Lord Alton presided over a discussion on the "Persecution of Christian Women in the World today at Committee Room 12 of the House of Commons on Tuesday, 15th May 2012 5.30pm. At the event the The leading Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need launched their new report examining the importance of religious freedom and providing incident reports of recent acts of persecution including those targeting women. Free copies of "Christians and the Struggle for Religious Freedom" were distributed to guests at the meeting.
Asylum SeekerThomasina Anjum spoke of the persecution that she suffered whilst running an NGO in Pakistan. She described how many Christians in rural villages are required to drink form dirty canals as they are deemed untouchables who by drinking from wells will contaminate life sustaining water. Thomesena and her husband have fled Pakistan to seek refuge in the UK following blasphemy allegations placed on them for their work in Pakistan.
Bishop Joannes Zakaria described in great detail the plight of Christian women in his native Egypt he provided first hand accounts that painted a bleak picture of the existing weak political structures since the Arab Risings.
Lord Alton has championed better human rights for minorities in Pakistan and is responsible for a number of informed reports on the dire situation many of them face.
Archbishop Joseph Coutts (residing in Karachi) of the Catholic Church in Pakistan spoke of the struggles of Pakistani Christians. His vivid understanding of the plight of persecuted minorities illustrated why so often it has been the Catholic Church that have responded to the need to protect minorities in the homeland.
Wilson and Christian Member of Pakistan's National Assembly (MNA) Asiya Nasir spoke after the discussion. Common ground was found in a passion to improve the quality of life for all in Pakistan, especially marginalised minorities
Wilson Chowdhry and MP Andrew Stephenson were scheduled for a private meeting with Asiya Nasir, which Wilson had to decline due to a prior engagement.
Wilson Chowdhry a guest at the meeting attending on behest of Lord Alton and Baroness Berrige said;
"This meeting was a chance for humanitarians to gain further insights into the plight of persecuted women in Pakistan. Evidently the life of a a women living in Pakistan is fraught with difficulty, however as a Christian or other minority this difficulty is compounded, diluting further the potential quality of life to an unacceptable level. Britain's future foreign aid budget to Pakistan should be used to coerce humanitarian progress in this area and to address wider discrimination."