpetrated by Muslim extremists (Taliban) who target the Christian slum, using various weapons including machine guns.  There were also fatalities and woundings due to police firing on peacefully protesting Christians
Victims
29th August                  Fasil Masih
12th September             Yousaf Masih
15th September             Rafi Masih,and Nasir Masih, and several Christians injured
22nd September            Zulifiqar Masih.

RIP.
Local activists are again calling for prayer for the Christians of Essa Nagri


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Parishioners call for restoration of Mardan Church

Image of desecrated church!

Parishioners of St Paul's Sarhadi Lutheran Church in Mardan, Khyber Pakhthunkwa are calling for the Government to restore their church back to it's "former glory."  The church which was built in 1937 provides education and health services to the local community – Muslim and Christian alike – and provided substantial support to victims of floods and a major earthquake in recent years, regardless of their religious affiliation.

During a local "protest"on Friday afternoon (21st Sept), over the release of and anti-Muslim movie called "The innocence of Muslims", a mob broke into a church compound in Mardan near Pashawer, burnt down the church, and destroyed 27  homes in the church compound including the houses of two priests and the school head teacher.  The mob burnt bibles and other religious artifacts including books with Islamic text and many question whether blasphemy charges will be laid against the those that have been caught.

The attack took place after the Government called a national holiday, purportedly in sympathy of protests against the film.

The national holiday meant that the 500 students that would normally have been on the premises, were away during the attack.  However several school workers were severely beaten by the attackers and have had to receive hospital treatment.  Local Police have confirmed around 50 arrest have been made on perpetrators of this violence.

Mr. Lazar John, a local resident spoke to our local officer Shamim Maish;

"The angry mob tried to burn a young man -Zeeshan John, who survived by the grace of God."

"The loss is estimated at more than one billion rupees," he added.


Local pastor Peter Mujeed said;

"It is normally observed that whenever any thing is said or done against the Muslims by the west, they take revenge on local [Pakistani] Christians. I wish people in the west realized how much they can make us suffer."


A local parishioner spoke to us of the fear and anxiety he is feeling;

"This attack was unwarranted our community has done nothing to deserve this treatment and punishment. Local police arrived late - they stood back and watched."

He added; "How will we worship our Lord Jesus now?"

The Mulsim mob that attacked this church are said to have been between 8000 - 10,000 strong a sizeable number, that has left many fearing that another attack is imminent.  The parishioner explained:

"That so many local people could hate Christians is frightening, it makes me feel unsure about the future of my town.  I remember the attack on Gojra where people were killed, I just want to protect my family and may be leaving the area."

A protest by parishioners  and clergy was held on Saturday during which they called for better protection of religious places and Christian communities in Pakistan, whilst also making common cause with Muslim's by condemning the iniquitous movie.

Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Maulana Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi told "The News"; “The people involved in this unfortunate incident could never be taken as the followers of Islam because Islam teaches tolerance and peace and preaches respect for all other religions equally.” In a strong condemnation of the attack.

The attack has come as somewhat of a surprise by local Christians as their communities across the country have showed great empathy with Muslims, by joining them in demonstrations against the movie.  Moreover the very first protest against this film in Hyderabad was lead by Christians.  

Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA said; 

"The BPCA wholly condemns this movie that has created much hurt to adherents of Islam.  The whole intent of this movie has been to cause schism and division amongst those of the Christian and Muslim faiths.  We also however condemn the acts of the extremists in Pakistan whose very violent reaction has only served the purpose of the producers of this film.  The Christian faith requires us to "Love our Brother" causing hurt like this is against our faith, it is essential that Christians and Muslim's across the globe embrace each other in an show of solidarity that we might nullify the affects of this iniquitous movie."  

He added;

"Pakistani authorities must protect the innocent Christian minority in Pakistan, who are not responsible or supportive of this movie.  Those that have suffered loss must receive adequate compensation and every effort  should be made to restore peace in these local communities.  If not, it is the movie makers who will have succeeded with their malicious desires." 

The BPCA has launched a fund to assist with the reconstruction of the church and if you would like to contribute please use the details below:

"Mardan Church Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay several ways;


Pay by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog and electronic means of transfer will be initiated when you click donate written in the yellow oval. 

You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;

British Pakistani Christian Association.
Address : British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
Ilford
Essex
IG1 1XG 

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 

Sort Code: 20-67-90 
Account Number: 63468976



Source 1

Friday, 21 September 2012

Church and school attacked in retaliatory action against anti-muslim film!

Actual image of burning Mardan Church.

Islamic extremists have attacked St Paul's Church in Mardan Pakistan and an adjoining School 21st September 2012.  Many believe the stimulus was the government announced day of protest against an anti-Islam film. 

A Muslim mob said to be around 8000 strong raided the Christians complex and set the Church, the homes of two priest an adjacent School and adjoining Head Teacher's home on fire.  They have looted these premises, taking everything from newly installed computers to chairs and whatever seemed valuable from them. 

Muslims desecrated Bibles and religious artifacts especially many which are used in the most holy ceremonies within the Anglican church.  Many were brought out into the public compound of  the Church and were set on fire. 

The BPCA is concerned that similar incidents will reverberate throughout Pakistan. 

Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA said;

"No Christian in Pakistan is safe, hostility towards our communities there have been exacerbated by Rimsha Masih's high profile blasphemy case and the release of a movie in America, that reportedly blasphemes against Islam's prophet Mohammed.  Any community whether in a city or in a more rural location can at any time become the target of similar aggression. We call on Pakistani Christians to terminate their protests in support of a ban of this movie - they have simply made you targets for retaliation.  Please keep as low a profile as possible whilst the rampage continues."

Mardan is a major city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, located about 38 miles east of Peshawar.  Local authorities say they have arrested about 50 people in their investigation.





Christian beaten by Muslim policeman for using same glass as them


We reprint this story verbatim from this source
LAHORE: A Christian worker at a veterinary dispensary building shared by a police post has accused two police officials of beating and humiliating him for drinking water from a glass used by the policemen.
Nisar Masih, assistant at the Veterinary Dispensary at Jandiala in the Narang Mandi police area, told The Express Tribune that he had filed an application on August 4 to the Sheikhupura regional police officer (RPO) against ASI Rana Raees Ahmed, the police post in charge and constable Muhammad Sarfaraz for beating him up for drinking water from a glass he found in front of the former’s office.
According to the complaint, Sarfaraz took Nisar Masih to the office of Ahmed on seeing him drink water from the office cooler. Ahmed asked Nisar Masih about his religion.
When he responded that he was a Christian, Ahmed remarked, “How dare you drink from a Muslim’s glass?” Ahmed then asked Nisar Misih to sit. When he sat in a chair, Ahmed admonished him, “How dare you sit on a chair? Sit on the ground.” Masih said Ahmed also abused and beat him. His ordeal only ended when dispensary incharge Dr Mohsin Farooq Hashmi and two other colleagues pleaded with Ahmed to secure his release. Nisar Masih said, “I approached former MPA Chaudhry Wajid Ali on July 29 to request action against the police officials. He informed the concerned DSP and also forwarded a written complaint.” He said he had stopped going to work since the incident fearing another beating.
ASI Ahmed told The Tribune he had had no objection to Nisar Maseeh sharing their glass when he did not know he was a Christian. “On July 28, there was a complaint and I called him to my office and asked him about his religion. He said he was a Christian, I asked, ‘How come he drinks from a glass used by Muslims?… Christians can’t use utensils used by Muslims.”
He denied that he had abused or beaten Nisar Maseeh. Instead, he said he had complained against him to Dr Hashmi. Ahmed said, “Dr Hashmi said he had no objection to sharing utensils with Christians… I told him to not let him drink water from our glass.” He said I have given the glass to Nisar Maseeh and asked him not to use the new glass.
Chaudhry Wajid Ali said he believed that Maseeh had been humiliated and beaten on account of his religious beliefs. He said the DSP had not responded to his complaint.
Speaking to The Tribune on August 9, DSP Ahsan Ilahi Khokhar said he was posted to the Muridke police circle recently and had not been told of the incident. “We will take action according to law if an excess is made out,” said Khokhar.
However, DSP Khokhar on August 31 denied either being aware of the incident or receiving any application of about the incident.
RPO Zulfiqar Cheema also said he did not remember any such application but he would pursue the matter and would bring the delinquent police officials to book. Chaudhry Wajid said he had given the application to DSP Khokhar and RPO Cheema and that they were deliberately lying.
Pakistan Ulema Council chief Tahir Ashrafi said such an act by a police official was condemnable. He said there was no religious restriction on Muslim to use utensils used by non-Muslims, including Christians. He said if the ASI in question did not like drinking water from a glass used by a Christian, he should have washed it. “However, there is no need to wash it either,” Ashrafi said.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Update on Heil Hitler issue



In an article yesterday, we posted about a particularly vicious anti-semitic Facebook posting on a Pakistani Muslim page (see above).  Well, the image got removed, so thanks to all who reported it.

Unsurprisingly, a variant has been put straight back up, this time with a whinging side note about Facebook removing it, claiming that they did it because 'it hurts them'.  They also bet that FB never removes anti-Islamic posts.  Actually, we rather think they do.  If it called for murder or hatred against a group it no doubt will be.  This whining view shows the double standards.  Articles critiquing aspects of Islam or the actions of some of it's adherents is very different than celebrating the whole scale slaughter of a race or religion.  However, in the minds of these bigots, Islam deserves special protection, and thus they think that these two kinds of speech are equivalent.

A perusal of the community page shows that anti-semitic postings are not uncommon.  In addition, most of the replies to the new post are also anti-semitic, even when they start out appearing not to be.  For instance, one condemns the poster for praising Hitler, but then, outrageously goes on to claim that Hitler was a puppet for 'Zionists', thus managing to combine condemning Hitler with blaming the Jews for the one who massacred him!  (A tactic not unfamiliar to Christians in Pakistan and similar nations who are often blamed for the attacks perpetrated against them)

In addition, commentors claim that the attacks on embassies on 9-11 2012 was actually a terrorist attack by America on Muslims!

Take action

The supporter who reported this to us said they had used the 'Report this photo' option using the 'Hate speech or symbol' selection.

The BPCA encourages it's readers who are on Facebook to follow their lead.  To find the post with the image on,
1) type 'My Ideology is Islam, My identity is Pakistan' in the search box at the top of your Facebook page
2) Scroll down to find this post.  The owner of this page posts a huge amount so you will have to scroll down a long way to find it.  It was posted (in Grenwich Mean Time) at about noon on Thursday 20th September
3) Look for the 'Report this photo' option.  In some cases you may have to click the image so it pops up as an image on a black background - in which case, click on 'Options' at the bottom of the photo.  In other cases it will be below and to the right of the photo.
4) Select the second option from the bottom and hit select.
5)  Encourage your friends to do the same

Pagan Pakistan

The BPCA have been made aware of a meeting the past few days in Geneva of Christian groups about Pakistan's blasphemy laws, organized by the group 'World Council of Churches'.

We were approached by a Christian newspaper to comment, but at such short notice that we didn't manage to respond for their deadline.  Here is what we would have said :

BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry said :

The problem with the blasphemy laws in Pakistan is both the laws themselves and with their interpretation and implementation.  The laws themselves were brought in by a military dictator to curry favour with Islamic extremists.  They single out some groups like the Ahmadi's, and in general they disproportionately affect minority communities.  In a society increasingly dominated by the Taliban and similar extremist groups, this is a recipe for disaster, injustice, corruption, abuse and repression, as we are now seeing.  Even just the threat of a blasphemy accusation is a potent weapon.  We would support a return of the original laws enacted by the British in 1860, under which it was a civil order offence and applied equally across all religions.  For nearly the first seven decades there was not a single case presented.  From 1927, when the first case was registered to 1984 there were only 9 or 10 cases, about one every 4 or 5 years, but over the 30 years since 1984 when the new laws were brought in there have been around 5000 (and counting - this was the figure by 2004), including around a 1000 cases where people were charged.  Over 30 of those charged were extra-judicially killed.  Returning to the old style laws would be a huge improvement, and less open to abuse.  In the current Islamicist dominated Pakistan, such a return to the original laws may not bring back the situation back to what it was, but it would still have a profound impact.  

BPCA researcher Nasarani ki Himmet made some further points

These laws protect only one religion and nearly every case turns out to be at root a matter of a personal dispute or vendetta, or else a plot to seize land or property, whether that of an individual, or of a whole community, as in the recent Rimsha case.  And all this malice and avarice can be cloaked in a mask of supposedly pious motivation - defending a religion.  

And it also begs a question.  Is God so powerless that He seems to universally require violent mobs or individuals with grudges, disputes or motivated by greed to defend Himself against the words of mere mortals?  The blasphemy laws provide a fig leaf of justification for incidents like the recent thousands strong mob that stormed a police station to drag out a homeless and mentally ill Muslim man accused of blasphemy and burn him alive in the street.  Those who know their bible have to ask 'How is this any different to  the pagan religions in the time of the prophets who burned children alive as a sacrifice to their idols?'

Christian military martyrs

The Nation, a premier English-speaking Pakistani newspaper recently published this article by about those Christians in the Pakistani armed forces who courageously sacrificed their lives while fighting for their country, or in service in the armed forces.  The most recent example was the Christians who died celebrating Easter when an avalanche wiped out a remote military outpost in April this year.  In honour of those Christians who have served - past and present - in the Pakistani armed forces, and in light of the fact that the achievements and sacrifices of Christians in serving the nation of Pakistan are so often overlooked in Pakistani society and education, we present the text of this article by Azam Mairaj, published on 6th September, entitled

The story of Christian martyrs

Ever since the creation of Pakistan the sons of Pakistan’s soil belonging to the Christian community, have always presented themselves for the defence of the country along with their Muslim brothers, and even sacrificed their lives for the motherland, as and when the testing time came.
Shaheed Lance Naik Yaqoob Masih was the first of this caravan of martyrs, who hoisted the national flag over the Pando top during the battle for Kashmir in 1948. As the details are not available, very few have mentioned of this martyrdom in their books. This scribe contacted the 21 Punjab, the unit of Capt Sarwar Shaheed (Nishan-i-Haider), with a hope of information about LN Yaqoob Masih but in vain. Be it the 1948, the 1965 & 1971 Pak-India wars, the 1999 Kargil conflict or the ongoing war against terror, our brave Christian soldiers and officers have always been ready to defend the homeland shoulder to shoulder with others. The number of Christian martyrs is in hundreds. Among them are: Yaqoob Masih Shaheed, the martyr of Pando 1948; Pilot Officer Novan Theodore Fazal Elahi Shaheed who mastered the skill of passing the aircraft from under the bridge of Attock; Flight Lieutenant Edwin Shaheed who lost his life during F-86 aircraft crash in Quetta in 1995.
Recently in the April 7 Gayari sector avalanche incident four out of 139 martyrs of Pakistan Army were Christians – Asif Masih, Amon Gill, Adil Masih and Naveed Masih. On the ill-fated day, the Christian soldiers were observing their Easter festival along with their colleagues on duty, far from their families, and embraced shahadat.
We have the story of Squadron Leader Peter Christy Shaheed who was among the ones who retaliated with full force in the 1965 war. As Flight Lieutenant he took part as navigator of B-57 Canberra aircraft and remained part of many successful operational missions. To honour his bravery and professional skills, the government awarded him Tamgha-e-Jurrat and promoted him as Squadron Leader. As the war in 1971 started, he was on deputation in PIA when he was called back and assigned the mission of destroying the Indian airport of Jamnagar, as there were reports of air attacks on Karachi. A Do-or-Die (DoD) mission was decided, the Christian base commander of Mauripur Base, Air Commodore Nazir Latif, gave a long briefing and two persons were selected for the mission – Squadron Leader Khusro, who had earlier been retired from the Air Force and called back, and Squadron Leader Peter Christy – both volunteered for the mission. On the morning of December 6, both headed for the mission in B-57 bomber aircraft. While after completing their mission they were returning, a surface to air missile hit their aircraft and both got martyred. The Indian Air Force did not verify this incident and they were declared “Missing in Action” and then ‘Martyred’.
Wing Commander Marvin Lesley was commissioned in 1954. In 1965, when enemy attacked Pakistan, then young Flight Lieutenant Marvin Lesley Middle Coat (known as Commander Lesley) was deployed at Masroor Base, Karachi. When the enemy attacked Karachi he was among those flying the F-86 aircraft. He destroyed two aircraft of the IAF. Because of his bravery and professionalism, he got the fame of “Defender of Karachi”. In Lahore at the Mushaf Air Base he was given the charge of 9 Squadron Command where he held the spirit of his Squadron high by leading from front. He performed 17 sorties and three photo reconnaissance missions. The government awarded him with Sitara-i-Jurrat. It is noteworthy that he left his attractive deputation at Jordon and voluntarily rushed back to Pakistan as the 1971 war started.  During the Operation “Amritsar Radar”, Commander Lesley was among the six pilots selected for this difficult mission that was meant to destroy India’s Jamnagar Air Base. On December 12 together with his colleagues when he completed his mission, an Indian MiG of 47 Squadron attacked them. He took a lower flight and saved his aircraft from two missiles but when he reached near Gulf of Kuchh, another missile hit his aircraft. According to Indian Air Force’s Flight Lieutenant Bharat Bhoshan Soni, who hit his aircraft, he saw him ejecting from the aircraft and falling in the deep sea and asked the headquarters to send a rescue team. When rescue team reached, Commander Lesley was found nowhere. He was declared “Missing in Action” and awarded Bar Two The Sitara-e-Jurrat. The same day, on December 12, another young man of 19 was writing the story of valour with his blood. Second Lieutenant Daniel Utarid Shaheed volunteered for the most difficult task when he was in the PMA, Kakul. He was deployed in Sylhet, East Pakistan. In the early morning of December 13, his Company returned from a night-long war mission; he was taking breakfast with his batman, then the news came of the enemy attack over a platoon of 31 Punjab; there were heavy losses. He got his soldiers ready and immediately reached the front. He got severe injuries during an encounter. When he was being operated upon, three bullets were removed from his chest, he asked the surgeon to please give those bullets to his mother as the souvenir. He was recommended for Sitara-i-Jurrat.Captain Michael Wilson Shaheed fought the enemy at Chumb Sector in 1971 war and got injured in a tank accident on November 21, 1972. A day before his martyrdom he was worried about the honour of his regiment, not life. Since 2003, the Christian soldiers have participated shoulder to shoulder with other in the war against terror. Shaheed of Nawazkot, Major Sarmas Rauf (Tamgha-e-Baslat) is one of them, who sacrificed his life for his motherland. He got commission through in 1987 and was attached to 44 FF. Out of 20 years of his service, he passed 17 years in the border areas of Sialkot, Kashmir, Siachen and Waziristan. He never preferred family responsibilities over the defence of country.
Ghazi of Kargil War 1999, hero of Marpola, the companion of Hawaldar Lalak Jan Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) and Captain Colonel Sher Khan Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider), Major Sarmas Rauf was posted from 44 FF to Kurram Militia Parachinar on 3 January 2006. Since then the Pakistan Army started Operation Al-Meezan, Bajaur Scout 3 Wing had taken part in it and destroyed many important hideouts of extremists. When 3 Wing Bajaur Scout took responsibility of Nawazkot, Major Sarmas Rauf as a strong force against them. Four days before his martyrdom an important extremist commander, his son and several accomplices were killed in an encounter. To take the revenge the extremists took the siege of Nawazkot post with their posts at height where they occupied the routes of supply. Under his command the soldiers posed great resistance and caused major losses to the enemy continuously fighting for three consecutive days. As the ammunition exhausted, Major Sarmas Rauf took the difficult decision of evacuating the post and moved towards Razmak Fort. The brave soldier, the Ghazi of Kargil, transported all officers and soldiers to Razmak Fort, and finally headed himself to the fort, but while crossing a dry ravine his armored car got hit by a RPG 7 round. He got injured; due to excessive bleeding he passed away and met martyrdom. He was awarded Tamgha-i-Basalat. While summing up, I have full faith that the Christian sons of this soil have proved that as a nation whatever religion we belong to, we never let others realise that this country is only ours.

The Mocking of Muhammad and Condemning of Christ by David Mathis



Hope this article can encourage Christians in Pakistan to be faithful to Christ to the end and those fighting for their basic rights to see Christ at work in all that bloodshed and destruction…

September 14, 2012

Jesus’s uniqueness and beauty is on display if his followers respond with grace when he is reviled.
When adherents of Islam counter the mocking of their central figure with outrage and violence, they provide “another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each,” says John Piper.
Piper concedes that not all Muslims approve the violence, but notes that a profound lesson still stands: “The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.”
A Deep Difference Between Jesus and Muhammad
Jesus is unique. And Christians believe there is a divine beauty in the mocking that he willingly subjects himself to by becoming man — because it’s a mocking and reviling and bruising and dying that is for us and for our salvation. Piper continues in his 2006 article, “Being Mocked: The Essence of Christ’s Work, Not Muhammad’s”:
If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised: “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7). “He was despised and rejected by men . . . as one from whom men hide their faces . . . and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
When it actually happened it was worse than expected. “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. . . . And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him” (Matthew 27:28–30). His response to all this was patient endurance. This was the work he came to do. “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).
This was not true of Muhammad. And most Muslims do not believe it is true of Jesus. Most Muslims have been taught that Jesus was not crucified. . . . An essential Muslim impulse is to avoid the “ignominy” of the cross.
That’s the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11).
Responding with Love and the Gospel of Grace
Piper continues,
During his life on earth Jesus was called a bastard (John 8:41), a drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), a devil (Matthew 10:25); and he promised his followers the same: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25).
The caricature and mockery of Christ has continued to this day. Martin Scorsese portrayed Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ as wracked with doubt and beset with sexual lust. Andres Serrano was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to portray Jesus on a cross sunk in a bottle of urine. The Da Vinci Code portrayed Jesus as a mere mortal who married and fathered children.
How should his followers respond? On the one hand, we are grieved and angered. On the other hand, we identify with Christ, and embrace his suffering, and rejoice in our afflictions, and say with the apostle Paul that vengeance belongs to the Lord, let us love our enemies and win them with the gospel. If Christ did his work by being insulted, we must do ours likewise. . . .
What It All Means
So what, then, does it mean when Muhammad’s followers begrudge him the kinds of mockery Jesus embraced, and taught his followers to likewise embrace?
It means that a religion with no insulted Savior will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honor of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man. And it means that his followers must be willing to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10)