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Tuesday 29 December 2009

Others join our clamour!

News of our protest March stimulated a mixed response in the Lancashire Guardian. As a result of this local faith groups in the area held a united peace vigil. Read more (here)

We are having great impact in getting others to join with us in a united protest against the current situation in Pakistan. Please do continue to be faithful to the cause.

Premier Christian Radio News

Monday 28 December 2009

3 bomb attacks in 3 days - Pakistani Cover up in process!

It is with dismay and disdain that I hear of the persecution of our Shi'ite brothers in Pakistan - a small Muslim minority. The Shia community of Karachi has been ravaged by 3 separate bomb attacks, in a spate of sectarian violence covering just 3 days from the 26th - 28th December.
The Ashoura festival and Muharram celebrations, for Shia Muslims have been tarnished by the recent terrorist activity. The intensity of the situation culminated in a Shia led riot that has decimated the local commercial precinct. Shmefully it woukld seem that the Pakistan Government has tried to delay or prevent news of the attacks reaching the wider populace. They have described major explosions as a "Fire craker accident" or "Gas explosion".
The unrest in Karachi is a very deplorable situation and for stability to return the government of Pakistan will be required to make more palpable overtures, than the recent perfunctory response, they have casually administered to victimised Christian communities.
We Christians were also targeted by text message threats, yet we have come out of the Christmas period relatively unscathed, the unfortunate Shi'ite brothers have had a less favourable outcome with numerous, fatalities and casualties. I ask that as Christians, we hold out a hand of friendship to these other beleaguered communities and pray for a restoration of peace in Pakistan.

More can be learned by following this link (click here)

Christmas - a time for giving!

Xavier Williams General Secretary for the Pakistan Christian Congress and Lead Officer in Pakistan for the British Pakistani Christian Association reported on a scheme he devised to bring some Christmas Cheer to those usually forgotten.

"I and some colleagues went to the Adyala Jail, Rawalpindi and distributed gifts among the Christian prisoners, there were around 300 inmates."

This generous act took place on the 24th December 2009 and highlights what Christmas in about. Too often we get caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas and buying gifts for friends and families. Although there is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas in this fashion, however, positive schemes such as giving to the poor and needy or to those who are captive, endears others to Christ and can often have a stabilising effect on the beliefs of a brother or sister, wrestling with the difficulties, we as humans regularly face.

We are all called to be good Samaritans and that extends to people outside our faith too and I hope next year to hear of other schemes which promote and wider inclusion in our celebrations next year.

God bless you all.

Message Fron Shahzad Francis from BETHAK NGO (sic)

Celebration of Christmas 2009

BETHAK-NGO & St. Philomena Rosary Prayer Group, Khanewal had succeeded in making arrangement for the Christmas dinner for the local marginalized Christian community. More than two hundred people attended the function. BETHAK’s youth volunteer group not only kept themselves busy in raising collections for he Christmas dinner but they also had been very enthusiastic in practicing entertainment programs to make this Christmas function a joyful entertainment for all participants. We are very grateful to all the generous friends who helped BETHAK to get out of difficulties of shortage of funds.

The Christmas dinner was hosted on 21st December 2009. All the participants were overjoyed to see their own children’s performance as actors and actresses. Mr. Samuel Barkat. Chairperson BETHAK, Catechist Pervez Hameed and Mr. Francis Jacob spoke on the various aspects of Christian love at Christmas time.

Mr. Shahzad Francis thanked all the participants for sharing the joyful moments of love at Christmas time with BETHAK’s members.

You can see the story of celebration function through the chain of pictures. The source of pictures is:-

Francis Jacob

BPCA Protest March on the 31st July 2009.

The BPCA held a very successful protest march on the 19th December 2009. The event was attended by Green MEP Jean Lambert and Baroness Cox from the Queensbury seat in the House of Lords. Since the protets we have held a meeting with the Pakistani Embassy and thay have agreed to forward our concerns to the Pakistani Government. The Pakistani Embassy have also agreed to a follow up meeting in June.

View the video of our protest here:

Protest video

Audience with Green MEP

Audience with High Commissioner of Pakistan

Images of Protest

Great impetus was created by our event and other global events that have resulted in news of a reform to the existing Blasphemy law in Pakistan:

New reforms on their way

We still want more reforms although our primary objective is the abrogation of the laws in their entirety:

Our model for reform of the Blasphemy Law

I would like to remind all our community in the UK that we are holding our second UK protest on the 31st of July 2010 (the official anniversary of the Korian incident). The route will be identical to the one we used for our first UK protest. We would appreciate if readers could advise us of your interesting in attending by posting a comment to this page.

Already Victor John from Huddersfield has led the comments pages!

Saturday 26 December 2009

65 Christians attacked on Christmas Eve!

From left to right Xavier William, Mehboob Alam and Pastor Naveed John
A dispute over land ownership saw 65 Christians attacked in a reported faith hate attack in Pakistan on the 24th December. The incident took place at Kalar Kahar approximately 125 km from Islamabad.
Wilson Chowdhry Vice Chair of the BPCA c described the situation as "a despicable act of violence based on parochial religious prejudice"
Our Pakistan correspondent Xavier Williams described the incident at a press conference held at a community hall, near Sir Syed Chowk (sic):
"On 25th June 2009, the Government of Pakistan allotted a piece of land to the local Christian community to build a Church next to the Motorway at Kalar Kahar. The transfer letter and the allotment letter were given to the local Pastor Naveed John. Pastor John raised enough money for the boundary wall, which was started immediately."
Purportedly, by the 4th December 2009, the Church committee has raised enough finance via external funding and donations, to start laying a foundation for the proposed church. Construction work started, however progress was halted on the 6th December by protesting Muslims. The construction workers were threatened with dire consequences - if they chose to continue.
Pastor Naveed John explained how he arrived at the construction site to ameliorate the situation. He showed the protesting group the official papers confirming ownership of the property and permission to build. This temporarily deterred the protestation until 2 days latter a larger group of the Islamic fundamentalists came and again threatened the workers.
Xavier spoke of how the Church Committee contacted the local police for assistance and filed a complaint. This resulted in 5 armed policemen providing temporary protection to the site and it's workers. Despite the protection of the Police after a few days the same mob returned and the Police stood down allowing the mob to attack the workers.
In the press conference Pastor Naveed alleged that he had sent a complaint to the DCO who to date had failed to respond. He went on to describe how on the 24th December 2009 the church congregation were gathered at the Church site for worship. Again a mob gathered and attacked the worshipers, causing injury to around 65 Women and Children. Pastor Naveed said;
"The young men tried to protect the women and Children, but couldn't stop them as they were armed."
Pastor Naveed John then stated that he had called the DCO and once again they have not responded. Moreover, the local police refused to file a First Incident Report (FIR).
Mr. Xavier the BPCA correspondent in Pakistan strongly condemned the attack and immediately demanded an FIR. He has asked the Chief Minister to order the arrest of the culprits and provide protection to the Christians. Mr. Xavier warned;
"If the FIR is not registered in next 24 hours, I will gather Christians across Pakistan for a Country-wide protest and we will march to the PM and the President."
Xavier William explained that the 25th December if the Official birthday celebration of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam. He stated that he believed that all Pakistanis irrespective of faith should work towards a better Pakistan. Xavier spoke starkly about religious inequalities;
"Quaid-e-Azam, Quaid-a-Azam talked about the equal rights of the Minorities, but the minorities in Pakistan don't have equal rights."
Mr. Mehboob Alam another member of the Local press conference warned that violence against Christians in the Punjab, in particular is growing. He asked the Punjab Government to "wake up and take action to protect the life and property of the Christians".
Mr Alam described the disappointment at the media for not covering this violent attack against vulnerable Christians.
Everyday, I am reporting new atrocities just when will any succour be granted to the vulnerable minorities in Pakistan. I am in favour of a Pakistan-wide protest and if it can be organised, I ant to be a part of the process. I believe we should set a date for such action and if other brothers are willing to start the planning I believe we should secure Saturday the 3rd of April as the day for a countrywide Protest.
Easter is on April the 4th 2010 and I will be in Pakistan. It is also transpires that this is my Birthday, irrespective of this, however, the fact that on Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead - sets this day apart as a day that signifies new life. If any churches or Pastors in Pakistan, wish to get involved in a Major protest on the 3rd, I ask that you contact me as soon as possible. By working together we will really highlight the persecution that minority faith groups have to undergo in Pakistan. Perhaps our increased activity in recent times, will finally see an end to first and second class citizenship in Pakistan. I will speak to Xavier and the PCC personally on this matter.
Don't forget our global protest to be held on the 31st of July, I am still looking for partner organisations from every country. I believe, I will have a confirmation from Canada very soon.

Partial Recording from EAVA FM Christmas Day

Part of the interview for Premier Christian Radio - 24th December

This is a partial recording of the longer recorded interview for Premier Christian Radio played at 16:00 on the 24th December 2009

Friday 25 December 2009

Educate the masses!

Wilson Chowdhry with Baroness Cox - addressing gathered protesters
On the 19th December 2009 over 120 people form all faiths including, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Atheists and Christians marched for equality, justice and peace in Pakistan. The event was organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association in the wake of Taliban led attacks on Christian communities in Pakistan. The event also had the honour of being attended by Green Party MEP Jean Lambert and Baroness Cox.

Wilson Chowdhry is the Vice Chairman of the BPCA and is pleased to announce that since the Peace rally took place - the High Commissioner of Pakistan has agreed to meet an all faith/no faith delegation on the 8th January 2010, to discuss the persecution felt by minority faith groups in Pakistan Inter Alia; Ahmadi Muslims, Shi'ite Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs. Wilson said:
"We hope to arrange a meeting with the Interior Minister of Pakistan as a sequel to our initial delegation, he is soon due to visit the UK. The BPCA believe these actions will be early steps towards a free Pakistan, with an end to the existing second class citizenship felt by many. This is the biggest Christmas present we could give to the persecuted minorities in Pakistan, and is a stepping stone, to a more stable economic and social environment in Pakistan."

Many people in the UK have questioned why the BPCA is asking the British Government to get involved with what outwardly seems to be an international issue outside of their remit. Wilson responded:

"The British Government are allies with Pakistan and have regular and more convivial dialogue with the Country, than most nations. The war on terror that has been instigated by the British Government in union with the USA has caused an increase in the intensity and frequency of the attacks on Christian communities in Pakistan. In the last 4 months 3 cities have been burned to the ground in violent mob attacks that have left the poor Christian communities destitute and they are still being threatened by the perpetrators. Our government is providing resources and funding to the Pakistan government to support the war on terror, yet the popularity of the Taliban seem to have increased. If we are to win this war on terror and reduce our overall fiscal costs and resource outlay, surely it would be wiser to channel some of these funds into increasing the level of literacy in Pakistan. The Taliban brainwash the illiterate masses in Pakistan, and recruit from the Poverty stricken areas."

The BPCA believe that while there are people that need others to make their decisions for them, due to a lack of discernment - the Taliban will always be a popular outfit. Their group wishes to challenge the American Government and the British Government into provoking internal change in Pakistan. Equal rights should not be a preserve of the social elite and parity of opportunity is a must. More often than not, minority groups live in the most squalid conditions and undertake the most menial roles. Moreover, only 7% of individuals for minority groups are literate (admittedly over 50% of all Pakistanis are illiterate). Pakistan has signed up to the Human Rights Act and is a member of the UN, as such the blasphemy law which exists in their country is illegal and requires immediate reform. the BPCA believes the UN and the European Union should be involved in addressing change to a law that espouses first and second class citizenship, placing one race in a superior position.

What benefits would such engagement give to western nations you may ask - Wilson has an answer to this question:

"Better education would reduce the support for the Taliban, with the recent more direct attack by the western agencies against the Taliban, this could result in a more expedient and long term eradication of their militia group. It is proven that attacks to Christians and other minority faith groups are undertaken by the lower tier members of the Taliban, and other local fractious groups vying for power - almost always these are illiterate pawns, who have nothing to lose as they are in a social and economic quagmire. Better education and learning provides a more moderate social climate and more efficient economy. We believe this would reduce Asylum seekers based on religious persecution and reciprocally immigrants due to favourable conditions at home. In the long term this would mean more jobs for indigenous British people, less strain on our benefits system and a return of our service men, which reciprocally would lower the overall budget for our war on terror.

The BPCA will continue to fight for justice, peace and equality in Pakistan and would like anyone who supports the notion to sign the on-line petitions below:

Wilson Chowdhry with Jean Lambert Green Party MEP for London and EU Delegate to for South Asia to the European Union

Message from Jasdev Rai - Sikh Human Rights Group


Dear Prime Minister

We join the British Pakistani Christian Association to express our support for the concerns raised by the organisation. We further request you look at the plight of minorities across South Asia, particularly Pakistan and India. In both countries Christians are persecuted by the public and sometimes politically organised pogroms. There have been many incidents of Churches being burnt down in India without the authorities taking appropriate action.

India has actively engaged in persecuting Sikhs as well. Most victims are those who do not share the State’s idea of ‘commitment to the nation’ which usually means disagreement with policies towards minorities and particularly Sikhs in this case. Whereas those Sikhs who are comfortable with State view or those who compromise their own views to adjust to State policies can reach the highest levels, many groups of Sikhs have seen their cultural, political and social fabric destroyed by the State. Many have faced fabricated charges and continue to linger in prisons on judgements that would not stand in an impartial court.

The State has show partiality in pursuing justice for victims of politically organised riots, for instance the massacres of Sikhs in November 1984 in Delhi and the massacres of Muslims in February 2002 in Gujarat, India.

In Pakistan the Government has failed to protect some Sikhs living in remote places from harassment by zealous individuals and groups.

Other minorities also have many narratives of persecution and injustice at the hands of State police, corrupt courts and zealous individuals in both Pakistan and India. We urge you to raise this concern with both Governments and put pressure on them for levels of equity, freedom of conscience and protection for minorities that is expected from both Governments.

Political Control Games

Message fom Raymond Durrani:

Political Game for control of Punjab being played to deprive 180 million Pakistanis to experience good governess – read it all in ‘ and It is time to Enforce Law and Order in Pakistan either by the Military or by the Enforcement Agencies.

Sharifs didn’t resign over charges: Tasser

Why should PPP Allegations against CJP have not prompted resignations

Democracy will not sustain if institutions ‘interfere’ with each other’s work LAHORE: Nobody from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will resign over mere allegations, as no case has yet been proven in court, said Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer on Sunday, and pointed that while allegations have also been levelled against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, they have not stepped down.

“Allegations have been levelled against leaders of the PML-N and other political parties, their cases are pending in courts ... why are no decisions being announced in their cases?”

Asked Taseer while addressing the media in Lahore. He said Nawaz came to power with cases pending against him, while Shahbaz Sharif was also governing Punjab “in the same manner”. The Punjab governor said that democracy and the system could never sustain if “interference in each other’s work continues”. He said the PPP had worked hard to strengthen democracy in the country, but institutions’ interference in each other’s work would weaken democracy. “Allegations will keep surfacing, but the government will continue its work,” he said, and questioned if he should listen to some TV programme anchors and step down or work for the masses.

He said nobody could force anybody to resign. According to the APP news agency, the governor said the PPP would remain in the government and face the charges against the party in court. Replying to a question, he said the media did not have the mandate to decide who should resign, and it should only play the role of a “watchdog”. Taseer said the PPP came to power with the mandate of the masses. “I have asked President Zardari to stay in the Presidency until 2018.” He said that the president, the prime minister, the Senate chairman and the National Assembly speaker had been elected with a two-thirds majority, which “shows the support of the masses for the PPP”. He also questioned why justice was only for those who remained imprisoned for years.

He said justice should be for the 160 million people of Pakistan and must not be limited only to the PPP. He said PPP would serve the people who elected it. Replying to a question, he said the PPP had made great sacrifices for democracy, and it was for the masses to decide about the fate of elected representative after every five years. “The PPP will go back to the voters after five years,” he said. staff report

Raymond Durrani and Associates
Political Strategists
Friends of Christian Minority in Pakistan

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Dear all,

We just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I had a rather sleepless night and prayed fervently for Pakistan - as the text message threats purportedly from the Taliban, left me very concerned for our vulnerable communities in the homeland. Fortunatley thus far there have been no attacks on Christian communities, however the two bomb attacks yesterday, seemed to indicate an insidious start to a more significant threat, than I had originally assumed.

Whether it turns out, that the texts were just a hoax or not, the fact that our people and other minority faith groups are being targeted by any militia groups, is a disconcerting fact. I will continue to pray for all my brothers and sisters in Pakistan and promise to keep you in my thought always.

Some of you have queried our reports on two bomb attacks in Pakistan and we are not sure of there is any media supression on the violent activity. We would assume not, however, here are links to western accounts of the explosions:

Peshawar Attack

Islamabad Attack

Wilson we will be interviewed on EAVA FM live at 13:00 - please tune in and share your comments.

Click here for Eava FM

Once again Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday 24 December 2009

Another Taliban suicide Bomb in Pakistan

A young girl along with the attacker have been killed and a police constable seriously injured in a suicide attack outside the Imambargah (mosque of Shiite Muslims) named Kasre-e-Sakeena in Shahzad town area of Shakriyal alongside Expressway.

Private TV Channel reported that the blast occurred when the Majlis was underway. Around 300 people were attending the religious gathering as the blast occurred.
DIG Islamabad Bin Yameen while talking to media said that the incident occurred at about 10:18 pm when a suicide bomber tried to enter Imambargah. As the head constable Itifaq tried to stop the suicide bomber, he blew himself up.

More details (here)

He told that suicide bomber failed to detonate himself completely. He said that only half of the suicide jacket exploded. As a result, head constable Ittifaq has been injured while a girl who sustained serious injuries died. He said that face of the suicide bomber is completely intact and he seems 18-years old.

Earlier, Capital territory police and Punjab police and rescue teams rushed to the scene on the information of the blast and shifted the injured to the hospitals.

This is the second attack this night and commensurate with the message that Brigadier Samson Sharaf provided that Minority Muslims and Minority Christians would be attacked in Pakistan on or near Christmas day.

My fear for brothers and sisters in Pakistan has increased and I pray that God places his hand of protection over our people.

In reaction to the current situation in Pakistan Romail from Eava FM has scheduled Wilson Chowdhry for a live interview from 13:00. Please tune in and join the debate if you can. If not please keep Wilson, the BPCA and all the Christians and other minority faith groups in Pakistan, within your prayers and thoughts tomorrow.

Bomb blast outside Church in Peshawar!

Maintenance engineers clean the residual blood from the recent bomb blast in Peshawar

A bomb blast killed five people in Peshawar near an army cantonment as the church was preparing for Christmas. It is not known if any Christians were killed or if they were the target as the suicide bomber was stopped by the Police. Five victims have been killed, the activity is rather alarming as Christians have received an unregistered text message to their mobiles, threatening potential attacks to churches and procession during Christmas.
More details of the bomb attack can be read (here) or (here)
More details about the potential threat to Pakistani Christians can be read (here)
The BPCA stole a march on world media and were the first reporters of the Taliban mobile threat read (here)
Listen to the Premier Christian Radio interview with Wilson Chowdhry (click here)
Premier Christian Radio will be playing an extended recording at 16:00 UK time!

No Christmas cheer for Pakistanis forced to sell kidneys
By Abbas Sahi (AFP) – 4 hours ago

YUHANABAD, Pakistan — There is no joy at Christmas for Pakistani Christians like Faqir Masih, forced by poverty to sell a kidney to unscrupulous organ traders who find easy prey among the religious minority.

The 32-year-old sells balloons to feed his mother, two brothers and sister. A year after being sliced open to sell a kidney to raise funds for his impoverished family after his father died, he still experiences agonising pain.

"Christmas, as usual, won't bring any joy this year as we can't celebrate," he says, sitting in dirty clothes on a broken bed next to his mother in the small, largely Christian town of Yuhanabad in eastern Pakistan.

"These people came and asked me to sell my kidney for 150,000 rupees (1,800 dollars). They said that I would be able to buy a new house and send my brothers and sister to a good school," he said.

"When I came round after the surgery, they gave me 40,000 rupees and warned me of serious consequences when I asked for the remaining money.

"These people didn't even give me proper medical treatment after the surgery... I still often feel excruciating pain," he said, showing a big wound on his abdomen.

There will no toys, no tree and no cheer in Masih's one-room home this Christmas. The furniture is ramshackle, with a curtain for a door. At night, temperatures drop close to freezing and the family huddle together for warmth.

Christians make up less than three percent of Pakistan's 167 million people, who are overwhelmingly Muslim, and are generally poverty-stricken and marginalised.
Most Christians in Yuhanabad, 20 kilometres (13 miles) east of Lahore, are labourers and workers, living in dilapidated houses and barely getting by.

It's a far cry from the flashy celebrations of the tiny elite of richer Christians in downtown Lahore, who buy Christmas trees, splurge on new clothes and dine out with friends and family in five-star hotels.

Pakistan's huge disparity of wealth lies at the root of the illegal kidney trade.

Adeeb-ul-Hasan Rizvi, head of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, is considered father of a bill in parliament to outlaw what he calls Pakistan's "big kidney bazaar".

"We calculated roughly at least 2,000 kidneys are transplanted in the country every year -- 500 legally and the rest illegally," he told AFP, putting last year's trade at 12 million dollars.

"Poor people normally sell their kidneys to the rich, a good number of whom come from the West and Gulf countries, to support their families.

"But they get little share of the bounty. The major share is taken by middle men and clinics involved in the trade."

Back in Yuhanabad, Safdar Masih -- no relation to Faqir Masih -- says he can't remember the last time he had enough money to celebrate Christmas.

"It's just a dream, which I don't think will ever come true," says the 45-year-old brick kiln worker, a father of five who was forced to sell a kidney to pay for a family wedding.
When a group of strangers offered a windfall payment for one of his kidneys, "we had no other option", he said:

"I was taken to a hospital in Lahore. I don't know which hospital. They only gave me 70,000 rupees and when I asked for more, they warned me to say nothing for my own safety."

The only Christmas presents his children will get this year are second-hand clothes donated by the Muslim families who employ his wife as a maid.
Christians are not the only victims.

Millions of Pakistanis live in bonded labour. Some sell kidneys in the hope of paying back cash advances from landlords and freeing themselves from their modern-day slavery.

Bones jutting out of his skin, Mohammad Ilyas became the fourth person in a family of 11 to sell a kidney in an effort to pay off a loan near Islamabad.

"I saw a big bucket full of knives, cutters and scissors... I got scared. I thought about running away but all the doors were locked and I was surrounded by half a dozen men who were about to cut my body," he said.

Imran and John Joesph - Special Thanks!

Imran and John Joesph hailing the crowd via their own megaphone - complimenting our protest.
Imran and Alex leading the Lords Prayer.
Christian Social Link are the organisation who arranged the previous protest marches. Without a doubt they inspired the BPCA to form and I am grateful to Imran and John Joesph for their support our BPCA march. I have been informed that they tried extremely hard to encourage other Pakistani Christians to attend the event, however, due to a number of Pastors opting to continue holding their own events, even though the concerns in Pakistan are intensifying, they found that loyalties were being split. We planned this event from August 2009 and informed most of the Churches serving our community within days of the decision - via congregational members.
There is a horrid and spiteful rumour that has been spread, intimating that Javaid from Christian Social Link has been maligning our organisation and its efforts. I can confirm that Javaid and the two Joesph Brothers, attended our planning meeting in November and that the Group openly declared their immutable support for our Peace Rally at that meeting. This was reported in an earlier post. I would ask that those spreading this malicious and spiteful gossip end it immediately. Javaid and the Joesph brothers were all at our protest?! Moreover Javaid has been in constant contact with Alex Chowdhry our Chairman and has shown more support than most community leaders. Slander stirs up dissension which inevitably culminates in alienation and conflict - so please refrain from such activity, as we need more unity.
I have excellent news! The high Commissioner has rescheduled a meeting with the BPCA and its chosen delegation on the 8th January 2009. We will not be inviting the Community figures, who failed to turn up at our protest or the previous consultation with Jean Lambert. Their reliability is questionable and we no longer believe their aims are in alignment with our own.
The new delegation will be composed of an all faith/no faith party, Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry (founder of the UK Asian Christian Church), Pukaar News, the BPCA and I am sure God will be there with us also. We will inform you of projected outcomes. Please keep this date in your prayers!
Finally, all those that attended our recent event have asked that we hold another one. With this in mind I remind you that if you wish to join us for the next event the conformed date is the 31st of July, which corresponds with the anniversary of the Korian incident and one day before the anniversary of the Gojra incident. If you are a pastor and are reading this please choose unity and hold any memorial services on the Sunday. We would very much appreciate your attendance, and that of your congregations at our event - please respond and confirm such a commitment by email or on this blog.
Merry Christmas to one and all!
Wilson Chowdhry
Vice Chairman of the BPCA

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Success with protest in Pakistan! Next one planned!

Smiles on their faces young people with the dominion that God provides marching for peace justice and equality in Pakistan.
No fear ! Brave hardy women are involved in the protest.

Swarms of people- our brothers and sisters do not need to rely on British counterparts.

Masses and masses of people working together with the BPCA to make our protest a global event!
Report written by Xavier Williams (sic):
Xavier William the General Sectary of Pakistan Christian Congress along with the other council members Mehboob Alam, Saqib Adeel, Zeeshan William and Suleman William led the protest against the Government of Pakistan in conjunction with the UK protest organized by British Pakistani Christian Association led by Alex and Wilson Chowdhry on 19th December 2009.
The Protest started at 1pm from Sadiqabad, near Holy Family Hospital. At the start of the protest only a few people were present, then after a few minutes Father Anwer Patras and many other joined and chanted slogans, urging the Government of Pakistan to immediately repeal the Blasphemy law and give justice to the victims of Gojra, Korian and Sumbrial - cities laid to waste in recent unprovoked religious attacks.
Father Anwer Patras addressing the protest stressed that the Christians should unite and stand against the Government. He again reiterated upon the Government of Pakistan that should immediately repeal the Blasphemy law by an executive order. He demanded equal rights should be given to Christians and all minority groups in Pakistan. He demanded compensation and justice for the victims of Korian, Gojra and Sumbrial.
Xavier William, Mehboob Alam and Saqib Adeel also addressed the participants and demanded to be treated equally.
At the end of the protest Xavier thanked, Alex Chowdhry, Wilson Chowdhry, MEP Jean Lambert of the Green Party, Jasdev Rai of the Sikh Human Rights Group, Women Against Fundamentalism, and Ranbir Sekkhon of the Hindu Human Rights group for their effirst in the UK.
Xavier also said a prayer for all those involved in the UK Protest
The procession walked all the way to the Murree road and then dispersed peacefully.
We promised you a global perspective to our protest and here you have it. As important as our protest was, people in Pakistan have stood against persecution and adversity and have shown that in God they have no fear.
That such a large number of participants turned up at the Pakistan event arranged by PCC in collaboration and support of the BPCA event in London. Is a great indication of the resolve and determination of our people - who have had enough of being second class citizens. This should spur us on to even greater things and should inspire us to continue the impetus.
Xavier Williams was given 4 weeks to arrange his protest and it is remarkable, what he has achieved. Yet I am disillusioned by the lack of support in the UK. We here have more fear of retribution and exhibit more apathy than those suffering in Pakistan. How can this be....?!
Yesterday Xavier Williams gleefuly said:
"We are extremely grateful to Baroness Cox and MEP Jean Lambert for the great interest they have shown for our cause. We shall keep them in our prayers"
I give an opportunity to make amends for the lack of involvement in the recent protest. We are arranging a second protest on the 31st July (anniversary of Korian incident and 1 day before Gojra anniversary), at the same times and locations . We would like music participants, speakers and media confirmations as soon as possible, to assist with the planning of the event.

Save the best till last - true inspirers!

Image of the founder of the first ever UK Asian Christian Church -Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry

We so often hear of the Pastors in our community, the singers and of those who just want to make themselves known. However at the protest on Saturday 19th December the biggest privilege for me in particular and those of the BPCA was the visit from Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry. Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry and his 3 brothers initiated the first ever Asian Christian church in the UK - no other Indian or Pakistani Christian can ever take that record away from him. Read more (click here). This pioneering elder of our community at the grand old age of 84 travelled by Public Transport in the dire cold weather - just to be part of the culmination of his work.

Until he and his brothers started the first ever UK Asian Christian Church - our people were a divided diaspora in the UK. There was no central focus or body - it all developed through that early church (do follow the link provided earlier or this will not make any sense).

Dr Chowdhry provided a most riveting speech before the delegation left for 10 Downing Street. You may ask, why he was not part of the delegation to 10 Downing Street or the Pakistan Embassy - the answer is simple. Of the 20 times he was asked to be invited as part of the delegation, he declined every single one of them! He humbly answered:

"My son, at my age and after all my achievements, it would not be right for me to gain publicity or favour, for a process in which I have had minimal input." I have prayed for your event and for your group and confirm my full support. However, this has been arranged by a much younger generation than mine and it is they, that should take the credit for the endeavour and any resulting gain for our community."

Alex and I continually implored him to speak at the event and of all those present, his speech was the only one to fit the allocated 3 minutes, and it's precise nature and succinct message was a poignant one. Promoting universal peace, justice and equality. Whilst also focusing on the need to give glory to God for all we do and placing our trust in him.

Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry is our only surviving pioneer of the first Asian Christian Church. My Father was one of his brothers and passed away in 2006. I am always bemused in the manner that such a pioneer seems to have been dropped of the Asian Christian Circuit. Why is he neither invited to participate in the the large conferences in Pakistan or in the UK. Without him there would not be a fellowship in the UK. He was the first to champion political reform in Pakistan from the UK and was a part of the Important delegation we took to MEP Jean Lambert on the 18th December that Lead figures like Dr Peter David failed to attend. His emphasis on improving education in Pakistan - was astounding and extremely meticulous. I hope Brothers in Pakistan and the UK will recognise his endeavour and that of his brothers and award him and they posthumously for his and their service to the Pakistan Christian community. If we do I hope it is before his demise - our community reacts so late preserving our history and instilling a sense of pride in the younger generation and posterity. In the UK they have now created a Black History agenda promoting people from Black and Asian history to give the new hybrid generation, familiar role models to aspire them to greater things. Why not do the same?

Let's stop promoting those that promote themselves and promote those that exude humility?

Your comments please.......

Secondly I present to you our new Communications Officer Gerald Sunny:

Gerald Sunny can be seen in the picture carrying the cross as we were setting up and preparing the worship service, outside the Pakistani Embassy. He is a very enigmatic man, I have met him few times and still know so little of him. The reason being, we just talk about the next plan of action, or how to improve our activities, we talk about the situation in Pakistan. This is the type of person we need to be supporting and encouraging to take a full time role in the overall agenda for change on Pakistan.

Gerald is a committed Christian and a learned individual. His recent address outside 10 Downing Street was inspirational and we are awaiting copies of his presentation so that we can incorporate it into our daily posts. We will be holding a debrief meeting (which we intend to hold in Alperton) soon, to encourage some of the young people there to get more involved with our group. Jessica Harris and David Harris in particular helped with the organisation in the pre-stage and event stage of our peace rally.

The person on the right in the Picture above is Atiq Chowdhry he is the 1st Vice Chairman of the BPCA and my elder brother. Atiq produced all the placards and encouraged peopel all day long. He visited Walthamstaow church frequently and spoke about our event. He and I both visited the church in Alperton from which the majority of Asian Christains came to our protest - we are indebited to them and I am sure that God will recognise theire efforts and committment.

Arish Chowdhry my younger cousin created the Facebook page which you can all now join, just serach via facebook inputting "British Pakistani Christian Association". Moreover he helped deisgn our wonderful logo, which was used in great effect on our protest lead banner. We amalgamated the British Union Flag with the Moon and Star from Pakistan. Placed a cross on and devised a succint motto "Creating a voice for Pakistani Christians". We intend to expand our work in the near future and have designated Arish as our Project Manager. The security at the event, the programmes and the leaflets although written byAlex, Atiq and I were printed by Arish who really held the fort well for us! See his image on our facebook page.

In the same picture you will also see Jessica and David Harris holding the banner. the two of them have been a real blessing to our nascent group. Young people like these need encouragement - we are arranging a debrief session regarding our protest in Alperton, hoping to recruit more young talent to our cause and group.

Please tune into the Eava FM Christmas Special!

Christmas day schedule on Eava FM 102.5

I am attaching the planned schedule for 25th December 2009. You can now tune in all over the world via If youb have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Eava on the details below:

Christmas day schedule on Eava FM 102.5

07.00am Rev. Javid Iqabl – Leicester

08.00am Rev. Eric Sarwar – Holland

09.00am Rev. Noble Samuel – London

09.30am Singer - Hammad Baily

10.00am Singer – Balbir Suffi – India

10.30am Rev. Asif - Pakistan

On behalf of the Pukaar News team I would like to wish you a Christmas filled with joy and happiness.

Kind Regards,
Romail Gulzar
T:0845 500 50 52

We at the BPCA are very grateful to Romail Gulzar from the Eava FM Team. He has supported our protest from the outset, produced the film of the event and interviewed us live on EAVA FM the week before the paece rally. Here are some of the images his associated company Pukaar News took on the 19th December 2009:
Hamad Bailey and Voice of Asia - singing Carols and Urdu Zaboor at our recent protest march.

Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Atheists and Christians joined the peace rally and demanded justice, peace and equality in Pakistan.

Pastor Bashir Sandhu in his elderly years still managed to join the length of the protest, in the miserable cold and spoke eloquently outside 10 Downing Street. He prayed for the delegation before they set off to deliver the petitions.

The delegation before 10 Downing Street Hannah Chowdhry (Wilson's Daughter), Alex Chowdhry (Chairman of the BPCA), Jasdev Rai (Director Sikh Human Rights Group),
Jean Lambert Green Party MEP for London).

Enhanced profile in Pakistan!

A copy of the article in todays Jaang newspaper - this can be read on page 9.

Brothers and sisters in Pakistan please purchase a copy of the Jaang and inspire Churcehes in Pakistan with the Good News! There are People in the UK that love and care for you - not always the ones you expect but they exist and will continue the fight!

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Images of our peace rally in reverse chronological order

The Delegation to deliver the petition to 10 Downing Street: Dr Jasdev Rai (Director of the Sikh Human Rights Group), Hannah Chowdhry (Wilson's Daughter), Alex Chowdhry (Chairman of BPCA) and Jean Lambert (Green Party MEP For London) Dr Peter David failed to complete the delegation?

Alex Chowdhry's 8 year old daughter Sophia braved the weather to campaign for justice, peace and equality in Pakistan - one of the few British Pakistani Christians to do so. Well at least our future is in safe hands!

MEP Jean Lambert addressing the amassed protesters before delivering the petition to 10 Downing Street. I approcahed the Labour Party and the Conservatives - only letters of support were received. The Liberal part did not respond in any way!

On the far right the woman in the shades (cropped hair) is Clara Connolloy from Women Against Fundamentalism. My 10 year old nephew Asher stood up to the cold weather to support persecuted Christians.

Placards were made by Alex and Atiq Chowdhry - some are quite poignient

In dominion we claimed the ground for Jesus! Our brothers from Feltham (Christain Social Link assited me with the chanting. We are grateful for their support - they were equal partners.

Alex Chowdhry led us in the 2nd recital of the Lords Prayer (whilst kneeling) just before Trafalgar Square. Christ Stumbled 3 times when carrying the cross, we used this religious symbolism to consecrate the day for God. We were pleased that those from other faith groups or those with no faith did not object or cause any issue with what we felt was an approriate act for the Glory of our God. Peopel can put aside differences when they have the right heart.

Young and old Christians walking side by side - taking turns to carry the cross - just as Christian soldiers are asked too.

Is our banner not a stunning amalgamation of the two flags representing our peopel in the UK? The banner also has an imprinted cross and our new logo "Creating a voice for Pakistani Christians!"

We created a real stir in the heart of London on an otherwise very quite day!

A white brother took a turn carrying the cross - we were an extremly cosmopolitan group.

Sharing each others burdens is an important facet of Christianity

See our banner does have a cross on it!

We put all the young teenagers and the children at the front of the protest, our intent was to show that the future of our community is in safe hands.

Our well planned protest march was a great spectacle a huge cross lead us then our large banner with a clear message and the numerous placards. Only more Pakistani Christians could have provided any benefit.

The young boy at the front struggked with the cross alone for a long period. Truly committed over-exuberant at times, but with careful channeling of his energy and frustration, he would be a great asset to any community.

Gosh that was a huge cross at the front of the procession - our thanks again to Potters House Christian Fellowship.

There was a lot more of us at the event than those who chose not to turn up expected. Those that schemed against us, will have to face God one day, they will then have to answer to him - on what led them to sow seeds of disunity.

Atiq Chowdhry (1st Vice Chairman BPCA) Alex Chowdhry and Pastor Kevin Hodges (Potters House Christian Fellowship) Our esteemed delegation to the Pakistani Embassy.

Voice of Jesus performing outside the Pakistani Embassy

Voice of Jesus sang Urdu Zaboor and Christmas Carols outside the Pakistani Embassy - how surprised were those inside the embassy....?

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelijah!

Pastor Amelia Jacob Ordained Minister for the British Anglican Church. The leading Women in the UK Asian Christian Community - praying and addressing the amassed people.

Baroness Caroline Cox: Peer for the Queensbury London seat at the House of Lords. That's me Wilson in the background and Alex Chowdhry nearer the front of the picture.

Young Children suffered in the cold - where are the adults!

I have never before seen so many diverse people supporting our cause. There again I have never seen so few Pakistani Christians at a protest for Pakistani Christians. Let's hope they don't use snow as an excuse in summer - they probably will find others....