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Saturday 27 February 2010

Encouraging message promoting unity amongst all

We can all live together in peace - but only if we work together!

Today I was very impressed with a comment for someone who has taken the time to read our blog and to spread a mesage of hope and peace. When we get embroiled with the Shazia Bashir case, we must be able to stand back and recognise that the issue is one relating to the heinous acts of a sexual predator and not an issue of persecution or religious inequality. The inequality this issue highlights is one of power and wealth. Please read the comment below:

Anonymous said...

I have read a few different articles about the case of Shazia. However this is the most reliable one as an attempt has been made to be objective rather seeing this as a case of Muslim v Christian.

This article rightly points out the condition of rights of both women and children(Muslim & Christian)in a country that is still run by elites who act outside the law or as a law unto themselves and a country where a large section of the population are livig in absolute poverty and therefore have no access to proper legal representation or other basic human needs: housing, nutrition, health, education, work and fair working conditions etc.
According to both communities there is a case of death that needs to be investigated in accordance with the law. Muslim and Christians should avoid subjectiviness and work together for the good of the nation and in accordance with the principles of truth and justice held by both religious communities.
Those who claim to be Muslim or Christian but do not strive to uphold truth and justice will not be saved by the labels the give themselves.
Thanks for your more objective article and we pray that this and other similar cases will find justice.

A concerned Muslim - UK
If you would like to read the posted article it can be found by clicking (here)

Friday 26 February 2010

Wilson one of only two ethnic minority speakers at a major London protest!

Addressing protesters outside Redbridge Town Hall
Some say I don't need a megaphone.

Others say I am rarely seen without one!

Amongst the amassed protesters - rallying all behind our unified cause.

Leading protesters in song, chant and slogans!
At a recent protest on the 4th February - in the London Borough of Redbridge, Wilson Chowdhry our Chairman joined 170 people as he argued for a stop to plans to reduce Accident and Emergency and Maternity facilities from the Borough's King George Hospital.
These images were provided by our auspicious Ilford Recorder and you can see the event was a great success. Wilson has officially been told by the Redbridge Police Events Team, that in excess of 170 people attended.
Wilson has been fervent in his efforts to work against the diabolical plans to attritionally reduce facilities at King George Hospital. Moreover, his petition that has been signed by over 300 residents has featured in Several local papers and the BBC Web. The petition has been growing since his initial two protests and this one. An electronic version of his petition had an article dedicated to its success in the Ilford Recorder.
Wilson's work in the borough is being recognised by prominent figures. The Leader of Redbridge Council Keith Prince invited Wilson to speak at the event. He introduced Wilson as the man who influenced the early stage of the campaign and who highlighted the issue of the plight of our local hospital. Wilson said after the event;
"I was one of few speakers and was grateful for an opportunity to raise my concerns and disgust at the diabolical, nonsensical proposals devised by Redbridge PCT. To me they seem like an opportunity to retain inappropriate salaries, for senior level cronies, of the existing Chief Executive Heather O'Meara. Whilst, reducing the quality and availability of much needed services to a community growing at an alarming rate with a poor level of health service already ineffectually rationed."
Of all the guest speakers at the protest Wilson was the only South Asian sub-continent speaker. Being a Pakistani Christian he belongs to one of the smallest minority groups in the world. Wilson joined our two MP's Lee Scott (ilford North), Mike Gapes (Ilford South) and a number of Councillors in addressing the Town Centre. To be recognised for his public duty, at such a young age, is a rarity. Wilson believes in the power of protests especially in the manner that they rally people to a cause and highlight issue of concerns to the appropriate authorities and the wider public. In the global society that we live in, reputation and image have become key aspects, of international development.
Wilson believes in the BPCA policy of protest and petition and challenges others to continue to campaign with us.
Rev George Hargreaves (Leader of the Christian Party) also attended the protest and was the only black speaker at the event. His wife is in hospital with a serious condition and we ask that you join us in praying for their family and church.
More than any of us, he understands the importance of full hospital facilities in Redbridge . A video of the event was produced by the Christian Party and will be edited shortly. We shall upload a copy onto this blog.
Again we ask that you pray for Rev Hargreaves, his church and or course his family.

Haiti Fundraising Concert Flyer - Recieved from Albert Massey

More images from our 10 Downing Street and Pakistan Embassy petition delegation

Upkar Singh thanking the Police for their patience with our extended group.
Wilson Chowdhry thanking the Police whilst submitting a BPCA petition.

Alex Chowdhry submitting the BPCA letter

Harbans Singh of United Sikhs presenting the British Sikh Council Petition.

Cllr Alan Craig (Christian Peoples Party) submitting a BPCA Letter to the Prime Minister

Bir Singh Man from the British Sikh Council submitting their letter to the PM

Sukminderjit Singh Ranja (Sikh Human Rights Group) submitting a British Sikh Council Letter.

Alan Craig and Wilson Chowdhry holding the British Sikh Council Submission and that of the BPCA.

Wilson Chowdhry and Upkar Singh united under one cause - peace, justice, equality and unity for Pakistan.

Bir Singh Man and Wilson Chowdhry forging better Sikh and Christian unity.

Upkar Singh and Alan Craig discussing the issues in Pakistan.

Harbans Kaur and Wilson Chowdhry proving people of different faiths, genders and other diversities can live in peace.

Sukminderjit Singh Ranja and Wilson Chowdhry affirm Sikh/Christian corroboration.

Leaders from two faiths unite against persecution!

Gelling together despite differences in faith.

Bonding in a friendship that removes barriers.
united under one cause.

Cross faith -cross culture support for peace!

Standing for justice and peace.

Three major Sikh bodies represented in collaboration with the British Pakistani Christian Association and the Christian Peoples Party.

We demand justice for those persecuted in Pakistan.

From the outset two communities illustrated that harmony can be achieved.

Crammed into a confined space - but still able to maintain peace.

The Christian Party

Rev George Hargreaves the black leader of the Christian party has always been very supportive of the Pakistani Christian Community. I have noted with great interest his constant attendance at our events and his fervour for supporting those in need. At yesterdays petition to 10 Downing Street he kindly sent his film crew to video our event. More details on the Christian Party can be found by following the link below.

The BPCA does not favour any particular party, however, from initial evidence it would seem the Green Party and the Christian Party, have been our comnmunities staunchest support. Food for thought....

Thursday 25 February 2010

A copy of our letter submitted with our petition to the Pakistani High Commision UK and 10 Downing Street.

In the wake of a number of violent and heinous atrocities enacted upon minority faith groups in Pakistan. The British Pakistani Christian Association in conjunction with the British Sikh Council, United Sikhs, Christian Peoples Alliance and the Sikh Human Rights Group, has organised a delegation to both 10 Downing Street and the Pakistani Embassy. The diabolical incidents include:
  • False blasphemy charges resulting in the burning down of the Christian villages of Korian, and Gojra. Nine deaths occurred during the attack on Gojra, after a young couple were newly wed and confetti was purported to be made of torn pieces of the Quran.

  • Attacks on the Christian villagers of Sumbrial under false blasphemy charges - leading to the murder of a young man in prison.

  • 65 Christians worshipping at a new church in Kalar Kahar were beaten in an unprovoked attack against the Christian faith.

  • A 12 year old domestic servant was raped, tortured and killed by her employer. The former president of the Lahore Bar Association has been set free on bail, as contrived evidence refuted the initial post-mortem. 300 Lawyers mobbed initial court proceedings, forcing the judge to defer the initial hearing. The rogue Lawyers have threatened Christian lawyers not to attempt a prosecution, not one has been disciplined or disbarred for any of their untoward activity.

  • Jaspal Singh was travelling with two members of his family. All 3 Sikhs were kidnapped and a demand for a ransom was sent to their relatives. Attempts were made to forcibly convert the 3 Sikhs to Islam that resulted in the beheading of Jaspal Singh on Sunday 21st February 2010.

The British Pakistani Christian Association calls upon the Pakistani Government to act in accordance with its Constitution and the will of the general public of Pakistan in holding the Taliban responsible for the heinous acts against Sikhs in Swat. We ask that the British Government engages in Dialogue with the Pakistani Government to ensure this takes place.

The British Pakistani Christian Association calls upon the Pakistani Government and the legal structures within Pakistan including the Lahore Bar Association to bar or discipline the lawyers who have disrupted the court proceedings in the Shazia Bashir case. Additionally discipline should be taken against those lawyers who are preventing the rule of law being carried out by way of intimidation of lawyers acting on behalf of the family of Shazia Bashir. We petition the UK Government to engage in dialogue with the Government of Pakistan to ensure this takes place.

The British Pakistani Christian Association calls upon the Pakistani Government to afford better protection for the Christian Prosecution lawyers, acting on behalf of the family of Shazia Bashir. We ask that the British Government engages in dialogue with the Pakistani Government to ensure such protection is provided.

The British Pakistani Christian Association calls upon the British and European Union Governments to impose stricter conditions upon their aid to Pakistan relating to the welfare of minority communities within Pakistan.

The British Pakistani Christian Association wishes to work with Government Departments in looking at ways in which the rights of Pakistani minorities can be supported and improved both here in Britain and Pakistan.

Report of attack on Karachi Church from UCA News

KARACHI, Pakistan (UCAN) — Politicians and Church leaders are appealing for calm after a Muslim mob here attacked two churches and a Christian community.

About 150 armed Muslims raided a Christian colony in the Pahar Ganj area of Karachi on Feb. 21. They shot at houses, beat Christians, vandalized vehicles and destroyed shops.
Four motorcycles were burnt and two auto rickshaws and several shops destroyed during the two-hour attack.

St. Jude’s High School, run by the Catholic Church, remained closed the day following the attack and only opened today [Feb. 23].

St. Mary Church of Pakistan and the Interdenominational Calvary Church were also damaged. Local Christians retaliated by pelting the Muslims with stones until rangers brought the situation under control.

“Seeing [the mob] approach the church, I closed the main gate,” Ashraf Pervaiz, a local Christian told UCA News.

“But they jumped over the gate, entered the compound and opened fire on the church. I tried to stop them but they kept beating me with sticks and weapons.”

The attack is said to have begun as a scuffle between a Muslim fruit vendor and local Christians.
“A Christian boy picked up plums from a fruit vendor’s cart. The Muslim injured him with an iron weight and was stopped by some Christian men nearby. Later he returned with the mob,” Aashiq Pervaiz, president of the Calvary Church told UCA News.

The raid is the first of its kind this year.

Christian leaders have launched Christian-Muslim talks aimed at forming a joint committee and preventing similar attacks in future.

More than 200 Christians and Muslims packed Calvary Church on Feb. 22 to discuss their options.

“Our religion speaks of love and peace. We have not registered any case in the police station even though our places of worship came under fire. We forgive the attackers but demand both communities not to give a religious tint to their personal clashes,” Aashiq Pervaiz said in his address to the gathering.

Bishop Mushtaq Anjum of Vision of Kingdom Church in Pakistan told UCA News that “personal feuds” were the most common reason for clashes between Christians and Muslims.

“The government must provide extra security to all churches in this Muslim majority country. We demand the strictest punishment for those who attack places of worship,” he said.KARACHI, Pakistan (UCAN) — Politicians and Church leaders are appealing for calm after a Muslim mob here attacked two churches and a Christian community.

Qamar David - sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy

Follow the link below to learn the dubious history of the Qamar David blasphemy case that resulted in a life sentence today. Perhaps now that this man is in prison we should be campaigning for better protection of those held in custody within Pakistani prison cells. It is purported that no Blasphemy case in Pakistan has resulted in a death sentence being passed. It could be argued that every case of Blasphemy is a potential death sentence. Click on the link below and remember the case of Fanish Masih also.....

British Sikh Council press release for the joint Sikh and Christian delegation to 10 Downing Street

Upkar Rai presenting the British Sikh Council petition to 10 Downing Street

British Sikh Council UK


Violation of Human Rights in Pakistan

Hurtful occurrences during the year 2009 and 2010 have clearly demonstrated that Pakistani Government has been failing in protecting minorities living in Pakistan. Recently Sikhs in Peshawar have been kidnapped and forcefully being asked to convert or pay ransom. Two Sikhs were beheaded and their dicapitated heads were dumped in Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh in Peshawar by the Taliban because they refused to convert and failed to pay ransom. Some Sikhs are still being held as hostages by Taliban.

British Government has been providing huge sums of tax payer’s money to Pakistani Government for the sake of eliminating ongoing terrorism in Pakistan. Unfortunately, it looks like that Taliban and other extremist groups who are still in control of NWFP/SWAT valley. Taliban have been allowed to implement Shari'a Laws and the Blasphemy Law of Pakistan section 298A and 295b&c. Such laws are being misused by these extremist groups against minorities and also to settle personal vendettas. Above all, it is the responsibility of the Government to stop such laws being misused against innocent and law abiding Pakistani citizens irrespective of their religion and ethnicity.

British Sikh Council UK on behalf of the Sikhs in UK, urge the Pakistani Embassy to raise this matter immediately with Pakistani Government and ask for the restoration of Sikh human rights and provide protection for the Sikhs and minorities living in NWFP/SWAT and other parts of Pakistan.


Upkar Singh Rai
PR Secretary British Sikh Council UK

Bir Singh Mann
Spokesperson and Trustee British Sikh Council UK

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Premier Radio have reported on our petition delivery tomorrow!

Premier Christian Radio have reported on our petition deliver tomorrow. Please listen to their report. Pakistani Christians now have a voice. Due to complications I was not able to talk on Pukaar Radio, however, we have commented on our petition delivery tomorrow, for Sunrise Radio this morning - listen out for the snippet in their hourly news.

Here is a link to the Premier Radio snippet the extended version has been broadcast nationally.

(Click here)

Indian Government condemns Taliban killing of Jaspal Singh

The Indian Government has condemned the beheading of Jaspal Singh. This unprovoked attack has shocked the world and highlighted the severe problems in Pakistan emanating from political instability and weak government. Read more here:

Talibanised Pakistan - Real threat to women

Talibanised Pakistan poses difficulties for women

Lys Anzia
24 May 2009

With the strengthening of fundamentalist forces in Pakistan, women from minority communities, particularly Dalit Christians, face an uncertain future in the country. Discriminatory laws and the government’s failure to take action against societal forces hostile to minorities have fostered intolerance, says journalist Lys Anzia.

As violence continues between 4,000 Taliban splinter groups and Islamabad soldiers, Christian minority refugees, global rescue agencies and Pakistan’s own army leaders nervously wait to see who, in the end, will end up controlling the region. Some Christian women and their families will be forced to stay behind, as they have been unable to leave due to the expense of travel.

Minority girl from Sindh Province/ Photo credit: Alysha/ WNN
“Christian, Hindu and Sikh families have been forced to flee because the Taliban imposed on them jizia [a tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule],” said Catholic Archbishop, Lawrence John Saldanha, in a letter released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
“Now minority communities in the province are forced to endure unemployment, intimidation and migration,” continued the Archbishop’s message.

Ninety percent of Pakistani Christians live in Punjab with 50% living in rural villages. “Less than 2% of Pakistanis are Christians,” says a 2008 Catholic News Service (CNS) report. Although this number has been more recently set by United Nations agencies at a larger 4%. Half of Pakistan’s Christian minority population is Catholic, the other half Protestant.

Pakistan’s religious minorities

Minority religions and sectarian groups in Pakistan come from a vast collection of religious diversity, which includes Christians, Buddhists, Ahmadis, Zikris, Hindus, Kalasha, Parsis, Sikhs and Shia Muslim sects, including Ismailis and Bohras. Ethnic regional groups come from five different communities, including the Baloch, Huhajir, Punjabis, Pushtuns and Sindhis.
Although 25% of religious minority women are not considered disadvantaged, Christian minority women who live on the bottom of society face many untold limitations.

A policy of “living invisibly” with family members is often the only answer for protection for many minority Christian families who suffer under the great specter of poverty in Pakistan.
The most recent Pakistan 1998 census shows minority totals in the country to number somewhere between 11 to 13 million. Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus claim to have a population of four million each.

Marginalisation of Christian women:

Most of the families of Christian minority women in Punjab came, at the turn of the 20th century, from families that were originally from India. They came from dalit Hindu families who moved to what would later become the Pakistan region in 1947. Their legacy of isolation and separation from Indian society is ongoing.

As dalits they were part of the lowest “untouchable” caste in India. This has been a nemesis that has followed them, even after they converted from Hinduism to Christianity. Basic women’s rights and human rights are often out of reach for these women who daily experience conditions of extreme poverty.

Dalit Christian women who have been severely marginalised often suffer from a shortage of even the simplest basic needs. Lack of health care is common. Slum conditions can also be found where families are forced to live on the streets or to live together in crowded poorly constructed shelters, amid garbage, toxic chemicals and refuse. Their houses often have no electricity, heat or clean water.

Because of these conditions, many dalit Christian women fall into lifetime careers as sewer cleaners, domestic servants or brick kiln workers. Payments for these positions are painfully low, or at times non-existent. Some employers give payment loans ahead to trap minority women, preventing them from ever paying the loans back as they continue to work for free on wheels of never ending debt bondage.

University educated Christian minority women, on the other hand, have quite an opposite experience. Because they are usually supported by family or a husband with money they fare much better among Pakistani society. These women usually have comfortable standards of living, a home their family owns and personal time for leisure activities. They also have much greater freedom with contacts and life opportunities.

The act of clustering poor dalit Christian minority women and families on church owned land or “colonies” has contributed to a much deeper degree of cultural segregation. While isolation and clustering is meant to provide safety, at times it has created more danger for families, as Islamic extremist groups identify Christian community locations to specifically plan their attacks.

A survey of Christian womenWhen a 2006 University of Birmingham, UK study was conducted among a wide span of Christian minority women in Pakistan, all women did mention that they had experienced what they called Muslim “name calling.” One derogatory name which is used commonly in Pakistan is “sweeper” which refers to the “worst of all” – a dalit Christian.

Both educated and uneducated Christian women admitted that they had been asked numerous times by others if they would convert to Islam. Some also experienced reverse discrimination when they befriended someone Muslim, as some of their Christian friends criticised them. One student said that her marks at school were lowered when her teacher realised she was Christian, but she also added her experience was, “not that difficult.”

Those who come from much greater disadvantaged backgrounds, on the other hand, shared much more serious grievances.

Women from disadvantaged backgrounds described how legal and police protection systems in Pakistan had failed minorities. For a few, this included their own experience or someone they knew who had experienced rape, assault or torture as Police forces did little to nothing to help them.

In contrast, one woman who had police fail to protect her and her family, admitted enthusiastically that the Muslim owner of the factory where she worked “very happily” gave her a position of “influence” at her workplace.

“The general attitude in Pakistan is that if you are rich you are respectable and if you are poor you are not,” said another woman interviewed.

Consensus in attitudes among all the women pointed to feelings that the less educated and “poorer” Muslims were, the more like they were to act from a “habit of discrimination.”

Literacy challenges
As the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) gathered data on education for women in Pakistan (with the help of 900 civil and rights groups), in 2007, their shadow report revealed, “Pakistan has an extremely low female literacy rate with higher drop-out rates among girls before completing primary education. The social norms and practices prefer boys over girls for better education…”

Statistics show that education for the poorest ethnic and religious minority women has constantly been placed at the very bottom of Pakistan’s educational system goals.
With such little opportunity for public education in rural areas, the best chance for poor Christian minority girls to receive literacy training is for them to attend a Christian parochial school. Even this is often very difficult as Islamic Madrasas schools are moving to close all existing programmes for minority girls education across Pakistan.

“We are at the beginning of a great storm that is about to sweep the country,” said Ibn Abduh Rehman, who directs the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent organisation.
“It’s red alert for Pakistan.”

“The mindset wants to stop music, girls schools and festivals,” said Salman Abid, a social researcher in southern Punjab. Because of the rapid expansion of madrasas in northern Pakistan, vandalism and burning of Christian schools and buildings has been increasing since 2002.
Attacks in the Muree region on a Christian school and violence against a chapel in Taxila Hospital have both been attributed to small terrorist groups like the (LJ) Lashkar i Jhangvi, a small Sunni splinter group numbering approx 100 members.

Current dangers

In 2000, rape of seven Christian women on a bus to Lahore was viewed by the larger Pakistani (Muslim) public as a “deplorable act.” In August 2007, Christian Bishop Arif Khan and his wife were murdered in Islamabad. That same month seven churches and five Christian settlements received threatening letters.

The intimidation of abduction, rape or violence on women and girls from minority religious families adds greatly to their vulnerability. Any legal recourse with police or courts, in working Pakistani law in their favor, is often very limited.

“In the weeks after the Islamabad (March 17, 2002) attack (on the Protestant International Church), I talked to many Pakistani Christians – Catholics, Protestants and Anglicans – in private homes and at dinners and church socials. Several discerned what they described as a larger pattern of violence directed not only at Christians, but at other religious minorities throughout the country,” said David Penault, associate professor at Santa Clara University, California, US.

There have been a number of reported cases of forced marriages of girls from religious minority communities who are under the age of 15. After separation from their family, abductions are framed with the pretext that their conversion to Islam was the reason for their kidnapping. In some cases, there may be a possibility that these are unidentified sex-trafficking kidnappings, but no study to date has been done to confirm this belief yet.

The list of abuse against poor Christian minority women and girls is long. “Law enforcement personnel abused religious minorities in custody,” said the 2008 International Religious Freedom Report by the US Department of State.

“Security forces and other government agencies did not adequately prevent or address societal abuse against minorities,” continued the report. “Discriminatory legislation and the Government’s failure to take action against societal forces hostile to those who practice a different religious belief fostered religious intolerance, acts of violence, and intimidation against religious minorities.”

Blasphemy laws and Hadood ordinances:

In a reversal of restrictions under laws covering accusations by a husband against his wife in adultery, the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act, had the intention to free 2,500 women from Pakistan jails in 2006. Unfortunately, this was not completed. Following this improvement, a more conservative interpretation of the law, through Sharia-based legislation, was given more emphasis, causing greater restrictions in the courts.

As legal doors closed again more tightly, Christian women suffering from extreme poverty were left dangling in a forgotten field of legal ambiguity, no protection and “non-personhood.”

Even with the measured 2006 attempt to ease the 1979 Hadood Ordinances, which now allow women to report domestic violence and rape with one instead of the previously required three male witnesses, women still do not feel safe stepping forward to press their case. Blasphemy laws, that sanction anyone criticising Islam also inflicts intimidation under the sentence of death by stoning. Stoning as a sentence in Pakistan’s courts has been used as punitive measures in quarrels against neighbors and against religious minorities.

For protection, minority women and their families, whether poor or middle class, often try to hide or mask their religious beliefs for safety at work and in public.

“Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are so vaguely formulated that they encourage, and in fact invite, the persecution of religious minorities or non-conforming members of [the] Muslim majority,” said human rights advocates, Amnesty International.

Under reported cases of rape and torture of religious minority women and girls present a human rights crisis. Police corruption, along with abysmal Pakistani prison and jail conditions, creates an atmosphere of intimidation and non-accountability.

“Religious minorities need more than just fair treatment under the law, they also require visible cooperation from the police and authorities, to prevent mob justice taking over,” said Settlement Director, Nasir Saeed of (CLAAS) Center for Legal Aid Assistance, which has an office in Lahore and London.

In Oct 2007, Asma Jahangir, now UN Special Rapporteur for UN Commission on Human Rights said: “The North-West Frontier Province presents a disturbing picture of religious militancy that is increasingly manifesting itself in vigilante actions against the population and creating widespread fear…The government has continuously refused to heed complaints and warnings from both the public and civil society organisations and has adopted a policy of appeasement of militants.”

“The government has chosen to look the other way when the militants have blown up girls’ schools and video shops, threatened teachers, students, doctors, nurses, NGO workers and barbers,” added Jahangir.

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Joint Christian and Sikh delegation to 10 Downing Street and the Pakistani Embassy

Funeral of Jaspal Singh
A community mourns one of their dear departed

In the aftermath of the recent Taliban beheading of a Sikh man, I approached leaders of the Sikh community to encourage them to join us to petition for better Human Rights for minority faith groups in Pakistan. Sources state that Jaspal Singh was travelling with two other men whilst on a visit to other members of their family, when they were kidnapped by Taliban militants and a ransom was exhorted from their families. Reports state that the kidnapping occurred 41 days ago and it is said that the families of the the victims did not initially want media or Police involvement, due to a fear of reprisals. Since the devastating news of the death of Jaspal that has alarmed the Sikh Community, the Taliban have requested a 20,000,000 Pak Rupee ransom to free Surjeet Singh and Gurvinder Singh the remaining abductees.

I received the following comment from Ravjeet Singh of United Sikhs:

"Hi Wilson, Thanks for your email. I will look into if we can help in anyway with your cause, sadly I can't make Thursday as its to short notice but I will try and ask someone else. I have put my name on the petition. Please see our press statement relating to recent events in link below."

Community Mourns the Brutal Beheading of Peshawar Sikh by Taliban
UNITED SIKHS Appeals for Concrete Action to Protect Minority Communities in the Region

Dr Jasdev Rai of the Sikh Human Rights Group, could not attend our petition submission to 10 Downing Street or the Pakistani High Commission, however, he has indicated his support.

I am pleased to announce that Upkar Rai and Sukminderjit Deol, from the British Sikh Council, will be attending the petition submission event at 10 Downing Street and the Pakistani Embassy. I have a particularly dear and strong friendship with the Sikh Community, much due to a friendship with a Tarsem Lalli an ex-colleague of mine who has been a Human Rights activist for many years. Tarsem and I challenged the UK Passport Office on a discriminatory practice that resulted in the refusal of entry to baptised Sikhs at Passport Offices, due to their wearing of a Kirpaan (ceremonial knife). An ensuing risk assessment has made it possible for Sikhs to be served in the same way as other British Citizens without any "potential" threat to the safety of others. I should advise that no Sikh has ever been prosecuted for misusing their Kirpaan in the UK.

Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan have a history of working together and supporting one another. In the UK this allegiance is no different. By working together in this way we hope to raise the profile of the injustices and malpractice occurring in Pakistan. Our aim is to bring succour to persecuted communities of all faiths in particular minority faith groups. We challenge the Pakistani Government to provide safer communities, better quality of life, parity of opportunity, equal citizenship and fairer justice to all. Moreover, we hope our efforts will inspire the British Government and European Union to take a more concerted interventionist policy in resolving these issue, for a country that operates as one of their allies and is in receipt of various funding streams for internal development.

Our Petitions will be delivered to 10 Downing Street at 12:00 on Thursday 25 February 2010. We also hope to deliver a petition to the Pakistani Embassy for 13:30 and await final confirmation. Please come and join us to show support if you are free and pray for the event itself - that it might create some impetus for change in Pakistan. Most importantly, pray for succour, and justice for the families of Jaspal Singh and Shazia Bashir two victims of the social injustices in Pakistan.

Romail from Pukaar seeks to heal community wounds!

Image of the debonair Romail in full flow!

Dear All,

Many attacks have taken place against minority citizens of Pakistan, especially the Christians. And now in the news this past week is story of Pakistani Sikh who was beheaded after being kidnapped in the Khyber district.

We will be discussing this latest attack on EAVA FM on Wednesday 24th February between 12 and 1pm. Our studio guests will include Manzoor Moghal MBE JP, Chairman of, Muslim Forum.

Rev'd. Javaid Iqbal chairman of ethnic minority forum, Diocese of Leicester, and on the phone Resham Singh Sandhu MBE, Chairman of the Sikh Welfare and Cultural Society and Wilson Chowdhry, vice-chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).

Tune into 102.5 FM or to hear the discussion live.

Kind Regards,
Romail Gulzar

Monday 22 February 2010

Two Sikhs beheaded in NWFP!

Image shows NWF provinces in which Sikhs have a sizable population and have been forced to pay a Jizya Tax. Two Sikhs were beheaded when their families could not afford to pay a ransom, fears have increased for the safety of other potential victims.

It was with great sadness that I heard of the tragic loss of two Sikh men in a Taliban beheading, yesterday. The Sikh Community has been supportive of Pakistani Christians and Dr Jasdev Rai of the Sikh Human Right Group attended our recent protest from the Pakistani Embassy to 10 Downing Street. We will be praying for the Sikh community of Pakistan and condemn the actions of the Taliban. The BPCA are submitting a petition to 10 Downing Street after a 12 year old Christian Girl - working as a domestic servant - was tortured, raped and killed. Perhaps you would like to support our petition?

We are taking the petition to 10 Downing Street and the Pakistani Embassy on Thursday 25th February at 12:00. We have now invited leaders from the Sikh Community to generate a Petition before this event so that they can submit alongside us in a joint delegation. We must work together to stop vulnerable communities form being persecuted in Pakistan.

Many of you may not be aware of my strong association with the UK Sikh Community:

Minority faith groups will need to galvanise themselves for a protracted battle against oppression and will only succeed if united. If not I can only envisage more sorrow for our communities.

’All is Well'

By. Romail Gulzar (Pukaar news)

Pakistan has been promising justice since it came into being 63 years ago, yet its minorities are still being treated unjustly. Government ministers assure us that all minorities are well treated and given full security. But this is not the case. Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Christians may have religious freedom but there are many cases in which the government brushes aside people's problems and suffering and says, 'All is Well!'An example of this is the two girls from Multan, Anila and Saba, who were forcefully made to accept Islam. Their parents are still looking for justice and there are many more stories of a similar nature to which the Pakistani Government has failed to respond.

On the 22nd of April last year in Karachi members of the Taliban attacked Christians in the Teesar area, killing 12-year-old Irfan and injuring four other people.They beat up women and children. When Christians peacefully protested against this they were fired upon, their houses looted and torched and Bibles were burnt in the churches. The government has not responded in any positive way. The leader needs to explain why there has been no action.

In August 2009 seven people, including children, were burnt alive inGojra; again the people there are still waiting for justice. This is an echo of the horror in Shanti Nagar 14 years ago, when the whole village was burnt and many people were killed. Tragically such crimes are still continuing.

On 21st January 2010 a 12-year-old maid was raped and murdered in Lahore. In 14th February the murderer walked free. The media highlighted this appalling case but again the Pakistani justice system has failed the young girl’s parents. And although the media tried to cover this story, they were banned from all court hearings and so unable to unfold the true events. They were even attacked for their interference! Again we see the government applying its motto of 'All is Well' when evidently it is not. A couple have lost their child, a murderer has walked free and there is no justice.

It is disgraceful that minorities in Pakistan are forced to apply to foreign governments for succour. We urge the Pakistani authorities to look into these matters and provide better security in future.

For God's sake please ensure the safety of Christians and all the minorities ends.


Amnesty International Report on Pakistan 2001

I have just placed the receiver of my phone down, after a very interesting conversation with , the Lead officer responsible for "Amnesty International" concerns relating to Pakistan.

She has informed me she will cascade details of our protest on the 31st July through her membership network. Moreover, she has also provided me with a contact telephone number for Mr Mehboob Ahmed who sits on the minorities panel for the Human Rights Commission for Pakistan. I will try to make contact sometime this week, to see if they can intervene on behalf of the family of Shazia Bashir.

Maya also sent me details of a 2001 report on Pakistan that still provides an in depth and current analysis of the issues in Pakistan. Click here to read more

Thursday 18 February 2010

Wilson Chowdhry will speak to 25,000 People at IFSEC Conference and Exhibition!

I could not find a 2010 log...sorry!

IFSEC is the world's leading global annual security event, uniting over 25,000 security professionals with more than 600 world leading companies. The exhibition also boasts a comprehensive educational programme. The event will run for 3 days from the 10-12 May 2010 and entry is free.

At the event series of conference modules are presented alongside the exhibition which delegates can attend to keep up-to-date with key issues, hear the very latest in legislative and technological developments, and share best practice.

Wilson Chowdhry the Vice Chair has been invited to give a presentation on on 11th May 2010 about corporate security. Wilson's session begins at 15:05 and he will be joined by the following speakers inter alia;

  • Neil Stansfield, OSCT Deputy Director for Science & Technology, The Home Office
  • Chris Phillips GCGI, MSyI., DCI Head of The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO)
  • Simon Whitehorn, Security Management Specialist, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust
  • John Shaw, Managing Director Police Support Services, G4S
  • Steve Kemsley, Head of Industry Engagement, Olympic & Paralympic Security Directorate
  • Mike Hurst, Vice Chairman – Strategy, ASIS International Chapter 208
  • Don Randall MBE, Head of Security, Bank of England
  • Paul Mackie, Compliance Director, Camerawatch Ltd
  • Jonas Andersson, Axis Communications & Chairman of Steering Committee, ONVIF

[These are but a few of the guest speakers to the event we will provide a more comprehensive list once the organisers have completed the schedule.]

The topics Wilson will be covering as part of his presentation include:

15:05 Prioritising and contingency planning
Managing risk and ensuring you are focusing on the right priorities
Planning for essential business continuity and crisis management on a budget
Taking a holistic approach to corporate security

Learn more about the event here:

The event organisers said;

"Thank you so much for your call today letting me know that you have agreed to speak at the IFSEC conference this year. I am thrilled that you would like to participate in the conference and I can therefore confirm your involvement as a speaker at 15:05 on 11th May 2010."

I have been criticised indirectly by one of our "most professional" Pakistani Christian reporters. If you read the same persons Facebook entries, you will see that despite his claim to scrutinise all the emails that are received by him, many have been copied directly from the emails sent to him, including the intrinsic grammatical and spelling error. The same gentleman may want to come to my presentation. Should he do so he will note that from the names displayed so far, I may be the only ethnic minority speaker at a huge event (this may not be correct and is speculation),that will be attended predominantly by leading security executives and consultants. This is a big leap for a Pakistani Christian and I hope that I will present our community in a positive light. Please do pray for me.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

We have produced a petition for Justice for Shazia Bashir. A copy will be sent to the Prime Minister of the UK and one to the Pakistan Embassy. Please sign the petition and cascade this through your personal networks. For this petition to be successful we need as many signatures as possible before the 23rd February the date for the next trial.

Please click on the link below:

Please put your differences aside and join us in this endeavour.

Kind regards

Wilson Chowdhry
Vice Chairman BPCA