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Thursday 24 February 2011

Raymond Davis - causing a real stir!

I received this comment form Aga Haider Raza it is published in verbatim:

A lot of chatter, gossip and conversation have taken place in regards to the Raymond Davis issue last month. From Davis being a CIA spy to the murdered motorcyclists being ISI agents, not a single story has been missed. Alleged phone records between Davis and TTP have surfaced along with Davis’ need of naswar, board games and ladies.

Who is Raymond Davis? No one really knows beyond the fact that he allegedly shot dead two motorcyclists. But the anger and resentment directed towards the United States and the government in Pakistan is not due to the murder of two men.

So where is all this anger coming from? Pent up frustration due to load shedding, gas shortages, and an incredibly high inflation rate would surely be the answer many speak of. But what it honestly boils down to is the lack of communication on behalf of the government and a trust deficit widening between the people of Pakistan and a government for the people, by the people and of the people. President Zardari has consistently refused to lend an ear to public sentiment. His purpose of doing so remains a mystery. Dirty politics continues to be played while the public has been taken for a joyride.

The President – who was elected by a large margin – refused to reinstate the judiciary fired by Musharraf. The President refused to remain in Pakistan while severe floods hit the country. The President refused to properly address the murder of Governor Salmaan Taseer.
And now with a major international relations dilemma, the President has again refused to side with the very people who swept him in to power. One may argue that this critique should be directed towards Prime Minister Gilani, but we all know it would be a waste of ink and paper if I were to do so.

The deaf ears of the government have surely been a source of frustration for Pakistanis. This lack of communication is rather ironic considering Gilani’s Administration pride on labeling themselves the ‘People’s Government’. President Zardari never lets us forget the great sacrifice his wife gave to this country, but yet refused to stand up to the very extremists who killed her. Based off of news reports, it seems the President would rather allow Davis flying back to the United States than hold him accountable in Pakistan. These news articles now only certify Bob Woodward’s assertion, where in his book he quoted President Zardari as saying “collateral damage worries you Americans, not me”.

Due to the Raymond Davis saga, a key member of the Pakistan People’s Party has been refused his previous Cabinet post as Foreign Minister.
In the recent reshuffling of the Cabinet, Shah Mehmood Qureshi was offered Water and Power rather than the portfolio of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But where does Mr. Qureshi fall into this tale titled Raymond Davis?

Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s (SMQ) case is surely an interesting one. A clean-cut politician, SMQ has been known for his honesty and uprightness. It comes as no surprise that he was unable to backdate a letter, signing off on Davis’ immunity. After all, if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides blanket immunity to Davis (which SMQ has refuted), it becomes binding on all courts in Pakistan. But the icing on the cake was surely SMQ’s refusal to take the portfolio of Water and Power once he was unceremoniously asked to vacate the third floor of the Foreign Ministry.

SMQ may have his flaws. There are many in the blogosphere who dispute his achievements as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister. A few in the twitterworld have stated SMQ’s sole purpose of speaking publicly on the Davis issue is to gain ‘political mileage’. Career diplomats have taken a swipe at SMQ, articulating that he has allowed his ‘child- hood’ friends key positions on MoFA’s third floor. While politicians have come out arguing that SMQ resigned due to his resentment towards the issuance of Pervez Musharraf’s arrest warrant. Despite such stories and the government finding methods to disturb SMQ’s arrival in Multan, the Makhdoom held a rally in his hometown of Multan, which saw the presence of over 30,000 supporters.

SMQ has lent a voice to Pakistan. He is merely doing what the government has been unable to do so. Listen to the people. Pakistan wants to know the true status of Davis’ immunity. Pakistan does not want extremism to overtake the state. Pakistan wants to walk in the global arena with their heads held high. SMQ now seems to be taking the stance Pakistan wants. It is probably too early to call the heights SMQ can potentially reach, but surely he his reaching for the glass ceiling. Pakistanis have become frustrated at the sugarcoated statements provided by the Gilani Administration. Transparency and accountability that speak to the core of democracy is missing for the current government, and Qureshi seems to offer this imperative cog in the democratic wheel.

While it is no small feat to gather such a crowd as witnessed in Multan, SMQ is a seasoned politician. His speech at the conclusion of the rally should be the center of focus rather than the quantity of attendees. SMQ argued Raymond Davis does not have blanket immunity, while asking his supporters to walk with him, heads held high. He reminded Pakistan the value of a green passport, he reminded Pakistanis of an identity that has been lost over the past three years. Although he moved Multan with his fiery rhetoric, in order to truly represent Pakistan, SMQ needs to move the nation.

Wednesday 23 February 2011

British Pakistani Christian Association Joins march to salvage our NHS

The British Pakistani Christian Association is encouraging UK Pakistani Christians and other faiths to join a protest to stop the Privatisation of the NHS. The event is organised by a collaboration of faith groups and political pressure groups and has come about due to the Equity and Excellence - Liberating the NHS Bill, that seeks to hand over the NHS into the hands of Private Doctor consortiums.

It is a responsibility on all Christians to protect the vulnerable and the track record of the NHS is one that has had a positive affect on this country, increasing life expectancy and providing helathcare at time of need.

The event will start at Hyde Park and end up at 10 Downing Street.

Date: 26th February 2011
Start Time: 12:00

Location: North Carriage Drive entrance to Hyde Park
End time: 14:30 at 10 Downing Street

Speakers include:

Derek Wall - Former Principal of the Green Party
Romayne Phoenix - Chair of Coalition of Resistance
Bob Archer - NUT
Barry Cross - Keep Our NHS Public
Upkar Rai - British Sikh Council
Wilson Chowdhry - British Pakistani Christian Association

Sign the petition here:

Further details can be found here:

and here:

If our communities cannot work together they will not be able to cope with environmental plight!

As the Pakistan Governement is embroiled in societal feuding and diplomatic conflict it's people are forced to swim miles to obtain food and other aid from foreign charities....

The recent deluge in Pakistan may just be the tip of the iceberg - excuse the pun. Many of our Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikh brothers in Pakistan and of course other diversities seem to be missing the point.

Pakistan's people are facing a much bigger crises than they realise and if they do not recognise the global climate change issue (whether Pakistan believes there is a human input or not - it exists), they will not be able to cope with future major weather change.

I am aware that much of my readership is not aware of the fact that on the 26th May, the official temperature in Mohenjodaro in south-central Pakistan reached 128 degrees Fahrenheit, a record for Asia. Moreover, it is well recorder that snow and glaciers in the western Himalayas, where the tributaries of the Indus River originate, were melting fast. The excess water was already swelling the Indus River before the copious rainfall struck the country with terror. This particular weather anomaly was noted by Pakistani glaciologist M. Iqbal Khan.

The best way to overcome social, economic and environmental plight is by working together. It is essential that somehow Pakistan overcomes, its political weakness, Social division and economic scarcity if it is to somehow build a safer, better and fairer Pakistan. Moreover, a concerted effort to reduce the carbon footprint of one of the most significant carbon producers, would go a long way towards showing God we care for the earth he gifted us with.

Moreover, it is time the world and the nation of Pakistan prepared itself for environmental change as it is affecting us all. The recent tremors in New Zealand highlight the need for better safety measures to protect life. Nature is a strong force but God can overcome all things, it would be great to see Christchurch cathedral restored to its former glory but with engineering features that make it a bastion for people subjected to any future tremors in that frequently affected province.

Learn more about the weather adversity faced by Pakistan here:

Learn more about the concept of Climate change and how a 1 degree chnage in temperature, can spread disease, kill crops and decimate economies:

If you would like to donate or learn more abour our Flood Appeal please click the link below:

Monday 21 February 2011

Here is an appeal for help for a victim of persecution in Pakistan - this was sent by a Shaheen Zar and it is printed in verbatim, prima facie:

"This is a strong appeal to every Christian to help Kamran and his family to save their lives before more Muslim brutality is repeated ,after which nothing can be done except to regret

May our Lord God bless. The killing of Jesus’ followers in Pakistan under the blasphemy law involves many innocent Christians who are being targeted.
Such a case I wish to draw your attention to, a recent issue raised in St. Patrick’s College Karachi

Mr. Kamran Rashid, is a highly educated and respected Christian, completed his Msc in mathematics in 2002 from University of Karachi; in 2005 he was appointed in St. Patrick’s College as a lecturer. He has two sisters, a younger brother and a widowed mother to look after, as after the death of his father he took the responsibility of the family.

On 2nd of Feb. 2011 he went to college where there was a horrific and frightening situation to face as there was a huge crowd protesting and asking for Kamran Rashid. The accusation brought against him was toheen e risalat (disrespecting Prophet) the angry group of Muslims wanted to punish him right away; somehow he escaped alive with the help of management.

Consequently he and his family are now facing such a difficulty which would lead them to be killed for the “sin” they have never committed. As they are now in hiding in different places and asking shelter from churches and people, many of these refuse to help and avoid them because they do not want to get involved in this matter, in fact they are scared.

This matter is in its early stage at the moment, but the Muslim group called JAMAYAT e ISLAMI is in search of them. As soon as they find them they would be facing Muslim inhumanity and persecution.

As recently Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan under blasphemy law, there are many such cases which never became known, and/or reported, but this killing continues in and under the veil of “disrespecting prophet"

BPCA - gets new website - join the free forum!

After a successful grant application to the East London Community Foundation we are proud to display our new website. The website has an events page that is editable so please tell us about your church or group activities. Moreover, we now how have a discussion forum that will be open to people irrespective of their diversities and has been set up to encourage debate and mutual learning.

We hope you enjoy this early work and promise to think of more innovative ways for the global Pakistani Christian community to go forward from here.

Daily Times confirm National Assembly to seek more Minorities representatives!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NA body asks govt to pursue Taseer murder case properly

* Committee unanimously passes resolution asking govt to increase seats of minorities in National Assembly

By Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD: The NA body on minorities on Saturday observed a one-minute silence over the assassination of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and demanded of the government to pursue his case properly.

Lauding the services rendered by the late Punjab governor for protecting the rights of the minorities, the committee strongly condemned the people who had celebrated his murder. The participants of the committee expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that despite the existence of law, no one was properly following it in the country.

The committee asked the government to properly pursue the case of the late governor and demanded strict punishment for his murderer.

Speaking on the occasion, Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said Taseer’s vision was to promote harmony and provide rights to every citizen of the country. He condemned the killing of the outspoken former governor, who sacrificed his life for protecting a poor girl. Bhatti said, Taseer raised his voice for the marginalised section of the society and said, “I salute him”. He said Taseer had the courage to raise his voice against those forces who wanted to oppress the minorities.

Committee Chairman Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani said the whole committee condemned the killing of Taseer. The committee asked the government that a competent prosecutor should be provided to pursue the case properly and the killer should be punished in accordance with the law.

The committee offered fateha for the departed soul and lauded the efforts of the former governor for protecting the rights of the minorities. The members condemned the murder of Taseer.

Later, the committee was briefed on the scholarships given to the deserving students of minorities and it was told that the criteria of eligibility was strictly followed and no exception of any kind was given to anybody.

The committee was told that on the recommendations of the standing committee, it had been approved that students belonging to the minorities group belonging to private institutions registered with different educational boards will also be given scholarships.

The committee unanimously passed a resolution asking the government to increase the seats of the minorities in the National Assembly in accordance with the consensus carried out in 1998.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Killer of Governor Salman Taseer sent cards of Love on Valentines day...

Mr Qadri must have a record for the most valentines day cards ever... I wonder if he would have been similarly successful in the UK?
The man in the image has a Valentines card for Mr Qadri - did he purchase one for his wife? Is his wife not jealous of his obvious attraction?

To many in the western world recent events in Pakistan must seem strange in the least and rather bizarre.

On Valentines day in the UK people remember their loved ones, traditionally the day is focused on wives, partners, and those we secretly admire. Yet in Pakistan whilst Mumtaz Qadri was pleading guilty for the murder of Governor Taseer, in a closed session in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi - flowers and valentines cards were being presented to Police to be given to the killer.

When a reporter asked whether Valentines Day should be celebrated by Muslims, the retort received was "Islam is not opposed to Love".

Mumtaz Qadri will now face a court hearing on the 26th of February and a lenient decision in this case, could reciprocally mean a negative decision for the case of Asia Bibi.

The BPCA is concerned that the case for Mumtaz Qadri has been swift in its progress to a court hearing, whilst Christian cases of blasphemy take years to be heard subjecting innocent victims to years in unnecessary incarceration.

We ask churches up and down the country to pray for boldness and fairness in the decisions made by judges involved in these cases. We also pray for a restoration of peace to a very disunited demographic of people.
Listen to Wilson on a Premier Christian Radio interview:

Saturday 12 February 2011

USA may sever diplomatic ties with Pakistan

A recent article in the US Media reported that the USA have threatend the Pakistan Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani, with the termination of all international diplomatic ties with Pakistan.

The report has said the Mr Haqqani as informed that unless US Citizen Raymond Davis is released and returned to the US within 24 Hours of yesterday's deadline, they will shut down the Embassy in Pakistan and call back all their diplomats. They will also shut down the Pakistani Embassy and send the Ambassador and his staff home. A threat to cancel Pakistani President Asiaf Zardari's visit to the US has also purportedly been filed.

The Dawn Newspaper said:

Other reports indicate that President O'Bama's national security advisor summoned Pakistan's ambassador to the White House sometime on Monday evening. There he delivered a threat from the president Various Us Media publications have quoted Pakistani Officials as saying:
"Release Raymond Davis, an American being held in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis, or face the consequences"
According to a report published in ABC News, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told Ambassador Husain Haqqani that the US will remove the Pakistan Embassy form the US, close US consulates in Pakistan, and cancel an upcoming visit by Pakistani President to Washington, if Davis is not released from custody by Friday.

According to the ABC News, the outlines of the threat were confirmed by a senior U.S. official, who was not authorized to speak on the record. A White House spokesperson, Tommy Vietor, declined comment.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Haqqani, in a message on social networking website denied that any US official has conveyed any personal threats to him or spoken of extreme measures.
At this early juncture it would seem that the Americans have got deadly serious with Pakistan and quite rightly so. The fact remains there are international protections for diplomatic envoys and personnel. Pakistan in apprehending and incarcerating Raymond Davis have breached established rules of diplomacy and have stirred up a hornets nest in doing so.
The BPCA is concerned about the nature of protectionism that is afforded to diplomats, but understand that these international conventions exist and that countries that agree to them, in general adhere to them.
I remember only recently that a Pakistani Diplomat (a former General) who was arrested for soliciting for sex here in the UK. He was arrested after officers "caught him with his pants down". However he had to be released when he showed documents confirming his diplomatic immunity:

We could argue that 2 murders are a worse crime then the misguided sexual perversions of a Diplomat. However, full details of the incident are not forthcoming and the fact remains that the diplomatic immunity exists.

Pakistan would be best placed to send the Ambassador home and than appeal to the US for an in investigation into the incident (providing supporting evidence) and potential extradition of Mr Davis to Pakistan for trial, if he is found to be potentially guilty and stripped of his immunity.

The BPCA agrees with Pakistan that diplomatic immunity is an anachronistic policy that creates the potential for political angst and international incident.

Imran Masih (RIP) Killed for taking a day of work...

Imran Masih the victim of the increasing violence in Pakistan, was hanged after being beaten by his employer and handed over to his parents as a suicide victim.

Tomorrow Sunrise Radio will be covering the story on their news programme for 06:00 - 12:00

This recent violence illustrates the lack of worth that the lives of people of minorities are afforded with. Never before has such a trivial matter led to the death of a Pakistani Christian.

This diabolical act has confirmed that the status of Pakistani Christians is second class!

Thursday 10 February 2011

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani shows no mercy for Asia Bibi

Primeminister Yousaf Raza Gillani has discarded the report calling for a pardon for Asia Bibi and repeal of the Pakistan Blasphemy Law from a senior Government Official.

It was reported in the Jaang Newspaper in Pakistan (Urdu) yesterday that on Tuesday The Primeminister rejected calls for freedom for Asia Bibi and abrogation of the Blasphemy Law detailed in a report from Shabhaz Bhatti the Federal Minister for Minorities. This was in response to a request for the Minorites Minister's proposal be denied, by Babar Awan the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (LJPA). It is also reported that the Minister of (LJPA) was very pleased with the decision. The decison has been cascaded to other Cabinet Members who have all ratified the scrapping of the proposals.

LJPA minister Babar Awan confirmed to the Jaang that the Blasphemy Law will be terminated and that the Proposal for Minister Shabhaz Bhatti has been rejected.

An Application from the Home Minister also recommended for Asia Bibi to be set free and has similarly received a rejection.

This is a real blow for the Human Rights movement of Pakistan and could result in the termination of life for Asia Bibi, the unfortunate mother of 5 caught up in the unjust Blasphemy Law of Pakistan.

A link to the story in the Urdu version of Jaang Newspapere is shown below:

The BPCA condems this decision which is a reverse of the earlier committment by Governor Taseer and President Zardari - who promised a pardon until a subjudice disqualification was highlighted by the Lahore High Court. Moreover, If the High Court now decides to terminate the life of Asia Bibi, the insurance card many of us expected - via a post-court presidential pardon, now looks exceedingly unlikely.

Pakistan is in need of strong political leaders committed to making the right decisions, or we will see a continuance of sectarian violence and religious community friction, highlighted in recent times.

We will keep you informed of the ensuing case of Asia Bibi.

A Christian man is killed for taking a sick day off work!

We have received a report from Pakistan of the death of a young Christian man killed by his Muslim employer.

Information is still thin on the ground, however the youth has been named as Imran Masih who lived in Nut Kallan in Punjab. Imran worked as a driver for close to two years on behalf of a Mohammed Masood, who is said to be a wealthy landowner in the district of Gujaranwala.

APMA a charity based in Pakistan state that on the 5th February 2010, Imran was absent from work due to an illness. The next day he was purportedly beaten and tortured to death. Hi father was contacted later by Masood and a number of accomplices involved in the incident. They handed over Imran's body and told the father Lal Masih that he had committed suicide.

The distraught father noticing the scars from the torture and beating reported the death to the local police station. It is said by APMA that the local Police had been contacted by influential businessman Masood and as a consequence connived with him, to dissuade the father from registering the case.,

APMA subsequently organised a public protest in Gujranwala and completely blocked the streets. They made an appeal to the local authorities to intervene in the matter, which resulted in an official record of formal murder charges and damages being placed against Mohammad Masood and two of his accomplices.

The local Christian community buried Imran Masih on 8 February 2011 in his village of Nut Kallan.

The BPCA condemn this attack and call for better safety for the minority communities in Pakistan. We call for more pay for Police Officer's that should reciprocally reduce the proclivity for accepting bribery. We also call for thorough Police service auditing and investigation of abuse with immediate suspension and termination of contract where approriate. It is essential that Local Police services work for the betterment of the community with integrity and honesty, irrespective of a victims faith or other diversity.

The case is still in progress and we will keep you informed of progress as we obtain it.

Another link to the story can be found here:

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Pervez Musharraf - is he what our community needs?

Around 400 people crammed into the small venue in Walthamstow
Pervez Musharraf looked very dapper and held a commanding presence.

The event was poorly managed but those in attendance seemed overtly focused on unity in Pakistan.

On Sunday 6th February Pervez Musharraf spoke at a political conference for his new "All Pakistan Muslim League" party. It was apparent that he has strong Pakistani Christian support as I discovered on arrival, that Kashan Bennett is now Minorities Wing Coordinator for the group, that Tehskeen from Gateway TV is also a supporter and Gerald Sunny is also part of Musharraf's new team.

It is necessary for Pakistani Christians to align themselves with Political bodies both here and in Pakistan, as it will eventually empower our community. However, suffice to say I was not convinced of any real gain by our Christian family at the meeting held on Sunday.

Whilst queuing outside the venue Atiq, Juliet and I were greeted by the vitriolic and malevolent caterwauling of the 30 or so extremists protesters, on the opposite side of the street. Their rallying cry was one of anger against a man who they felt had betrayed Islam. I felt obliged to ask one of the number why they felt this was so? I soon thought better of it when I noticed the intense anger and hatred emanating from the glowering eyes directed towards conference visitors.

The queue for the event had a simplistic structure in that the usual south Asian free for all was encouraged, much due to the lack of any supervision from the organisers. In the mad rush that followed, men were squeezing themselves against women and Juliet felt obliged to leave the queue. In a fit of rage, I called for women and children to be prioritised for entry. Some men moved out of the way other rather less salubrious individuals continued to push their way into the hall. Atiq spoke to the security staff who eventually made a decision to allow the women and children through first, denying access to the men until this process was complete.

Once the women had entered, The press and surge for entry reduced this after I relayed to the crowd that security had confirmed space was available and no-one would be turned away. Obviously I had to relay this using my loud voice to penetrate deep into the conscious of the men consumed with a passion to meet their beloved Quaid (a term frequently used by Gerald Sunny and other speakers about the munificent and beneficent Musharraf).

An encouraging aspect of the programme was the fact that Gerald Sunny was allowed to speak at the event. Gerald is a well know Christian brother, however his highly politicised speech that rattled on about the high moral status and impeccable standing of Mr Musharraf, did not ring true with me. Gerald was joined by a cacophony of other sycophants that equally pledged allegiance to a man of who they proclaimed had an unblemished record (despite the fact that he was a military dictator who had usurped authority under a military coup?).

The event started at 14:00 and by 16:43 Musharraf finally arrived. Call me sceptical, but recognising the implications of Asian timing I arrived with Atiq and Juliet sometime around 15:00. The mass of speakers that spoke on the stage had nothing of particular interest, or remotely stimulating, to say.... Tired of the praise and platitudes heaped on General Musharraf we all left at around 17:00 before the great man could speak himself, unable to cope with the reverberating similar extolling of other men seeking position - you can only say so many good things about one man. This turned out to be a very timely departure as we have since heard, that a shoe was thrown at Musharraf. This does not surprise me, as I was standing next to the group of men that were discussing the dastardly act and was shocked at the reticence shown, when informing security. I am glad we did not get involved in the chaos that ensues after incidents such as these, as my wife is of a weaker disposition.

The event was one that was disorganised and chaotic. The speakers droned on about the potential for progressive change in Pakistan - that only Musharraf was strong enough to complete. Yet we are aware of his promise to reform the Blasphemy Law that came to nothing?
The fact of the matter is that despite the talk from Gerald Sunny on the raised platform - no Christian, not even the Minority Wing Coordinator Kashan Bennett was on stage when Musharraf arrived. How can such an important role in the current political climate of Pakistan be ignored, by a party, with an honest focus on cultural and political reform? Moreover, why was the event filled with Islamic religious song (Naat) and poems?
If this is a party for all people then why does it incorporate Muslim in it's title? In Britain people of all diversities enjoy religious and political freedoms, parties with a religious persuasion gain little support and much of this is due to a common sense of fairness and equality. Imagine a Labour Party conference with a worship service before the event began...

I am not convinced by the APML propaganda, I am actually concerned about the listed overtures that fly in the face of what this party proclaims it will be for those in Pakistan.
The BPCA is challenging for the removal of the words "Islamic Republic of" from the Constitution of Pakistan, we are calling for Pakistan to have no state religion and for people of all faiths to have equal constitutional status, eventually permitting them to stand for President of the country. This is why we find it hard to swallow, when a new political party formed by a former President aware of the inequalities in Pakistan, chooses to place Muslim in the title of his group....?
I am concerned that our Christian brethren joining political parties do not speak openly about the need for party political reform. Why not oppose the faith terminologies in party names, why not encourage the removal of the platitudes and praise that dominate these meetings and just focus on the political matters? Why not have speakers talking about the manifesto of the party, the economic programmes that would be introduced by APML, any educational reform pledges or other topics that really matter?
Political parties should not base their propaganda on an individual but on strong party pledges. Imagine if at a Conservative Party conference 40 different speakers eulogised David Cameron, before he gave a 15 minute address on what he believed he would do for the country? There would be uproar politics has a very different shape in the UK - perhaps some of the old school politicians in Pakistan should attend our leading political party conferences for a more reasoned approach to holding one of their own?

The BPCA is not supportive of any political party in Pakistan, nor do any of our membership hold any allegiance to such groups. However, we will endeavour to speak to leaders from all the parties in Pakistan to promote a fairer society and to obtain a comparative list of what each party is offering our communities in Pakistan. We have asked Tehskeen and Kashan to arrange a meeting with Former President Musharraf and will inform you of progress. I find it only fair and proper to describe some of the positive outcomes of Sunday's event:

Firstly, whilst outside in the ensuing melee of the crowd crush and the extremist faction shouting vitriolic curses on Musharraf, it was a pleasant to hear members of the majority Muslim's, gaining entry in the hall, responding by shouting "Pakistan Zindabad" (Long Live Pakistan). The inference here was one of unity with all people and a strong sense of opposition to extremist views.

Secondly, when Gerald spoke Muslim people spoke openly about the need to work with minorities and the need for a fairer society. They encouraged Gerald and that was heart warming.

Finally, 4 new Christian members if you include Arish Javaid Chowdhry in the list of Christian sympathisers with APML, means that a voice exists. If they would just be strong enough to speak of the change we need to see for justice, equality and peace to prevail, then maybe this party might alter some of the less suitable directions it has taken.
I cannot comment on the speech from Musharraf as we had already left. However, despite some of the errors in forming this party (a religious title and the logistical and practical organisation of the event), he has in history proven to be a man focused on equality and progression.

On a leaving note you will notice in the close up pictures the white suited man on the stage. This gentleman is obviously involved as a close protection officer (always alert and observing), yet if he had provided suitable advice he would have ensured that a number of plain clothed observers of Asian origin where in communication with him. If he had, who knows, he might have been able to deter the shoe attack.
As a security consultant I was shocked at the awful performance of the Security team with out the appropriate licensing, uniforms, competency or general manner for the role that they were undertaking. The crowd crush - that could have simply been resolved with 8 crowd control barriers - might have caused a major incident. Hopefully the organisers will have learnt something from this experience.

Friday 4 February 2011

King George Hospital Protest and Anti NHS Cuts protest organised by the BPCA in Collaboration with the British Sikh Council - January 29th 2011

A protest with a difference whilst some were marching others were providing free hot food and drink in the town centre, whilst collecting signatures for our petition.
100's of people joined the rally in Ilford Town Centre.

At the end of the Rally Wilson Chowdhry (British Pakistani Christian

Association/Green Party) and Upkar Rai (British Sikh Council) event organisers for the protest shared a moment of thanks with all the volunteers.

Upkar Rai from the British Sikh Council speaking against health cuts that could create substantially negative impact to local health.

Pastor John Figueras form Potters House Christian Fellowship Romford spoke of the impact it would cause in his borough. He spoke of the Christian Principle of caring for the sick and vulnerable.
MEP Jean Lambert spoke eloquently on the need for local hospital facilities and the potential harm caused by any loss of services.

Local leaders and National Campaigners in solidarity clamoured against the dire proposals.

Small to start with but the protest grew.
Darren Johnson London Assembly Member (centre) spoke of the need for local services and the appeal he will make to Boris Johnson to be more involved in the campaign for retention.

Ghazanfar Ali from the Albert Road Mosque joined the throng of campaigners and spoke of the need for local services for the burgeoning local community.

Numbers grew and 105 People were counted by the Police at the beginning of the protest.

I could not resist a photograph with Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson, the first LA Member to openly support our cause.

Our protest on the 29th January was a great success close to 4000 signatures were obtained on our petition.
110 people were counted by the Police starting the march and a second count indicated 350 people were at the main stage area in the town centre to the end of the protest.
Free food and drink were provided and one of the most illustrious speakers list of any UK protest, completed a very successful first campaign for 2011.
Speakers included:

MEP Jean Lambert (Green Party)
London Assembly Member Darren Johnson (Green Party)
MP Lee Scott (Conservative - Ilford North)
Cllr Keith Prince (Conservative - Leader of Redbridge Council)
Cllr Ross Hatful (Labour - Health Scrutiny Panel)
Cllr John Benham (Conservative - Empowering Communities Havering)
Cllr Samir Jassel (Conservative - Gravesend)
Former Cllr Ralph Scott - Liberal Party
Consultant Dr Anna Athow ( British Medical Association)
Len Hockey - Unison Joint Branch Secretary Whipps Cross
Shirley Franklin - Chairman Defend Whittington Hospital Campaign
Barry Cross - Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield KTNHSP
Jim Page - Keep the NHS Public Waltham Forest
Frank Wood - UNITE NEC Trade union Office
Norman Traub - Southend Against The Cuts
Brian Davison - Borough Dean United Free Churches
Pastor john Figueras - Potters House Christian Fellowship Romford
Shahid Dastigir Khan - Pakistan tehreek-e- insaaf
Ghazanfar Ali -Chairman Ilford Islamic Centre
Raj Chahan - VHP Ilford Hindu Centre
Upkar Rai - Secretary British Sikh Council/Vice President Seven King Gurdwara
Wilson Chowdhry -British Pakistani Christian Association/Chadwell Green Party

The campaign is not over and we ask people to join the Redbridge Protest scheduled from Havering to Ilford in April. Look at the Redbridge Borough Council website for more details.

Here is what the papers said click (here)

Wednesday 2 February 2011

What Now for Egypt?

I received this email discussion on Egypt from Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group reproduced in verbatim:

"The dramatic events in Egypt over the last week have taken the world by surprise even more than the dramatic departure of Ben Ali from Tunisia. For decades America and other western countries backed autocrats such as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in the vain hope that they would stave off a more radical Islamic government, conveniently ignoring that even such “secularists” run administrations where discrimination against religious and even ethnic minorities is rife. In Egypt 2011 was heralded in with bombings of a packed church in Alexandria, just one of a series of an increasingly intolerant environment of those deemed to be somehow “different” from the Muslim majority. But even on more subtle levels Egyptians who gave not adhered to the majority faith by virtue of being Christians, Bahais or freethinkers have suffered official wrath. The petty interference which inhibits repairs to churches, the barriers to changing faith or having none according to one’s private conscience via the mechanism of identity cards marking religion, and mainstream television drama which depicts a conspiracy by Jews to dominate the world as fact hardly demonstrate a modern forward looking state and society. Add to that the high state of illiteracy, rampant unemployment, a yawning gap between rich and poor, constant sexual harassment, the sickening uninhibited racial abuse of Egyptians of clear African descent who are abused with names like “black monkey” and abeed (slave), lack of clear and sustainable economic development, incomes unable to keep up with inflationary pressure on food and basic consumer goods and you have a veritable powder keg.

Throughout news reports various commentators have said that without Mubarak the Muslim Brotherhood is poised to take power. This ignores that Egypt has actually undergone successive Islamisation since the military took power in 1952, even under the secularists General Nasser, while Sadat used political Islam in order to neutralise democratic pressure to reform from secularists, liberals and the Left. The bogey of political Islam and the fear of another “Iran” has not only been used to bolster Mubarak but also ignores the strong tradition of liberalism and secularism which existed in Egypt until 1952 and of which vestiges remain, working quietly in the shadows in order to stave off the unhealthy attention of both radical Islam and the authoritarian Mubarak regime. While it is always tempting to idealise a golden age that never existed, nevertheless the period of monarchy before 1952 did provide a more healthy and open society, where ideas were discussed freely and democratic mechanisms were accorded greater respect. If western democracies are truly desirous of helping the people of Egypt strengthening those liberal forces which could harness energies in building greater economic, social and political justice. That would certainly be of greater effect than sending millions in aid to be squandered on a military regime in the manner of a mafia style protection racket."