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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Kamran Michael dropped and then reinstated as Finance Minister of Punjab Province after international pressure!

Kamran Michael a Christian member of the Punjab Assembly holding the role of  Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities has been at the centre of a political intrigue in this week.

The daily tribune 8th June reported on a decision to remove an additional charge of Finance, Planning and Development from the remit of Kamran Michael, as the party legislators for Nawaz Sharif's PML-N, to whom Mr Michael belongs feared the potential loss of conservative Muslim votes.

Mr Michael was positioned into the role during March this year. The Tribune reported in a story published today, how reflecting on criticism within the party over Mr Michael's Christian faith, Nawaz Sharif removed the additional charge of Finance, Planning and Development from him and assigned Excise and Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman.

It has been reported that the contention that other party members had was based on a real distaste for the reading of the budget of the Punjab Assembly, by a man on Non-Muslim faith.

This whole episode illustrates the low worth of Christians in Pakistan that Christian and other minority politicians can be removed from post simply for their faith, is a diabolical indictment on Pakistani political regimes.

Kamran Michael doe not seem to have made a public statement on the matter and I don't blame him.  Caught in a similar position, I am sure any riposte made would be vitriolic and counter-productive.  What has been important is the wider internal support and international support that has ensued, this has resulted in a positive counter-ruling by Nawaz Sharif.  

It beggars belief that Nawaz Sharif could make such a openly Christianophobic decision, based on the mutterings of his xenophobic comrades.  But it did happen!

Before we all start celebrating the just reinstatement of Kamran Michael, perhaps we should reflect more on just how much work is before international humanitarian people.  A leader of one of the two leading parties in Pakistan's political sphere, removed a Christian elected member of his party, from a senior post, simply for adhering to the Christian Faith.  This is a real travesty of justice, an abuse of power and a deplorable act of supine political protectionism. 

The deeper ramifications of this controversial and condemnable act are in particular the illustrated contempt that many Conservative Muslim's, have towards Christian Political leaders and reciprocally Christian people.  That this particular vote block are significantly large to exert such influence on political parties suggests that societal reform is still a distant goal.  

Nawaz Sharif has shown a contempt for the personal value of Christians and people of other minorities faiths. He may not have expressed this lowest denominator belief in words but sometimes actions speak louder.  A formal apology has not been given, yet we see British and American political leaders apologising for the slave trade and other colonial and xenophobic acts of history that they did not subscribe to in their time.  It is often said, within conflict management courses, that it is impossible to change our long term prejudices, discriminatory positions and stereotypes.  They can change but it takes either an epiphany or persistent influence to new concepts or behavioural norms.  

It takes strong politicians to admit when they are wrong and if Nawaz Sharif is to regain any credibility, he will have to swallow the bitter pill of shame and offer some most profuse ones to Kamran Michael.  

In the meanwhile we are calling for people to pray for unity in Pakistan, one which is inclusive to people of all faiths. A sense of unity in which people of all backgrounds are concerned for the needs of others.

1 comment:

  1. If christian need to do something unite and organized your self and pray forget the congrigatins and missions focus on unity