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Thursday 6 September 2012

BPCA secures grant for it's first publication on the persecution of Minorities in Pakistan!

South Asian Democratic Forum a European initiative that was born as a dialogue platform on South Asia and its relation with the European Union, has sponsored the BPCA to produce a report on Minority issues in Pakistan.

The 4 month project is to be headed by our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry and will see senior figures from a wide variety of faiths working together towards an assessment of the main issues facing minorities in Pakistan.  Matters pertaining to persecution and discrimination by both state and non-state actors will form the basis of the report.  The title of the report is to be;

"The nature, causes and extent of discrimination against minorities in Pakistan 
The nature, causes and extent of discrimination against minorities in Pakistan"

The paper will take on the views and perspectives of various human rights analysts and organisations, campaigners and Pakistani minority group members, including appropriate methods or actions to advance the cause of equality, conflict resolution and non-discrimination in Pakistan.

Contributors to the project will include:

  • Professor Desmond Fernandes a human rights and genocide scholar and author of The Kurdish and Armenian Genocides: From Censorship and Denial to Recognition? (Apec: Stockholm) and several books and articles focusing upon state targeting of the “Other” (in particular, diasporic and refugee/‘minority’ communities, including those in Pakistan.  A former Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at De Montfort University, he is an Advisory Council member of the European Union-Turkey Civic Commission and has published widely, including in the journals and magazines Genocide Studies and Prevention (the official journal of the International Association of Genocide Scholars); Peace News; Law, Social Justice and Global Development and Variant: Cross Currents in Culture.
  • Imam Dr
  • Nathaniel Lewis Vice Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association; He was heavily involved in writing their recent submission to the UN on human rights in Pakistan, and had a role in helping draft an Early Day Motion for a UK MP which was used a model for submissions in several other national parliaments in Europe, Asia and North America.  
  • Lyn Julius Co Founder of Harif has a BA in International Relations and speaks French, Spanish and Hebrew. A journalist and blogger specialising in Jews from Arab and Muslim countries, she has written for the Guardian on-line, the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Quarterly
  • , The Middle East in London and the Israeli press. She co-founded Harif, a group representing Jews from the Middle East and North Africa. Her parents fled Iraq in 1950.
  • Jas Uppal a lawyer by profession with a keen interest in human rights. She is leading a campaign for the release of the POW's in Pakistan and India and Border strayers.  As a result of this ongoing campaign I have received details of numerous other equally tragic cases where the families are seeking  help. This includes contact from families of prisoners of war who were captured and detained during the Indo-Pak conflicts in the 1970's, some of whom are still believed to be detained in Pakistan and have to date been unaccounted for.
  • Imam Dr Taj Hargey from the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford  is a clean shaven devout Sunni Muslim who has been challenging intrinsic gender discrimination within the Muslim hierarchy.  Unlike most British imams who insist on segregation during Friday prayers, Dr Hargey allows men and women to pray in the same room.  He believes Muslims should not feel compelled to grow beards or wear a veil and in November 2008 his mosque became the first in Britain to allow a female Islamic scholar to lead Friday prayers.
It is hoped that the report will be finalised by Christmas and will be launched in the UK Parliament and EU parliament buildings, sometime in January - March 2013.

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