Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website

Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website
This site will no longer publish new material. Please join our new website

Friday 29 June 2012

Mr Surjit Singh (aka "Makhan" Singh) 76 Released after 36 Years!

Mr Surjit Singh (aka "Makhan" Singh) 76 Released by the Pakistani Authorities after 36 YEARS!


Mrs Parminder Kaur holding a photograph her father Mr Surjit Singh, during a recent press conference before his release on Thursday 28th of June 2012.

Mr Surjit Singh (aka “Makhan Singh) is an Indian national aged 76 years who has spent the last 36 years of his life (and continuing) in Kot Lakphat Prison Lahore Pakistan following a dubious conviction in 1976 for “spying”. He was denied access to the Indian Consular or legal advice and representation at his trial and therefore did not have the benefit of a fair trial. Mr Surjit Singh’s conviction is unsafe. Accesses to Mr Surjit Singh’s original prosecution and defence files have been ignored.

Initially, Mr Surjit Singh was sentenced to death which was later commuted to life in imprisonment. In Pakistan a life sentence is equivalent to 25 years in prison. This means that Mr Surjit Singh’s sentence should have been completed in 2004. Mr Surjit Singh has served 11 years (and continuing) above and beyond the tariff determined against him. He has been denied all contact with his family in India. The Pakistani authorities have refused Mr Surjit Singh’s family visas to visit him in prison throughout the duration of his incarceration. Mr Surjit Singh is unaware that his eldest passed away in tragic circumstances.

Mr Surjit Singh suffers from various undiagnosed and untreated health conditions which have been drawn to the attention of the International Red Cross who under the Geneva Convention can visit and attend to foreign nationals detained in foreign prisoners. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests I have yet to receive an acknowledgment let alone a response from the International Red Cross. I am aware that Mr Surjit Singh health conditions continue to remain untreated. Mr Surjit Singh is being wilfully denied medical treatment. This amounts to torture.

This case and other similar cases have been repeatedly referred to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organisations. Unfortunately they have failed to acknowledge or confirm whether that they will intervene in this case. It is of concern that the international human rights organisations appear to be selective as to which causes and countries they champion at the exclusion of cases like that of Mr Surjit Singh.

Mr Surjit Singh’s case was drawn to the attention of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office earlier this year. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s response was that this case is a matter between governments of India and Pakistan. I beg to differ; this case and other cases of this type are essentially about abuses and breaches of human rights. Our Government donates considerable amount of financial aid to Pakistan. This should be monitored and be subject to the government of Pakistan addressing its record in relation to human rights.

Mr Surjit Singh’s case came to my attention by his daughter Mrs Parminder Kaur who lives in Punjab, India. Evidence was gathered, collated and forwarded to Mr Awais Sheikh to annex to the petition he subsequently issued in the High Court Lahore:

Friday 15 June 2012

Protesters Sing Freedom Song for the Release of Catholic Mum Condemned to Death by Hanging

Wilson Chowdhry spoke of the injustice that Asia Bibi still suffers in Prison.

 Annette from Kindom of Herts performed a song she composed on the inhumanity of Asia's captivity.

John Pontifex (ACNUK), Cherrie from Ooberfuse and Stephen Anjum submitted petitions calling for freedom for Asia to the Pakistan Embassy.

Mr Raheel Tariq of the Pakistan High Commission, John Pontifex of ACN UK, Stephen Anjum, Cherrie from Ooberfuse.

Electro-pop band ooberfuse, with the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), took to the streets yesterday to protest against the unjust and inhumane treatment of Asia Bibi, mother of five, who awaits execution by hanging on Pakistan’s death row. Under Section 295c of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s penal code Bibi stands accused of blasphemy for refusing to convert to Islam in the face of violent pressures to recant her faith.

To mark the 14th June 2012, the third anniversary of Bibi’s arrest, a powerful pa system was set up opposite the Pakistani Embassy. As a delegation entered the Embassy to meet the High Commissioner’s appointee, Mr Raheel Tariq, protesters led by Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA chanted ‘Free, free, Asia Bibi’. Once inside the delegation, including Mr Nazim Ghauri OBE of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need, Stephen Anjum representing UK Pakistani Christians (who have fled their native Pakistan to avoid persecution) and Cherrie Anderson, front woman of ooberfuse, presented two petitions calling for Bibi’s release and a copy of Asia’s autobiography Blasphemy recently translated into English. As they said farewell to Mr Tariq on the Embassy steps the crowd sang along to ooberfuse’s freedom song Free Asia Bibi - A copy of which can be downloaded for free here:

Cherrie, front-woman of the band says, “It was very generous of the High Commissioner to allow us to share our concerns with his representative Mr Tariq. We explained how the Blasphemy Law was being used in practice to discriminate against not just Christian minorities but also, as Mr Ghauri pointed out, Ahmadiyya Muslims too. Mr Tariq showed sympathy towards our concerns but insisted that Pakistan’s constitution can only be reformed from pressures within democratic Pakistan. We explained that Asia’s voice, speaking in her autobiography, is a voice that speaks from within Pakistan. The point of our demonstration was to make her voice more audible through music and public readings from her memoirs in the hope that changes will be made soon and Asia will be reunited with her family.”

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, adds : “I was very encouraged to see Embassy staff and crowds of Muslims (who were queuing for visas) listening attentively to the guest speakers and the music. Clearly our mix of music and remonstrations delivered a poignant message. It was obvious that many people of Pakistani origin had not heard of Asia Bibi. Many of the passers-by showed a genuine interest and surprise that these injustices were continuing in a country that is keen to defend, if not to white-wash, its human rights record.’”

John Pontifex says : "Now is the time to stand up for faith and freedom. By speaking up for Asia Bibi, it is not only a case of joining one woman's campaign for justice, it is standing in solidarity with all those under the shadow of mob violence and religious hatred. Hal St John and Ooberfuse are to be congratulated for following the Holy Father's call that hatred should  'never reign in the hearts of men again'.

For further information about the Free Asia Bibi campaign please go to : . 

Pakistan frees 58 yr old border strayer with mental health condition after nearly 2 years imprisonment!

Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale  Released by the Pakistani Authorities this morning!

Mr Karale aged 58 years who has a history of suffering from mental health problems left his family home in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra in India sometime in 2008. I understand from Mr Karale's family that he would often leave his family home for periods of time without an explanation.

It is believed (but not confirmed) that Mr Karale was was arrested on the 28th of August 2010 by the Pakistani authorities for allegedly illegally entering Pakistan. There is no evidence confirming that Mr Karale was charged or indeed tried in a court of law for alledgedly entering Pakistan illegally.

Following his arrest Mr Karale has been detained in Kot Lakphat Prison, Lahore in Pakistan. The Pakistani authorities failed to notify the Indian authorities that they had arrested and detained an Indian national. Further, Mr Karale was denied the benefit of Consular Services and legal advice.

Mr Karale's family unaware that Mr Karel was in
I received a recording of an interview with Mr Gulab Singh an Indian national who was released by the Pakistani authorities in August 2011.

Mr Gulab Singh was interviewed by Mr Neeraj Sharma, who is a senior journalist with the ‘Punjab Kesari’ immediately after Mr Gulab Singh crossed the Wagha Border into India following his release.

Mr Gulab Singh produced two letters; one from Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale and the other from Mr Satinder Paul Singh both letters were pleading for help to secure their respective release. Mr Neeraj Sharma forwarded both of the letters and the video recording of Mr Gulab Singh’s interview to me.

Mr Satinder Paul Singh’s letter did not contain his family’s address in India whereas Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale did.

Jas Uppal of Free Sarabjit Singh wrote to Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale’s family and urged them to forward documents verifying Mr Karale’s identity and advised them to contact various Indian authorities to alert them to the fact that Mr Karale was unlawfully detained in Kot Lakphat Prison, Lahore Pakistan. I also advised them to contact Mr Neeraj Sharma in India.

Neeraj Sharma also wrote to Mr Karale’s family.

Mr Karale’s nephew, Nitin Karale contacted me and Mr Neeraj Sharma. Nitin confirmed that his family were unaware that Mr Karale was in a Pakistani prison. Mr Karale’s family reported him to the authorities as a missing person and were trying to ascertain his whereabouts.

Nitin Karale immediately arranged to forward the documents verifying Mr Karale’s identity to me. These were e-mailed to the Indian Embassy in Islamabad Pakistan as well as the Indian authorities.
Jas Uppal received confirmation from the Indian authorities that now that they are in receipt documents verifying the respective identities of Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale and Mr Satinder Paul Singh, they were confident that both men will be released shortly.

Mrs Uppal mentioned these cases to Mr Sheikh. She commented;  "He asked me to forward the evidence including copies of the identity verification documents which I did. Mr Sheikh issued a petition in the Lahore High Court annexing and referring to the evidence that I had provided together with the copy identity verification documents in or around October 2011 seeking an Order for these two prisoners to be released".

On the 3rd of November 2011, the High Court of Lahore Ordered Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale and for Satinder Paul Singh to be released and in addition Ordered all Indian prisoners who had served their respective sentences to be released upon production of documents verifying their respective identities. It is believed that 30 Indian prisoners have served their respective sentences and are currently waiting to be released. That is a total of 32 prisoners which includes both Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale and Mr Satinder Paul Singh.

Mr Satinder Paul Singh was released on Sunday 8th of January 2012. Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale  was released this morning (Friday 15th of June 2012) and the remaining 30 Indian prisoners ordered to be released by the Lahore High Court are yet to be released.
Jas Uppal a writer on the BPCA blog  said:

I am absolutely delighted to learn of Mr Bhanudas Vitthale Karale's release. It was long overdue.

It is tragic that Mr. Karale was deprived of his liberty and unlawfully detained by the Pakistani authorities without trial and without access to Consular services. Further, I understand that Mr Karale was denied the opportunity to take legal advice during his detention.

I hope that Mr Karale is in good health and is united with his family without further delay.

My thoughts are with the families of Mr Bhavesh Parmar, Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh, Mr Surjit Singh (aka "Makhan" Singh), Captain Sanjit Battacharjee, RFN Gopal Dass, Vakar Ahmed, Mr Kuldip Singh all of whom continue to be unlawfully detained in Pakistan. I hope that they too will be released soon.

Public rally against Christianophobia in front of the European Parliament in Brussels

Wilson with Paul Herzog von Oldenburg (Grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm-former German Monarchy) a Christian Human Rights Campaigner for Pro Europa Christiana Federation

On Wednesday, June 22nd, the Pro Europa Christiana Federation held a rally in front of the European Parliament to launch its signature campaign in favour of the recognition of an annual World Day against Christianophobia

 Brussels’ Luxembourg Square saw a few dozen militants distributing thousands of leaflets to the passersby. To attract public attention, distributors wore a red cape and carried a red standard emblazoned with a golden lion.

 March 2nd was the date chosen for the World Day against Christianophobia, because on that fatal day, this year, Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for Minorities, was murdered because of his Christian faith.
 According to the promoters of this campaign, every 5 minutes a Christian is killed, which makes Christianophobia the worst social evil of our times. They regret that world authorities do nothing to eradicate it.
 To stop the killing of thousands of innocent people, Pro Europa Christiana Federation wrote a public appeal to the UN General Secretary, accessible by Internet at the address

“The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity,” but this is no reason to allow so much of it to be shed, nor to stand by with folded arms, the organisers affirm.
 During the public rally, militants shouted slogans appealing to the conscience of the passersby: 
  • Shahbaz Bhatti, Imran Masih, Asia Bibi… / the list of the victims gets longer and longer / What shall we do for our persecuted Christian brothers throughout the world?
  • Never in the history of human cultural conflicts/, has so much evil / been done by so few fanatics / to so many innocents / Nice speeches are not enough to stop the killings, / We need action / Promote March 2nd as the World Day against Christianophobia
  • The silence of the West is falling upon the fate of our Christian brothers of the East / Will we be the next victim? / Yes, if we don’t react.
  • On March 2nd Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani minister of minorities / was murdered for his Christian faith / Let us promote this memorable date as the annual World Day against Christianophobia
  • Burglary and Destruction of churches / Blasphemous exhibitions / Discrimination at the workplace / Disrespect for the right to Conscientious objection / Christianophobia does not stop at Turkey’s borders / It is carried out by our own governments and by the European institutions
  • Militant secularism wants to reduce Christians to second class citizens / Will we accept to become strangers in our own land?
 The annual World Day against Christianophobia would be an occasion to draw the attention of public opinion, social movements, policy makers and the media to this crucial issue and to provide a unique annual opportunity for Christians to defend their rights in society.

Friday 8 June 2012

BPCA and UK Electro-pop band launches campaign to support Christian mother sentenced to Death for defending her faith

Asia Bibi is a mother of five - sentenced to death in Pakistan for defending her Christian beliefs.

LONDON – Christian electo-pop band, Ooberfuse, in association with the British Pakistani Christian Association , announced details today for an all out media blitz to raise awareness for Asia Bibi. Asia is a Pakistani Christian mother with five children who has been sentenced to death by hanging for defending her Christian beliefs.
The Free Asia Bibi media-awareness campaign includes the release of a song titled Free Asia Bibi, a music video and an informational website,   The music video features a disturbing visual portrayal of the squalid prison conditions where Asia Bibi is being held.   She is the first woman in Pakistan’s modern history to be sentenced to death by hanging.
Hal, member of the band Ooberfuse said “when we were invited to be involved in this project we knew very little about the life and significance of Asia Bibi.  We started reading all of the press accounts of her trial and condemnation to death.”    Ooberfuse stumbled across Asia Bibi’s autobiography, which had been written in French with the help of a journalist.    They set out to translate it to English and were horrified by the profound injustice of her situation.  In the last paragraph of the autobiography Asia says, “now that you know me, tell those around you what is happening; let them know about it. This is the only chance I have of being freed from this dungeon.”
Cherrie, the front-woman of Ooberfuse stated “we want the world to not just hear her story, but to do something about it!  - If you’re based in the UK, please join us outside the Pakistan embassy on Thursday, the 14th of June 12noon to 2pm”   - To learn more about Asia Bibi please visit -  Watch the video at
Wilson Choudhry, aka Wizard MC, said "The way section 295C of the Pakistani Penal Code is interpreted in practice is an example of  growing extremism. Asia Bibi is a victim of this injustice and we should demonstrate our solidarity by doing what we can to tell her story. She is currently in jail but can still be set free either by getting the original verdict overturned or by a Presidential pardon. Join us in our campaign for her release,"
The song can be downloaded at - All Proceeds to be donated for the benefit of Asia Bibi’s family via the British Pakistani Christian Association.
Ooberfuse is an award winning Christian eletro-pop band based out of the UK.  They have been featured on EWTN, at the World Youth Day and have recently been commissioned by the UK Catholic Church to compose a soundtrack to promote religious vocations.  Learn more at
Contact: Hal St John,

European Parliament decides to hold regular conferences on Pakistan's progress towards better Human Rights!

EU Conference on Pakistan

 Wilson Chowdhry with Human Rights Activist' Advocate of Supreme Court of Pakistan and President Supreme Court Bar Association - Asma Jahangir.
Wilson with Paul Herzog von Oldenburg (Grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm-former German Monarchy) a Christian Human Rights Campaigner.

Asma Jahangir a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief and Jennifer Jag Jivan author of Life on the Margins - a study on Minority Women in Pakistan - a book that reveals the discrimination that Hindu and Christian women suffer in Pakistan - were invited panel guests during a conference at European Parliament Thursday May 31st 2012.

The conference termed Freedom of Religion and Belief in Pakistan: The role of the European External Action Service, was attended by several MEP's and many humanitarian groups including Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

MEP De Jong Chaired the meeting and spoke of the reticence of key players in the Pakistani embassy to the Eu to accept a problem exists.

Asma Jahangir described a number of governmental and societal concerns affecting human rights in Pakistan.  She detailed concerns regarding a lack of reporting mechanisms and reluctance of parochial police to respond to discrimination and persecution for fear of retribution and gross levels of bribery.

Mrs Jahangir said;

"We should have a zero tolerance to intolerance" she added; "secularism in the west is a red rag to extremists in Pakistan - more should be done to celebrate diversity"  later stating; "tolerance should be promoted to oppose persecution"

Asma Jahangir illustrated how intolerance had lead to poor economy as extremists usurped control over people through religious fervour, in the process decimating the country through terrorist attacks and sieges - restoration is costing millions,

Mrs Jahangir provided a silver lining praising Pakistan's organised civil society who fervently opposed dictatorship, ensuring short rule for usurpers.  She called for better pluralistic discourse between government and civil society and more responsible media

Jennifer Jivan provided an analysis of the situation for minorities living in Pakistan. Although it clearly offended the representative from the Embassy of Pakistan she described the disparity between the size of minority population in Pakistan between 3-5% of overall population and the number of blasphemy cases raised against them - over 51%.

Mrs Jivan said;

"Pakistani minority women face a double jeopardy discrimination for their faith and discrimination for their gender"

An objection from the Pakistan embassy was met with a reprimand from the Asma Jahangir who said that the government has to accept that labels of anti-Pakistani for those opposed to ongoing persecution, were unwarranted.

Wilson Chowdhry spoke against the demonization of minority groups in school lessons and textbooks.  He also called for removal of Islamic Studies from the curriculum a introduction of a broader based religious studies lesson that could enrich Pakistani culture.  Asma Jahangir supported these ideas.

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"When considering inequality and persecution in Pakistan we should consider factors other then the blasphemy law. Pakistan's constitution, Hudood ordinances, Qisas and Diyat laws have contributed to a diminished sense of society.  Poor electoral turnout due to fear and other factors, typecasting of minorities in school lessons and lack of response from authorities have created an atmosphere of animosity and impunity towards discrimination and hatred.  It is not simply illiteracy that has spawned minority hatred in Pakistan, moreover decades propaganda.  Pakistan's current educational reform package will have little affect, unless  laws the constitution and curriculum become fairer in tandem"

At the end of the meeting MEP De Jong concluded by saying:

"It will be fitting to hold regular meetings on Pakistan as much has been learnt today"

Friday 1 June 2012

Chief Justice of Pakistan wins International Award for complicity in persecution!

Video of protestors confrontation at the awards ceremony

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) lent its support to protests today against the giving of a world-class award to the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court,  Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.  The International  Council of Jurists (IJC) is giving him the award today in London.  The BPCA argues that giving such an award to a man who has just passed down cases more in accord with Sharia law than international standards of justice is a slap in the face of the Chief Justice’s recent victims, Hindu women whose kidnap, rape and forced conversion and marriage Chaudhry upheld.  In addition, he dismissed representations by the leaders of the Hindu community seeking protection for their vulnerable girls.  

Mr Wilson Chowdhury, chairman of the BPCA, said ‘This is yet another case illustrating the contempt for the rights of minorities in Pakistan.  One girl, Rinkel Kumari, cried for her parents  in court and clearly stated she had been forced against her will to marry a Muslim boy, but the Chief Justice ignored her clear testimony and distress and handed her to her ‘husband’.  It is an insult to the minorities of Pakistan these international jurists persist in giving such an award to a man who makes himself and the state of Pakistan so complicit in the persecution of minorities.  The case sets another precedent, and the fact that this award is not being rescinded is another precedent.  The IJC is in effect making itself complicit and validating the systematic kidnap, rape, forced marriage and conversion of vulnerable minorities in Pakistan.’

He went on to add 'Should someone still be given a community award for previous good actions when they have recently also rioted and vandalized property?  The same principle applies here.  The IJC is spectacularly proving the old adage that the law is an ass - and is discrediting itself in the process.'

Other commitments prevented BPCA representatives joining in the protest.   The BPCA counters assertions that such girls voluntarily convert to Islam and sometimes say so by noting that it is routine in such cases for the kidnappers to threaten to kill their families or bring false blasphemy charges against them if the girls do not say they have married and converted voluntarily.