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Monday 29 August 2011

Christian family enslaved for 30 years!

An entire Christian family of over 25 people has been enslaved by a Muslim landowner and forced to work on his farm. It happened when 30 years ago the father of the family signed a loan to pay for his daughters wedding, but interest rates reached 500%, meaning the family could not pay it off, so they were forced into a private segregated jail and made to work for the wealthy Muslim landowner. They have only been freed after the intervention of the Roman Catholic church and a court order.
For more on the case, the source is here
The article also recounts yet another tale of a Christian girl kidnapped and raped, forced into marriage to a Muslim man, who escaped her domestic prison after 2 years.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Is South Sudan the Key to Christian Survival in the Middle East?

The independence of South Sudan on 24 July 2011 was a momentous event. After decades of fighting domination by the Arabic speaking and increasingly radically Islamic north, the largely Christian, animist and Black African south achieved liberation. While it would be naïve to assume all is well in the new state, especially since the former rebel movement has not given up human rights abuses as it attempts to become a responsible government, there are some hopeful signs as the state rebuilds a much damaged infrastructure and traumatised population.

The independence of this republic comes at a time when momentous changes have occurred in the Arab world, of which the formerly united Sudan was an active element. Sadly as with nearly all revolutions hope has turned to despair and dreams into nightmares. The crushing of civil society and democratic aspirations for decades by corrupt leaders has allowed well organised Salafist groups to fill the vacuum, holding out the promises of a new dawn to a population weary of unemployment, runaway inflation, poverty, corruption and the lack of hope that is all part of a crumbling vampire state. The signs were there before the Arab Spring. In Iraq the overthrow of Saddam has led to tensions between not just Shias and Sunnis, Kurds and Arabs, but the little known plans to exterminate the Christian minority in that country. The Assyrians have in particular been the unmentioned target of Kurdish separatists. While Christians and Muslims joined hands in Tahrir Square during the revolution in Egypt, and for the first time church bells rang openly, now the indigenous and minority Coptic community in that country is under siege; only escaping the worst of the heat when Israel becomes the target of rage, nurtured for years by official state anti-Semitism since Nasser. In Tunisia, Libya, Iraq and other countries of the region the Jewish minority has either been cleansed or dwindled into negligible numbers in the burning atmosphere which surrounded the creation of Israel. But as the Salafists always said, after the “Saturday people” would come the “Sunday people”. Notwithstanding the contribution of Arab Christians to modern nationalism in the region (e.g. Michel Aflaq who founded the Ba’ath Party), this minority has been squeezed out of public life. In Lebanon, a formerly Christian majority country and the most vibrant state in the region, civil war dislocated democracy and civil society creating a hotbed for terrorism.

As the Arab Spring turns into the inevitable Arab Ice Age where can minority Christians turn? Europe has long washed its hands of its Christian past. Its obsession with being secular go hand in hand with rampant xenophobia and racism which would hardly welcome the millions of persecuted Christians of the Middle East, despite already vibrant diaspora communities of Copts, Assyrians and Lebanese Christians in the west. In this South Sudan may provide a partial sanctuary, as a largely Christian country which has successfully fought the ravages of radical Islam and intolerant strains of Arab nationalism. It would also benefit from the skills and knowledge brought to it by communities who not only value it but also used to help their host countries long before dictators such as Nasser surrounded themselves with sycophants and yes-men which stifled free thought, creativity and dynamism. South Sudan can then rebuild the vibrant societies which once existed in the region, where minorities had a respected role and where liberal values seemed to provide hope for a better future. That would also send a beacon of hope for the little known persecuted liberals who have been crushed by the vice like grip of Ba’athism, Nasserism, Salafism and other such ideologies which are the antithesis of liberty.

Sohail Nathaniel Another man Killed in Lawless Karachi

Sohail Natahaniel (RIP)

Today the BPCA received a report of another killing of an Innocent Christian in Pakistan from a purported niece.  This is the first we have heard of this story and we are seeking clarification.  However, We have reproduced th image and the original text from the email so that others may contribute more to the story.  If this incident is verified as true the BPCA will be producing a petition calling for the Government of Pakistan to take care of the persecuted minorities of Karachi as a senior priority.  The content of the email are as follows - we have deleted the name of the sender whose details have been provided (Sic):

         this is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX from Gujranwala Pakistan. i want to tell you that my uncle sohail Nathaniel was also killed in Karachi as target killing, he was a true christian as he embarrassed that he is christian  while the 30 Pathans of ANP came to his house to kill him. now, i want you to please post his profile that people should know that who was he and how he had died. i will tell you the further information whatever you need i am also sending you his profile.
                                      thanks your in Christ

Decapitation in Libya

Symbolic of the overthrow of Gaddafi’s regime in Libya this week was the iconic photo showing the colonel’s head, cut off from the rest of the statue, with shoes placed on it as a sign of maximum disrespect. When the Arab revolutions began with long-time despots ousted in Tunisia and Egypt, and with continuing disturbances in Yemen and Syria, Colonel Gaddafi appeared to be one of the most entrenched. But as well as his surprising political demise more shocking revelations have come to the fore. That mass graves have been discovered may not come as much of a shock for such is the nature of brutal despots. Perhaps most jaw-dropping was the lavish palatial surroundings in which Gaddafi lived, exploding the myth that he had the frugal lifestyle of a desert nomad and resided in a tent. Instead the luxury in which he wallowed far outweighed anything enjoyed by Idris, the monarch whom he overthrew in 1969. This was of course done in the name of “the people” as all coups and revolutions tend to be to validate their unlawful enterprise. But as will all such high minded propaganda and emotive rhetoric this degenerated into a brutal dictatorship with intolerance of divergent opinion, meaningful policies and demographic diversity all glued together by virulent anti-Semitism, much as it had in neighbouring Egypt ruled by Gaddafi’s youthful hero Nasser. Unlike his mentor however Gaddafi had the benefit of vast oil revenues on which to mask over his totalitarian regime and engage in maverick contradictory policies. Hailed by the Left as a spokesman for the Third World, Libya funded the ANC fight against apartheid in South Africa, and was one of the leading lights in African unity. Yet Gaddafi also backed rebels in Chad and African migrants to Libya sometimes found themselves at the brunt of horrific racism including violence. He managed to simultaneously fund the IRA in Britain and also the neo-Nazi style National Front.

Will the new revolution in Libya meet the same fate that infected Gaddafi’s promises back in 1969? While it is unclear for now the signs are not hopeful. Civil society has been effectively destroyed. The infrastructure is crumbling. Tribal frictions as much as years of pent up frustration are bursting forth like trapped magma. Democratic institutions and pluralism take generations to build up. The present vacuum does not auger well for Libya, especially if the signs of hope are also being extinguished as the Arab Spring turns into the Long March into yet another cold dark Arab Ice Age. Into this creep the well organised and determined Salafists something which unfortunately we must now be prepared for.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Kidnap and forced conversion reaches 1 a day!

From Watson Gill, in Holland, we have news of another kidnap at gunpoint from the street in broad daylight of a Christian girl. The report names the victim as Mehak Masih, 14 years old, and the chief perpetrator is Tayeb Butt, who lead four friends in the attack.
The report mentions that not a single one of the increasing number of murders of Christians have been resolved, and that abducting and selling Christian girls is like a legal business for the perpetrators. Over the last month the rate of kidnap and forced conversions of Christian girls has reached one a day! It happens especially in Punjab due to the influence of the Taliban and other wicked groups, and the government - as ever - does precisely nothing!

Fraudulent ISI agent rapist - update

We earlier posted an article (please read the link) about the earlier case of a Christian woman kidnapped and raped by a man posing as an ISI officer.
We have just received word from someone who has been in contact with the Pakistani Security services about his list of crimes. We were told :
'The man is involved in over 22 cases of forgery, extortion, rape, frauds and deals in Faisalabad, Sargodha and Lahore'

Update on Ashfaq and Eric Sarwar

Ashfaq after surgery

We have received news that Ashfaq successfully underwent surgery for his facial and jaw injuries sustained in the attack by Muslim militants that left him at deaths door. As is typical, the police (after beating him up) are refusing to file a FIR, even though there was information as to who was involved. The family are traumatised. The attack was meant to kill, and came very close to doing so.
In addition the family are receiving specific death threats, saying they are targeted for killing, that they will have their throats slit and their bodies left in bags in the Karachi streets.
PLEASE PRAY for the protection of the entire family at this time.

Wider social issues in Pakistan

Pakistani Hindu women

We have repeatedly reported on the kidnap and rape of Christian women, and violence against Christians generally. These are almost always religiously motivated. However, we will do well to remember that wider social situation in Pakistan. I include links to a number of articles that talk about very concerning issues in Pakistan.

A number of situations we have reported on are in the port city of Karachi (of which a little more in a later article). It has long been a city of ethnic strife, and 'political' shootings are common, and often the dead are totally apolitical innocent victims in the crossfire, as the following article tells : In July alone, 232 were killed in this manner, and people live in a state of fear. Political parties are using protection money rackets, 'spot checks' on civilians to determine areas and deduce their politics, leading to kidnap, torture and death. Ambulance drivers are paid to carry 'dead bodies' and kalashnikovs, grenades and rocket launchers to the various factions. The dead bodies get up and walk with the weapons when they reach the destination. And then the ambulances are fired upon (surprise) killing the (genuine) injured within them.

Another report makes chilling reading - about homo and heterosexual abuse (and murder) and pimping of street children in Pakistan, largely by the police. We have reported in the past Christian boys (not on the street) who were kidnapped, raped and murdered by police officers. This was not an abberration. Many children run away from home due to beatings, an estimated 170,000 children live on the streets. Up to 90% are abused on the first night of being on the streets, and 60% have been abused by the police. For more, see

Another article (I don't agree with all the attitudes of the writer, but the facts and experiences are revealing) reveals that 80% of Pakistani women suffer domestic abuse, and that Pakistan is ranks the 3rd worst country in the world to be a woman. Rape is common, and the victims are blamed, rather than the perpetrators.

Another reason why it is so bad is Female Genital Mutilation, usually associated with Africa, but what most people don't know is that it is practised in Pakistan too, among certain groups, and it is increasing. This is also being forced increasingly on British pakistani girls. They go off on holiday, unknowing, and come back mutilated and maimed for life. The following link contains details, but it is very disturbing

In addition, Christians are, of course, not the only minority who is suffering. One aspect of Hindu women's plight is that the state does not have, and seems to be refusing to have, official means of recognising Hindu weddings. Thus a maltreated Hindu wife has no recourse in court, because she has no acceptable proof of marriage.

Friday 26 August 2011

ISI's fear mongering tactics

Lt Gen Ahmed Pasha, chief of ISI
(Photo from AP)

Someone has passed on to us an article from the New York Times about the activities of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, around the world, keeping 'tabs' (read 'intimidating') Pakistani people in the 'Diaspora' around the world, particularly journalists and human rights activists. They tend to appear at any meeting where Pakistan and it's military and similar activities especially re human rights, Balochistan etc are on the agenda for discussion. Sometimes they simply appear and identify themselves to their victims ISI. The article is, naturally, focusing on the US, where an ISI agent (quietly removed from the States) even masqueraded as an FBI agent to get information from targets. Journalists report that Pakistani officials, sometimes openly saying they are ISI, caution them about speaking on sensitive subjects, often with veiled threats about the well-being of family members back home in Pakistan.
Wilson of the BPCA has first hand experience of these kind of tactics. Wilson's wife was questioned for 2 days in Pakistan about his activities by the ISI at her parents house. In addition, ISI agents along with a local Mullah repeatedly visited and 'interviewed' his in-laws in the lead up to last month's march where it was made quite clear his activities are being monitored. In addition, he was told by someone at the embassy that the ISI were watching the demonstrations.
He also has his suspicions about a gentleman who visited him claiming to be a Pakistani Christian based in America writing his thesis about the BPCA, but also asked questions about his business. However, a friend questioned him later, and found he had practically no knowledge of the Christian faith, and this man apparently also told another member of the Pakistani Christian community that he was not a Christian.
The plot thickens, as they say.....

BREAKING NEWS - Shahbaz Taseer Kidnapped from Lahore

We have just seen news that the son of Governor Taseer, assassinated over his opposition to the blasphemy laws, has been kidnapped by Islamic militants in Lahore.

PLEASE PRAY FOR HIS SAFE RELEASE, and for a speedy capture and punishment for the perpetrators, both direct and indirect. Also for the family, for comfort and peace.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Bhatti investigation - update

Last week we posted an article about the investigation into Shabhaz Bhatti's assassination / martyrdom, detailing some of the bizarre twists and turns the investigation took, including the claim from an anonymous 'source' that the killers were family members with a personal grudge and had fled to Dubai.

Now a top police official in Islamabad, Bani Amin Khan, told a Senate panel that they have clear evidence that it was perpetrated by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as initially indicated by the TTP pamphlets left at the scene. He stated that the police had identified two perpetrators, and it was these who had fled to Dubai.

As we said before, it seems likely that someone (and most likely some people) are trying to 'spin' the facts to try and implicate Bhatti's family, muddy the water and divert attention away from the real culprits. It is good to hear that the official line is rather different, but the 'blame the Christians' line does show something of the ideological forces at work around the investigation, and we can only presume that these same forces are working to prevent justice being done, and a full investigation of all who were complicit in the attack. We pray wisdom, courage and insight for those investigating, along with integrity to hold out for truth, and not settling for convenient 'lines to take' according to threats, coercion, and political and ideological considerations.

And now for something different

If you feel that the battle against discrimination in Pakistan is an uphill or an unwinnable battle, here is an old worship song and an old story with a young twist to lift your hearts. With God all things are possible! And his delight is to do the impossible so all the world and the spiritual realms can see his wisdom and glory and know that only God can have done this. Watch this link, and enjoy

Good news.... sort of

A few months ago we reported on the case of a Christian woman who was kidnapped and raped for 4 days by a man who claimed to be a Major in the ISI.
A retired Brigadier General in the Pakistani armed forces has posted in a human rights group on facebook the following :
'I got this news through the PMRO [the human rights group on FB] and took up the case. I took up the case on 30th April 2011. I have just been informed that the impersonator has since been caught and is in intelligence custody. He is guilty of many other crimes. Praise be to You Oh Lord'

It is good that the perpetrator was arrested, which is very unusual when the victims are Christian. It begs the question as to why the arrest now. Obviously the Brigadier-General's intervention had a role to play, but I suspected that the fact that he had impersonated an ISI officer was significant.
One of the BPCA members had the opportunity to talk to Samson Sharaf, the brigadier-general in question, and he confirmed that the arrest was made because the man falsely claimed to be ISI and brought the ISI into disrepute. The man potentially faces the death penalty if someone presses charges over the rape, but it is unclear if that will happen or not.

For more details of the case as it originally arose, please see this link (bearing in mind it is from well before the man's arrest)

Asia Bibi's family and the Islamicist Vice

We call for renewed prayer for Asia Bibi and her family. Even while still unjustly kept in prison under a death sentence based simply on prejudice (Muslim colleagues in the fields reported her after she dared to touch and drink from the same water bowl as them and the ensuing confrontation) and malice, the death threats continue. A Muslim leader has offered a 4 figure (dollars) reward for her death, and in prison she eats only the food her husband can bring, to try and eliminate the threat of poisoning. Thousands of Muslim fundamentalists are holding the government to ransom, trying to get the death penalty carried out, and opposing the just international efforts to reverse this unlawful and wicked perversion of justice.
In addition, the fundamentalists are issuing death threats against her husband and daughters (including a disabled girl) and against her wider family. They are especially threatening to kill anyone who tries to get in contact with the family, reports the local church minister, Kamran Michael. Evidently the idea is to exert psychological pressure and a sense of isolation on the family. Even if messages can't get through, our prayers can.

Thanks to the Christians in Pakistan website for alerting us to this issue

Young Christian experience of discrimination in Pakistan

Yesterday an article was posted online on a new site It provides a small window onto the daily discrimination and harrassment that Christians receive in the realm of education, and also work, and something of the pressure and mental distress this causes.
The article, entitled 'Why is this discrimination' starts by quoting several verses from the bible about loving your neighbour as yourself, loving the foreigner in the midst, and several sura's from the Quran that talk about not fighting with those who don't fight the Muslims, and harmony between tribes.
Then it talks about the discrimination faced by Christian young people. It notes that in terms of jobs, although they are supposed to be on merit, especially in government, this does not happen. 'Minorities day' instituted because of the work of the martyr Minister Shabhaz Bhatti, is honoured on the day, but not in the laws to end discrimination - not in effective action. To date, it has been mere tokenism. Promotions aren't given to Christians - or at least, if they are, they are the subject of intrigues and conspiracies to 'cut them down to size'. In state schools, the Christians are treated harshly by the teachers, and loose heart - often fleeing school. At college and university they are discriminated against, and not given good grades unless they convert to Islam - leading to depression and lack of application to studies due to hopelessness.
And the discrimination is seen in the job adds in the newspapers. The lowest and dirtiest jobs are always reserved for Christians only.

This facet of discrimination is one reason why BPCA want's funding and donations to set up bursaries to support Christian children and see to it that they are dealt with fairly in the state school system, with agents on the ground to monitor what goes on in the schools.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

High Court petition

We received a prayer request from a lawyer in Lahore. Unfortunately it was too late to post on time, for the hearing, but we put details here, as the decision may not have yet been made.
The lawyer, Nathaniel Gill, had a hearing for his arguments at the Lahore High Court at 9am Monday 22nd August. He is requesting that sections on the contributions of Christians to the nation of Pakistan would be added to history and educational text books, as the many contributions of Christians are not mentioned at all in such works.

Please pray that his arguments would win favour, and that the courts would grant his request, and that the Department of Education would comply and add such material fairly and quickly.

Monday 22 August 2011

More attacks on Karachi Christians

We have received more information about that brutal attack on Ashfaq Munawar in Karachi from a family member, the Rev Eric Sarwar, that we posted about a few days ago. Further information says that not only did the attackers establish if he was a Christian, but if he was the Rev Sarwar's relative before they beat him and left him for dead. Thinking they had killed him, the attackers fired in the air. When the police came to investigate, they also beat the victim before dragging him to a police station and leaving him without medical attention.
Rev Sarwar asks for prayer for all his family, as they are severely traumatized. Also for the victim's surgery on his jaw which should be in the next few days, and money to help fund the medical bills that will arise.
This is the 3rd attack on his family in just over 2 years. In June 2009, he was kidnapped by armed Muslim fundamentalists, but managed to escape. At Easter last year, there was an attack against his parents and wife whilst he was out of the country.
I have known the Eric for some time. He is a faithful minister of Christ, who has worked hard in a number of areas, including building up the church in Karachi, helping with aid for flood victims, and building up children's work and worship abilities in the church across Pakistan. No doubt this is one reason he is such a target, and he and his family urgently need our prayers.
He has also reported that this weekend in Karachi there has been yet another attack on Christians which has not been repeated in the media at all. Here is what he said :

'A funeral bus full of christian mourners (has) been attacked by open gun fire on saturday at Sohrab Goth, while they were coming from Bhuto colony graveyard toward Ayub Goth. Lots of innocent christians have been injured by open fire. No media coverage and no help & support by any government.'
Please make this incident more widely known. I know there are journalists in national media who read these pages. I know there is a lot going on in the world, but the incessant attacks on Christians in Pakistan and the police brutality needs to be more widely known. We are funding this government to the tune of millions of pounds of taxpayers money. The human rights of Christians and other minorities needs to be a condition of the aid we give, otherwise we are supporting these abuses with UK citizen's tax money by default.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Christians beaten in Abbottabad for Watching 'Jesus film'

8 days ago, a group of Christians were attacked and beaten by a Muslim mob. The church in Abbottabad, near Islamabad, was a Full Gospel Assembly church, according to reports. They were watching the film 'Jesus' when the extremists attacked them, beating church workers and smashing up the projector. Police intervened, but (now here's a surprise!) no arrests were made.
It seems that the attack was because a Catholic priest had been arrested earlier because he took a friend to view the nearby compound where Bin Laden was killed (funny that, I don't recall hearing any of the many Muslims who came to the site being arrested!). Because the priest was deemed to have 'transgressed' the extremists felt justified in attacking a completely different Christian group.

Typical. Rather like the totally fictional 'torture of Coptic converts to Islam' provides an excuse for Iraqi terrorists to attack Christians in Iraq. Any excuse and none at all will do.

Sources say that the city of Abbottabad only has about 150 Catholics, and only three in the region of the city were Bin Laden was killed.

'The Way to survive in Pakistan'

We received a request to publish this article in an email from the author, signed off
In His Grace
Riaz Anjum Advocate
Chairman Pakistan Christian Movement

We include this, not necessarily because we agree with everything in it, or even its overall solution, but to give voice to Christians from Pakistan. Here is the text of his article 'Way to survive in Pakistan' (I have edited it a little to improve the English, but I hope I have preserved all the nuances of his meaning faithfully).

It is beyond any doubt that the progress of communities, nations and countries has always been result of collective efforts of its individuals. Only nations, countries and communities whose individual members prefer their national interest over their personal interest can be successful in the social, economic, and political fields. Take, for instance, the example of Israel which does not have much in the way of natural resources but has the best human material. Her individuals are very much passionate about their nation. Israel's influence on the politics and economy of the world is due to her extraordinary human material and the passionate sacrifice of her citizens for their country. The level of passion for Israel is such that a Jew living in USA ,UK or in any part of the world is as committed and true to Israel as a Jew who lives in Israel. This kind of passion makes Israel a power of the world.
We are living in the modern world of 21st century and we all know that it is world of biotechnology, genetics, engineering and space science, but Pakistani Christians are worried for their bread and butter and basic education. Christians have been exploited both by Christian politicians and the Pakistani Establishment. On one hand the Pakistani Establishment kept Christians in deprivation by making discriminatory laws and on other hand Christians Politicians failed to deliver and change the destiny of the Christians of Pakistan.
Blasphemy Laws have damaged Christians psychologically, socially and and economically. Due to the failure of Christian leadership and the attitude of the Pakistani Establishment, Christians are leading a very miserable life in Pakistan. The activities of Christian politicians have always been confined to development work to do with street cleaning and sewerage. Christian young people have not been given jobs in governmental departments. Representation of Christians in civil and military departments isn't even nominal. There is not a single Christian Ambassador, nor Judge of the High or Supreme court, nor chairman of any department of Government - if there is, it's just an exception. It seems that it is the policy of state establishment that they will not give any important seat to Christians in Pakistan. In Pakistan Christians and Muslims are considered two separate nations due to their difference of religion. Christians are very far behind in almost all fields of life compared to Muslims in Pakistan. The cooperation of the international community has not been encouraging towards Pakistani Christians. The International community has been supportive of Christian NGOs and churches but has never been supportive of Christian politicians in Pakistan. We must know that a strong political party and a true, visionary and brave leadership can change the destiny of Christians of Pakistan. The solution of all the problems of Pakistani Christians is to organize a major and strong political party which can defend the rights of the Christians of Pakistan, able to force the government to repeal the Blasphemy laws and can change the destiny of the Christians of Pakistan. Christians of Pakistan and overseas Pakistani Christians must sacrifice for the collective cause - like the people of Israel - and help Christian politicians in defending their rights. The international Community should support Christian political parties and Christian politicians because only a visionary, brave and foresighted leader can do miracles for his nation and can change the destiny of his people. This is not only a ray of hope for Christians of Pakistan but also the way to survive in Pakistan

Canadian Minority Day Event and Petition

We received the following text of a press release issued several days ago from International Christian Voice. It is the report of an event in Canada and the associated filing of a petition over the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

On Minority Day Event, International Christian Voice Files Petition to Repeal Blasphemy Law with Government of Pakistan

Saturday August 13, 2011. Today International Christian Voice (ICV) celebrated “Pakistan Minority Day Pakistan, August 11” at Chandni Garden Banquet Hall in Brampton Ontario. Deputy Counsel General of Pakistan, Toronto Consulate Mr. Imran Ali was the guest of honor. The event was attended by over one hundred Canadians of Pakistani Christian Heritage and faith. A number of Canadian elected officials, representatives of Pakistani political parties in Canada, and Church leaders, community leaders, and representatives of other religious minorities of Pakistan attended and addressed the audience.

The event began with scripture reading by Pastor Bashrat David and prayer by Pastor Samuel Ghori, followed by national anthems of Canada and Pakistan. Serena Samuel and Raheel Masih did an excellent job as the masters of ceremony.

Pervez Masih, President ICV welcomed the honorable guests, and the audience, and provided a brief introduction to ICV, and the significance of “Minority Day Pakistan, August 11.” Mr. Masih explained the role and efforts of Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities Pakistan in getting this day recognized by the government of Pakistan. He was followed by Dr. Rev. Rashid Gill, Mrs. Phoebe Samuel, and Group Captain Retired Rev. James Luke.

These speakers highlighted the valuable contribution of Christians in the creation of Pakistan, its judiciary and civil services, education and health, and defense. Dr. Gill shared with the audience, the role and deciding Christian vote of Christian leaders at the time of decision by West Punjab to join Pakistan. He described in details of the significant role of Chief Justice A R Cornelius and his contributions to the justice system in Pakistan and the sport of Cricket.

Mrs. Samuel a nurse educator, and specialist in Forensic Psychiatry, signified the role of Christians in educating and caring for the Pakistani nation. She expressed her dismay at the alarmingly low literacy rate of Christians in Pakistan. She blamed nationalization of Christian Institution in 1972 by the PPP government for depriving Pakistani Christians of educational opportunities.

Rev. Luke, himself a decorated, retired air force officer, shared the Christians and of the significant contributions in the defense forces of Pakistan, particularly in her air force with the audience. Mr Javed Iqbal and ICV General Secretary Obied Newton paid tribute to Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti and other Pakistani Christians for the services and sacrifices. Audiences enjoyed and appreciated their poetic renditions.

Mr. Asher Habib, a successful Pakistani Christian Businessman in Canada, gave the most emotional speech of the afternoon. Audiences were teary eyes, as he described the treatment of Pakistani Christians at the hands of the majority Muslim population. Mr. Bishan Sigh Chohan, a Pakistani Sikh, and member of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti’s, All Pakistan Minority League, shared his experiences of persecution, and life as a Sikh minority in Pakistan

Hon, Tim Uppal (Minister of State for Democratic Reforms, Kyle Seeback M.P Brampton West, Parm Gill M.P Brampton Springdale, Mr. Frank Domenichiello from the office Hon Julian Fantino State Minister Of Defense, all offered their support for freedom of religion and human rights in Pakistan for the religious minorities. Hon Uppal reiterated Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada’s Conservative Government’s plan to open an office of religious freedom. All these speakers congratulated Mr. Bhatti and ICV for hosting this event and offered their support in its mission.

Peter Bhatti Chairman International Christian Voice (ICV) signified the sacrifices of our forefather in the creation of Pakistan. He narrated Quide Azam’s vision for minorities at the time of creation of Pakistan, and explained in detail the poor treatment and persecution of Christian and other religious minorities in today’s Pakistan.

Mr. Bhatti narrated numerous incidents of violence against the lives and properties of Pakistani Christians. He specifically mentioned, Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law, its unconstitutionality, and misuse against Christians and other religious minorities of Pakistan. In his speech he paid tribute to Late Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab and Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities Pakistan, who was assassinated for speaking against this law. Mr. Bhatti then appealed all Pakistani political parties to request their leaders to stand united against its misuse and repeal.

After Mr. Bhatti’s speech, ICV Finance Secretary Mr Sebastian Gill, introduced Guest of Honor, Deputy Consul General of Pakistan Mr Imran Ali, and invited him to the podium. Before the presentation of the petition, Ms Nitasha Bhatti read to the audience, the text of the petition, to repeal the blasphemy law, which was signed by more than 8000.00 Canadian citizens.

Mr. Bhatti presented this petition in presence of Hon, Tim Uppal (Minister of State for Democratic Reforms, Kyle Seeback M.P Brampton West, Parm Gill M.P Brampton Springdale, Mr. Paul Hong from office of Hon. John Bread Minister Of Foreign affairs, Mr. FrankDomenichiello from the office Hon Julian Fantino State Minister of State for Defense, Ch Liquet Mailk and Danial Ibrham PPP, Imran Siddiqi MQM Canada, and representatives of All Pakistan Muslim League.

From local Church leaders, Pastor Samuel Ghori All Nation Bible Church Brampton, Pastor David Alexander New Convent Church Canada, Pastor Caral Patrick South Asian Christian Alliance Mississauga, Bishop Edwin Raiz New Apostolic Church Canada, Pastor Javed Akther Lutheran Evangelical Church Hamilton, Pastor Wilson Nazim, Rev Dr.Rashid Gill , Elder Kanwal Dean and Brother Younis Joseph, were present during the presentation of petition.

Mr.Imran Ail Deputy Consul General of Pakistan accepted the petition on behalf of the President of Pakistan. Mr. Ali regretted this law and its misuse in Pakistan against the religious minorities. He stressed on the education and development of minorities to overcome persecutions.

Towards the end of the event, Mr. Joe Daniel MP also dropped in to show his support to ICV in their mission to promote freedom of religion and human rights in Pakistan for Christians and other religious minorities. The event ended with a closing prayer by Bro. Richard. Attendees from Muslim faith left the event early due to Ramadan, whereas all others enjoyed fellowship and food into the evening.

For more information on this event or upcoming events, please contact;

Vincent Samuel 905-304-8144, Email:

Dr. Rev. Rashid Gill 416-569-8154,

Friday 19 August 2011

Alfred Arifa - Drugged, kidnapped, allegedly married, raped, beaten and locked away! Sound familiar?

Everyday I receive reports from Pakistan that churn my insides, none more so than the reports of young Christian women who find themselves subject to the horrendous torture of rape and forced Islamic marriage.  

Police insouciance if not reticence to get involved in theses cases, has made such activity a primary habit for men of loose morals or those with a  fundamentalist agenda.  

I could spend all day naming innocent victims like Farah Hatim, Mariam Gill or poor 2 year old Neha - who has devloped long term physical defects and still suffers trauma, as a consequence of the pernicious attack on her at such a young and vulnerable age.

It is very disheartening that despite the efforts of so many humanitarian groups, the situation for minority groups in Pakistan has altered so little.  Many could argue that the intensity and frequency of incidents has worsened in recent years.   Yet this is where we are and we must all continue the campaign for justice!

The recent video of the successful exit of Neha and her family from tyrannical Pakistan to Canada is a story of success that fills my heart with joy.  However, such escapes are few and the majority of sufferers are still in hiding, many of whom obtain little support.  

The latest story is one with so many similar facets, Kidnap, rape forced marriage, torture and ignorant Police are themes that serve to create nausea in any person with a modicum of moral fibre. 

The pain continues....

Please pray for all the young single and married women from minorities in Pakistan.  They are never safe from the widespread depravities that exist in a country that has lost connection with it's original passions, ideologies and beliefs.   Pray for their safety, their strength in adversity and    
for God's watchful eye of protection to remain over them.

Here is Agenzia Fides report on the latest victim:

Another case of a Pakistani Christian girl kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam was reported to Fides by the Pakistani Christians Association in Italy.

Alfred Arifa is a 27-year old Catholic girl, from Nawa Killi, Quetta, who was kidnapped by a Muslim man, Amjad, in May 2009. The man was helped by two accomplices to coordinate the pre-planned kidnapping. We are talking about two of Arifa's trusted friends, Lubna and Rebecca. She went to Rebecca's house where she was given drugs in a cup of tea.

Once she fell unconsciousness, the young woman was taken away by Amjad. When Arifa returned to her senses she found herself in Amjad's house. Amjad told her that she had converted to Islam and had married him, showing her a fake marriage certificate.

Arifa denied that she had converted to islam, much less to have married him, since she was unconsciousness. To overcome the resistance on behalf of the girl, Amjad subjected her to mental and physical torture. Arifa was constantly drugged, severly beaten and locked in the house for two years. Arifa attempted to escape several times.

The night before August 1, Amjad had beaten Arifa severly, causing other internal injuries. On August 1, she found for the first time in two years the front door of the house unlocked. Although seriously injured, she did not fail to take advantage of the opportunity; She escaped from the house. She took a rickshaw and went to the Civil Hospital, where she was given primary treatment. She then went to her brother Adnan.

The woman then filed a complaint against Amjad, but the police has done nothing so far to bring the culprit to justice. On the other hand, the police inspector said he was happy that Arifa had converted to Islam.

Now Arifa and her family are on the run to save their lives since they have received death threats from Amjad. Amjad says that Arifa is a Muslim and his wife. For this reason she cannot run away from home, otherwise she will be killed along with her family. On the other hand Arifa states: "I am a Christian and have always remained steadfast in my Christian faith and continued to pray to Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary in my heart for liberation during these two years of imprisonment".

Images from our 2nd July 2011 protest - provided by Vinnie from Nelson Church.

Ben Buckland led the march playing Amazing Grace

Pastor Robin Gill travelled form Glasgow

Over 50 Pakistani Christians travelled from Nelson Alone despite what the critics say...

David Dean from Nelson Church spoke of the pain and suffering he felt for our family in Pakistan.

Andrea Minichiello Williams from Christian Concern and Bishop Dr Michael Nazir- Ali spoke of the strength of Pakistani Christians who have faced and overcome extreme persecution.

Director of "Aid to the Church in Need" Neville Kyrke-Smith described the agonies suffered by Pakistani Christians.

 Manoj Raithatha (South Asian Concern), Neville Kyrke-Smith (ACNUK), Andrea Minichiello-Williams (Chritian Concern), Wilson Chowdhry and

 Imam Dr Taj Hargey spoke of the need for all communities to work together to bring and end to global tyranny.

London event - praying for Egypt

We have received the following notification :

Egypt Prayer Evenings 2011

Join CSW and United Action for Egyptian Christians to pray for the nation of Egypt at this crucial time in the nation’s history.

We’ll gather to pray for the nation, for the upcoming elections and for Egypt’s religious minorities in a time of increased attacks against them.

With an informal feel to them, each evening will include updates from CSW and UAFEC, with firsthand news from contacts in Egypt, and lots of time for prayer and worship.

If you’re not in London, we’d still love you to get involved and gather locally to pray so that we have a nationwide prayer chain for Egypt this year.

Wednesday 24 August

London Network Church
131 East Acton Lane
London W3 7HB

Each event starts at 7.30pm and we’ll aim to finish by 9.30pm.

Original weblink :

Thursday 18 August 2011

When perverted lust and religious hatred merge - a horror from the past

Whatever they are now doing, let us pray for the little girl featured in this video and her family. When her father refused to convert to Islam, his 2 year old girl was raped so badly that she has been maimed for life.

Let us also pray for the perpetrator and his family, that they might be freed out of the demonic bondage that led to this attack, and may come to know the forgiveness, salvation and transformation that only Jesus the Messiah can bring to them.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Hospital Hold-Up

A small coterie of Muslim businessman have tried to inveigle the police into helping them steal a whole hospital in Taxilla near Islamabad from the Presbyterian church several months ago. The Catholic bishop from Islamabad has intervened, and a district police officer investigated and promised that the culprits would be arrested. As usual, the culprits were prominent businessmen aided by influential local political figures. They claimed that the missionary-owned hospital had been sold to them, and that the hospital administrators were refusing to hand over the property. They filed a report with the police, and later ramped up the pressure by accusing the administrators of blasphemy.

The Catholic bishop, Rufin Anthony, said 'This is not a first attempt to take over Church or missionary property by force. The Christian Hospital in Taxila has been targeted by various groups in the past.'

Thankfully, a Gojra-type incident seems to have been avoided, but it could so easily have been that abuse of the blasphemy law and manipulation religious feeling for greedy theft of a hospital led to such an incident. The incident gives further weight to the need for the Government of Pakistan to turn from its cowardly deference to Islamicist fanatics, and re-commit to amending the corrupting and corrosive blasphemy laws.

Thanks again to Asia News for reporting this story.

Pukhtoon Fundamentalist Attacked My Brother this is my Appeal for Prayer and Peace

Ashfaq Munawar another Karachi Christian Attacked for his belief!

I received disturbing news of a man attacked simply for being Christian. This is another attack from the lawless city of Karachi. It is about time the Pakistan Government recognised their responsibility to protect all their citizens. I call on those reading this story to contact your MP's or statesmen from your home countries and to call for a concerted effort to eradicate such obvious human right abuses. The writer says he is the brother of the victim and I produce the story prima facie (sic):

by Liaquat Munawar Munawar Masih on Monday, August 15, 2011 at 10:59pm

On 14th august at 6:30am near sea view D.H.A( defence housing authority ) phase 8,jurisdiction of Durkhshan police station Karachi, Pakistan, Pakhtoon fundamentalists attacked my brother Ashfaq Munawar.

Ashfaq is seriously injured, he has fractures on both jaws, and he lost 5 teeth.

Today 15th august, when he regained consciousness and informed me about his attack. He said;

"I was coming from Sea View the beach site of Karachi sea, after celebration of our country's Independence Day, ( because people's of all Karachi gathered there and celebrate different event's ). Six Pukhtoon fundamentalists stopped me and they asked me if I were a muslim or Christian, I said I am by birth Christian they said,"Kalma Parho" (read the Kalma it's an important verse for Muslims), and become a muslim. I refused, then they shouted at me. I told them I will never ever become a muslim. Then they beat me badly with iron rods and iron hand clips. When I lay down on the floor they thought I had died and they fired into the air with heavy weapons, and also crushed my motor bike with iron rods. They left me alone there as they made a getaway due to the attention the gunfire had caused. Police arrived at the scene they also beat me and took my motor bike to the Police station. They left me alone there. Fortunately one of my neighbour was going from that way he put me on Taxi and brought me home".

I request to all my Christian friends, brothers, and sisters kindly pray for my brother and my family, because we are in trouble my entire family is tense and our organization members are very depressed...

PS. For those of you on facebook, the article is on Liaquat's 'Notes' and you can read the original there.

With NkH

Tuesday 16 August 2011

If it looks like a snake ..... it must be an eagle!

Shabbaz Bhatti

The old saying goes : 'If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck.... then it sure aint a sparrow!'
In Pakistan, by the looks of the increasingly farcical police investigation into the assassination of Shabbaz Bhatti of blessed memory, it might better be phrased 'If it looks like a snake, slithers like a snake, hisses like a snake.... then it must be an eagle!'.
When Bhatti was assassinated by killers wielding Khalashnikovs, the scene was littered with pamphlets by terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab, and the latter immediately claimed responsibility, telling the BBC Urdu service that '"This man was a known blasphemer of the Prophet, We will continue to target all those who speak against the law which punishes those who insult the prophet. Their fate will be the same". Minister Bhatti had in the preceeding months received many death threats from Islamicist groups.

The text of one of the pamphlets left at the murder scene

Now, suddenly, the police are blaming his death on a mysterious 'family vendetta' over property feuds, where un-named family members are said to have fled the country after his death, and some have converted to Islam, allegedly. The police plan to go to Interpol to get warrants for their arrest, but have not because they seem to lack 'definitive proof'.

The text of an article from Ecumenical News International follows :

Pakistani police claim Bhatti murder due to family dispute, story says


By Anto Akkara

Bangalore, India (ENInews)--Police investigators in Pakistan are developing a theory that the murder of Pakistani religious affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti was due to a "family dispute," not religious extremism, according to a story on 9 August in the Express Tribune English daily newspaper.

Quoting an unidentified official associated with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the assassination, the Tribune said"Shahbaz's murder is said to be linked to a 'chronic rivalry' with relatives who lived in Faisalabad five years ago."
Bhatti, 42, was a Roman Catholic and vigorously campaigned forminority religious rights in Pakistan, which is 95 percent Muslim. He had criticized the country's blasphemy law, which makes it a capitalcrime to insult Islam, before he was ambushed and sprayed with bullets on 2 March as he was leaving for his office in Islamabad. Groups claiming ties with the Islamic Taliban and al-Qaida later claimed responsibility for the murder.
Christian groups criticized the police investigation, based on the news reports. "This is just another cover up. They want to show that Shahbaz was not killed by religious extremists," Victor Azariah,general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan (NCCP), told ENI news on 12 August from his office in Lahore.
According to the Tribune story, a member of the JIT team claims that two or three of the murderers converted to Islam and fled Pakistan.The report also quoted the official as saying that while names of the culprits have not been identified yet, "we will approach Interpol for their arrest."
Azariah said there is now no confidence in the Bhatti probe. "Nothing is going to happen with this investigation. The people have lost faithin the process," he said. The NCCP groups the country's four mainline Protestant churches. "The investigators seem to ignore even the claimof an Islamic party owning up to the murder," he added.
Cecil Choudhary, executive secretary of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), co-founded by Bhatti, told ENInews that the news represented "an extremely alarming twist" in the investigation. "It has deliberately been taken onto another track in order to clear the Islamic extremists, who categorically claimed responsibility for the murder," he said. APMA plans to organize street protests to demand a judicial enquiry into the assassination. "We want the truth to come out," he said.
Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the Justice and Commission of theCatholic church, told ENI news that the "family feud" theory is unfounded. "Bhatti is my third cousin and I know him from childhood.We have the same relatives. The allegation of family and property feudis only to defame a bold champion of minority rights," he said.
The Express Tribune, based in Karachi, Pakistan, is published incollaboration with the International Herald Tribune.

All articles (c) Ecumenical News International
Reproduction permitted only by media subscribers and provided ENI is acknowledged as the source.
Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100CH - 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
The original Express Tribune article, if you wish to read it in full, is here.

The bloodied martyrdom site

For a recap on the police 'investigation', after a long silence, with no arrests of anyone, and with the memory of the terrorists group's responsibility fading, in June, the police arrested one of Bhatti's former employees. Mysterious letters were sent to a lawyer associated with Bhatti's APMA (All Pakistani Minorities alliance) group alleging the man, who had worked with the minister for 10 years, was involved in the assassination and had nursed a grudge against Bhatti. The lawyer passed the letters to the police, which led to the arrest. But as stated at the time, church leaders expressed considerable surprise and scepticism.

After questioning by police, the suspect, Hafiz Nazar Muhammad, was released by the courts, denying the police request to detain him for another week for questioning. A week or so later, Bhatti's brother Paul, was expressing gratitude that the investigations were 'back on track', with the Interior ministry set to issue international arrest warrants for the perpetrators who were said to be in Dubai, and from al-Qaeda related groups.

But now, 5 or so weeks later, the same lawyer who received the mysterious letters is fighting against these latest allegations that it was a family feud, confirming that the prime suspects should be the terrorists who claimed responsibility. As this article says, the lack of names or any information about the alleged murderers means that 'there is strong suspicion that such rumours are a pretext to divert attention away from the real culprits. ' The lawyer, Tahir Naveed, the article goes on, says that 'newspapers are trying to mislead the public by dismissing “Shabhaz’s martyrdom” as the result of a domestic quarrel. This way, one part of the country can simply forget about the minister, his battles against the blasphemy law and his defence of Asia Bibi and all those who were victims of violence and abuses because of their faith.'
The lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhary

Evidently strong forces are at work repeatedly trying to bring about a miscarriage of justice and divert attention from the real murderers and the unjust blasphemy laws associated with the case. The repeated police flip-flopping seems to suggest that there is a power struggle going on around the case.

Could a clue perhaps be found, as one commentator at the time of the assassination observed, in the fact that the murder of this minister happened in a sector that ''also ‘happens to be’ the ISI officers’ residential colony"? After all, elements (at least) within the ISI have a long history of supporting the Taliban and related groups. And wasn't Bin Laden found slap bang in the middle of a top army officer residential area? Draw your own conclusions.

Disregarding these shadowy periphery issues, the fact is that there is a concerted effort, in typical Sharia mind-set fashion, to pin the blame on the victim community, enforce a miscarriage of justice, and divert attention from the Sharia-snakes who perpetrated the attack. It remains to be seen if the new spin (and that's an understatement!) will resonate with the nation, but the fact that newspapers saw fit to publish these dubious 'results' prima facie, without much if any comment on their tenuousness and vagueness does not exactly inspire confidence in that regard.