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Wednesday 31 October 2012

Lead humanitarians hold a UN Conference on the "Universal Periodic Review" of Pakistan

From left to right - Stephen Jones, Wilson Chowdhry, Elke Tindemann and Paulo Casaca.

A Symposium on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Pakistan was held at the UN Conference Centre in Geneva yesterday (30.10.12).  A packed audience comprising of many Pakistani Students heard presentations from diverse humanitarian groups, focused on the socio-economic issues faced by a politically volatile Pakistan.  This was one of the first conferences held after the recent publication of a UN report on Pakistan, following the programmed review which takes place every 3 years.

Guest speakers included; Elke Tindemann a former Senator from Belgium who spoke on “The Basic Rights of Women and Children”, Mehran Baluch Nominated Baluchistan House Representative to the EU whose presentation was titled “Kill and dump policy in Baluchistan”, Dr Stig Toft Madsen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen who presented "Pakistan: A Consolidated Democracy”, Stephen Jones SADF Consultant on “The EU and human rights in Pakistan” and Wilson Chowdhry from the BPCA who presented on “Religious freedom: state of play.”

Elke Tindemann condemned the shameful shooting incident involving young womens' rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai, she said 

" The Universal declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings should be treated equally, with emphasis on 'all human beings. The right to education is for everybody, not just for men and boys.  

She added;

"What this courageous young woman did, should be an example for all women, and should be a message to the Pakistani goverment to finally empower the laws against discrimination of women and girls." 

During his address Dr Madsen said;

"The elections in 2008 created hope of a democratic transition, but that democracy has failed to consolidate since then."

Wilson Chowdhry a long term campaigner for human rights in Pakistan described the situation faced by minorities, he said;

"Life for religious minorities in Pakistan has reached a nadir, they are faced with extreme poverty, overt discrimination and prejudice, and increasing acts of persecution.          If these communities are to survive the violent onslaught they face in the 21st century, they will need enhanced proactive support from Pakistani authorities."

Stephen Jones described how human rights issues impact on the EU-Pakistan relationship, he said;

"The EU’s ability to change the human rights situation is limited because of Pakistan’s perceived importance as a strategic partner in the fight against terrorism and NATO operations in Afghanistan." 

The event was organised by South Asian Democratic Forum.  Paulo Casaca Founder and Executive director for the group said; 

"This was the coming together of key figures in the humanitarian cause for Pakistan. The Universal Periodic Review has induced greater scrutiny on socio-economic factors in the developing nation of Pakistan.  Our hope is that contributions made by our learned speakers will assist in progress for democratic forces there."

Wilson Chowdhry presenting on minority discrimination.  Graphic images illustrated the deplorable conditions in which these communities survive.

Boards along the forecourt of the UN Building described socio-political problems faced by Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai was remembered for her campaign against gender discrimination.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Wilson Chowdhry to speak at Symposium on Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan

Today Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), is speaking at a Symposium in the Palais des Nations UN office in Geneva on ‘Religious Freedom : State of Play’.  Wilson is one of five speakers invited to the Symposium, sponsored by the South Asian Democratic Forum, along with ‘The Commission to study the Organization of Peace’.  The Symposium is being held around the Universal Periodic Review for Pakistan, to which the BPCA submitted a report earlier in the year.  The Periodic Review is where each nation’s record with regard to human rights is examined at regular intervals.  Other talks include ‘The basic rights of women and children’, ‘Kill and dump policy in Baluchistan’ and ’The EU and human rights in Pakistan.   The speakers include a former Belgian Senator, and the nominated Baluchistan House Representative to the EU. 

Wilson said 

‘I welcome this opportunity to go and outline the situation of religious minorities in Pakistan to the attendees, which we expect to include MEP’s and UN officials, among others.  We want to get the word out to encourage people to change their policies to better address the issue of religious freedom and persecution of minority religions in Pakistan, as the EU and similar bodies can have a significant impact, especially where funding is involved’. 

Monday 29 October 2012

BPCA to talk on minority discrimination at united Nations symposium 30th October 2012.

Wilson will be presenting on our submission to the UN's Universal Periodic review at a symposium at the Palais des United Nations in Geneva tomorrow:

SADF Symposium on
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Pakistan

30 October 2012
Palais des Nations United Nations office in Geneva
Room 24


Paulo Casaca, Founder and Executive Director, South Asia Democratic Forum


“The basic rights of women and children”
Elke TINDEMANS, former Senator in Belgium

“Religious freedom: state of play”
Wilson CHOWDHRY, Chairman, British Pakistani Christian Association

“Kill and dump policy in Baluchistan”
Mehran BALUCH, Nominated Baluchistan House Representative to the EU

“Pakistan: a consolidated democracy?”
Stig Toft MADSEN, Senior Research Fellow, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen

“The EU and human rights in Pakistan”
Stephen JONES, SADF consultant


Thursday 25 October 2012

Unlawfully detained Indian National released by Pakistani authorities today!

Released today Bhavesh Parmar

Jas Uppal from Justice Upheld informs us of the release of unlawfully detained Indian National MR Bhavesh Parmar.  Read more below:

I am delighted to inform you that Mr Bhavesh Kantilal Parmar, an Indian national unlawfully detained by the  Pakistani authorities  for the last 6 years will be released on Thursday 25th of October 2012.
Mr Parmar's mother, Mrs Hansa Parmer will be meeting him  at  the  Attari Border in Amritsar during the course of tomorrow morning.

I am grateful to the Indian Embassy in Islamabad Pakistan and Mr Krishna Hegede MP (India) for eventually responding to the information forwarded to them and for taking action by putting pressure on the Pakistani authorities to release Mr Parmar.
Sadly, I am in receipt of  fresh instructions in relation two other Indian nationals unlawfully detained in Pakistan. Preliminary information received suggests that  they are both Indian Prisoners of War captured by the Pakistani army during the 1970's Indo-Pak war. Both men have been subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment during their lengthy and unlawful detention. Further, both men lack mental capacity. They were identified by their respective families in India from the  information smuggled out by a recently released Indian civilian prisoner and subsequently published by the media.
Jas Uppal 

Wednesday 24 October 2012

BPCA rep speaks at Christian New Media Conference

On Saturday 20th, Nathanael Lewis spoke for the BPCA at a national conference put on by Premier Radio.  The conference was all about the use of New Media.  BPCA were invited to speak about the role of New Media in getting the story of persecuted Christians out.  He talked for 10 minutes in the plenary session in front of about 400 delegates about the advantages and pitfualls of the work, and some of BPCA's experiences, as well as about one particular recent incident where abuse of 'New Media' has led to international incidents around the world, including attacks on churches and Christians in Pakistan, which BPCA will be posting about shortly.

We are scared, we are terrified

A recent short documentary shows something of the situation of minorities in Pakistan. Although it concentrates on Hindu's, the same applies to Christians. It covers the kidnap and 'conversion' of minority girls, the power of the extremists to intimidate the government and the law courts, and the terror that minorities live under every day. Click to watch the 7 minute video

Monday 22 October 2012

Suffering families from Rimsha's town seek protection from winter chill.

On Sunday (21st October 2012) Shamim Masih returned to Rimsh Masih's home town to deliver more food supplies to families still seeking work and recompense after Rimsha's arrest under the balsphemy laws of Paksitan.  The food items and gifts were distributed amongst the 38 families of Meharabadi G-12, Islamabad whom we supported via our first two deliveries.  Shamim paid more attention since the success of our last distribution.  He said;

"We distributed gifts among children as well, as I mentioned in an earlier post these children need attention so I spent some time with them.  They have had to suffer a horrible ordeal and are still being threatened and abused by other children. Families enjoyed sharing time with us they were so pleased that a group was taking time to care for their needs.  They were feeling so despondent at the lack of support and aid being given to them and the delay in proposed government compensation."

One of the recipients of our food packages Mrs Kausar Bibi said,

"we are highly grateful to BPCA for delivering food items, but now as the winter season is upon us and we urgently need warm clothes. 

Community Leader Mr Basharat said;

"Since cleric Khalid Chishti has been released we are in constant fear.  He has already spoken vehemently about our community and we believe it is only a matter of time before we are attacked again"  We desperately need help with new educational facilities in our local area, our children are being verbally and physically abused at school and many parents have stopped sending them to school.  These children have been failed by the state and their future is looking bleak please help us.

The BPCA have asked Shamim Masih and our Partners "Reap" to project manage a small school in the region.  We intend to rent a small home and hire a teacher as part of short term plan that we hope to develop as funds arise.  Once we are clearer on the associated costs we will be launching an appeal.  We pray that those of you who are supporting our groups appeals and campaigns financially, will commit to longer term donations going forward to facilitate this new venture.  We will now also be seeking donations towards warm clothing as winter in Khyber Pakhtunkwa can be colder than Scotland.

Disheartened victims were grateful for our food packages.  Which included rice, Chappati flour, pulses and other food.

Shamim travelled to a very dangerous and violent district to assist disenfranchised families.

Some victims simply no longer have the strength to smile.

Food was gratefully accepted.

People met with Shamim late at night to obtain their food.

As winter arrives their is a desperate need for warm clothes.

large bags of food will last only a week for most families.  Much more support is required.

Proud families once able to support themselves are now relying on handouts form friends, families and humanitarian aid.

Friday 19 October 2012

Update on Rimsha Masih

ISLAMABAD Pakistan, (Shamim Masih):  

On Wednesday 17th October 2012, Islamabad High Court (IHC) extended the restraining order against the trial of Rimsha, a Christian girl, accused of committing blasphemy, until Nov 14, 2012.

IHC extended the stay during the hearing of a petition filed by the accused girl for quashing the FIR registered against her.  Rimsha has pleaded not guilty.  The defence has based their petition for acquittal on the lack of police evidence and notable reports of evidence tampering.

Chaudhry Abdul Aziz Advocate submitted his power of attorney on behalf of Malik Ummad, the accuser. 

The court directed the counsels to conclude their arguments by the next hearing on November 14th and extended the restraining order until then.

Earlier on Oct 1, IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman had stayed the trial until October 17th. In that original petition, Rimsha's defense counsel petitioned for acquittal due to charges laid against Imam Khaild Jadoon, for tampering with evidence.  Advocate Hafiz Zubair listed Section 164 of the Pakistan Penal code against Imam Jadoon, who it is said ripped shreds of the Koran to make a case against Rimsha's family in order to cause error to a Christian family.

He also stated that Rimsha  was a juvenile according to a medical report compiled by a board of seven doctors, which had also stated that she appeared to be "uneducated" and had an "underdeveloped mind".

Under these original circumstances it seemed there was little chance of a conviction for Rimsha and the petition had stated that proceeding with the case further, would be a futile exercise.  

It has been alleged that Lawyers defending Rimsha Masih have not been paid by the lead humanitarian group coordinating her defence.  The BPCA will investigate this further.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Juliet Chowdhry receives thanks from Ashiq Masih for our donation towards his family!

Juliet Chowdhry and Ashiq Masih

Whilst in Pakistan during July Juliet met with Ashiq Masih the husband of Asia Bibi to receive thanks for the BPCA donation towards travel for his Children to meet their mother.  Juliet had intended to meet the children but was unable to on the day of the visit.  I am told that a number of visits to the Prison have taken place successfully and the children were very grateful for the opportunity to meet and share time with their mother. We are still collecting for this future trips and for other necessary funds that can be used to uplift the lives of this family most affected by the Blasphemy laws of Pakistan.  We also pray that Asia will again see freedom. 

In an earlier article we informed readers that Younis Masih has now an opportunity to appeal his existing Blasphemy sentence and are aware that an appeal is being lodged.  Asia Bibi is soon to have an appeal opportunity and we are hoping to raise funds that we might sponsor this process.  We have received a quote from a local Advocate and the figure is close to £7000 for the appeal and challenge of her Blasphemy case.  If you would like to contribute to either of these appeals please do use the Paypal Facility at the top right hand corner of our blog or sends cheque payable to the BPCA at our listed address.  

Ashiq and Juliet

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Interview with Malala

British Pakistani Christian Community Awards - recognizing the talent and contribution made by Pakistani Christians in the UK!

Lets reward the real stars in our community!

Our British Pakistani Christian Community Awards aim to recognise outstanding community work and extraordinary achievement by individuals and groups, that has served to bring recognition to our small diaspora.
Nominations for the awards for this year have now opened with a deadline of the 29th October for completed returns. We'll be writing to those who have been successful shortly after this date. Nominations must be made by another party; self-nominations will not be accepted.

Our Judging Panel and guests at the Award Ceremony include:

Dr Martin Stern - Nazi Holocaust Survivor and former Student of Cambridge University and Peshawar University (1960's)
Father Tim Finigan - One of the most well known bloggers in the Catholic community internationally.
Apostle, Bishop Dr Donnett Thomas -Power of the Living Word Ministries International
Alan Craig - Leader of the Christian Peoples
Archbishop Dr George Booty - Worldwide Communion of Christian Celtic Conversion Churches  
A special reception with late night celebratory music event will be held on Friday 9th November 2012 for all successful nominations at Ilford Town Hall. Nominees will be provided with a free ticket,  tickets for other visitors will be sold an a priority basis.

Live entertainment on the Night will include:

Catholic band Ooberfuse - who Produced Free Asia Bibi Song
Redbridge School Of Gymnastics
Shin Cobra - Punjabi Singer formerly with 80's London Punjabi Band Cobra
Shpresa Albanian Dancers

Download the Application here:

Or for a word version which can be electronically submitted email for an application.

The International Humanitarian is for Pakistani Christians from outside the UK that are challenging for a fairer World - this could be attempt to make Pakistan a fairer nation. 

Best help from a non Pakistani-Christian refers to assistance to Pakistani Christians from those outside the faith or Christians not of Pakistani origin.


Update on teenage blasphemy victim Ryan Stanten and attack on St Francis Church

Father Mohan Victor Show damage caused by the attack on St Francis Church.

Glassless windows illustrate the level of vandalism to this church.

A statue of Mary has been taken away form its usual outside display area for safekeeping, the church fears another attack.

Father Mohan Victor, Samuel Khokar (MPA), BPCA's Shamim Masih and a Church assistant.

Islamabad Pakistan, Oct 14, (SHAMIM MASIH):  

On Friday afternoon (October 12th), after Muslim Jumma prayer a 600 strong mob attacked and damaged a church in the old city area of Karachi.  Earlier the same pillagers set fire to the belongings of  Ryan Bryan a teenager now accused of blasphemy in the same town.  . 

The BPCA sent Shamim Maish to Karachi to investigate this new incident and he reached the same evening. He was shocked to see more destruction just days after the attack on the church in Mardan.

On Saturday a large number of civil society activists and members of the Christian community held a demonstration, urging the authorities to protect them from the extremists who attacked and damaged a church and threatened to kill an innocent teenager caught up in a swarm of hatred.  Literally hundreds of Christians braved the animosity directed towards then to vent their frustrations against the injustice meted out upon them. The protesters chanted slogans and demanded security for the minority communities and their places of worship. They demanded that the attackers should be punished under the law.

Father Mohan Victor of the local Catholic Parish Church of St Francis said;

"There were two wedding ceremonies being held at our church when the attack commenced.  200 to 300 people were attending when suddenly without warning a big large vehement mob gathered outside the church.  The rioters started pelting stones at the church and visitors and attacked us with sticks. 

He added;

The mob entered the church compound and smashed the cars and motorcycles parked there. Flowerpots, windows and doors of the church were irreparably damaged."

Father Mohan described how as soon as the mob entered the compound visitors and clergy sought refuge in the church building, hiding upstairs in the dark, ensuring all lights were turned off and no noise could be heard.  The attack continued for more than 90 minutes and parishioners, clergy and visitors held silent prayers full of anxiety and fear.

"I called some friends and asked them to get the POlice to our church, thankfully  police arrived soon afterwards. Gunshots were heard from outside the church and the mob dispersed." Said Father Mohan.

He commented further;

"There is no reason for the attack we have done nothing to warrant this".

Saleem Khokher a prominent member of the sindh assembly said;

"When I received a call about the attack on the church, I immediately called the administration and soon after the police arrived there.  They dispersed the mob in timely fashion and most effectively. Soon after the attack I reached at the spot and told a Police official to launch an  FIR."

.Police said they had registered a case against unknown people who had attacked the Catholic Church. Shamim will be uploading a copy for wider perusal on this blog by tomorrow.

Monday 15 October 2012

What is the best electoral system for Pakistan? Shamim Maish discusses

Islamabad Pakistan (SHAMIM  MASIH):

It is the misfortune of Pakistani Christians that they have been facing a crises of Christian political leadership since partition. A strong and visionary political leadership is the best solution to end  Christian persecution.

Thus far, only Julius Salik and Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti rose as visionary political figures in Pakistani Christians leadership.

The discourse on the method of minority representation in parliament has hovered around joint electorate system verses separate electorate for decades.

Pakistan Christian Post (PCP), in a recent memorandum to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has demanded minority representation in parliament on the basis of dual voting rights, after members from the Christian and Hindu community expressed serious reservations on the joint electorate system introduced by former President Parvaiz Musharaf in the year 2000.

Dual Voting Rights is an electoral system through which religious minorities can elect their representatives in Parliament - similar to separate electorates - whilst simultaneously voting for general seat candidates.

Highlighting the joint electorate system as one based on patronage, the PCP have said that the joint electorate system empowers “Muslim political parties to distribute minority reserved seats in parliament in a ratio to their seats in assemblies through selection of their favored religious minority leaders, often after taking bribes in millions of rupees.”

I hope our future Christian leaders assess the needs of our community and challenge for appropriate electoral reform, working together across part divides to ensure the best possible solution for our long suffering communities.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Forced marriage, forced labour and police force of 'law'

A number of recent stories (plus one we missed from August) centre around force.  Firstly, Christian MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar has submitted his recommendations for legislation around forced conversions and marriages.  As readers of this blog will know, the kidnap, rape, forced conversion and marriage of minority girls, particularly Christians and Hindus, is epidemic in Pakistan.  He cited ignorance, illiteracy and poverty as major factors in the phenomenon.

His suggestions include :
The automatic and immediate registering of a First Information Report (FIR) the moment someone reports a Hindu or Christian woman has been kidnapped.
A judicial officer, rather than a policeman should be in charge of the investigation.
If the girl is found, she should be taken to the regional safe house.  If she has been found to have converted, she should be kept in the safe house free from outside influence for 21 days to consider her decision, and the law enforcement agencies should be vigilant to enforce this.  (As an aside, while this measure would be a good start, the problem is that one means of control is the threat of killing or making false allegations of blasphemy against the girls family to keep her compliant).

He repeatedly noted that he is not being given security by the government, despite both Shahbhaz Bhatti and a Sindh MPA Malik Mohammed Atta being assassinated for standing up for the rights of minorities.

Protest against Blasphemy at no 10

We enclose a video of highlights from last weekends protest about blasphemy laws at 10 Downing Street.  Thanks to World-Wide Ethnic Broadband TV for the video.  They currently have it as the top video on their site.

Blasphemy, bible, children and sharia: Karachi, Bangladesh and Egypt

As we have seen, Muslim extremists have no compunction in attacking children and the vulnerable. They did it with Rimsha, and now the Taliban have shot a courageous 14 year old Muslim girl as she waited for her school bus, because she has exposed their atrocities and stood up for education for girls and the rights of women which they despise.  The pitiful excuse from Pakistani Taliban?  'Whoever leads a campaign against Sharia and Islam is ordered to be killed by Sharia'.
Oh yes, lets shoot unarmed schoolgirls and claim she was leading a campaign against 'Sharia'.  Was she?  If Sharia involves the oppression of women and the massacres of innocents, then yes she did.
Apparently it is 'obligatory' to kill such courageous people.  They justify it by citing the example of one of the companions of the prophet of Islam who killed his blind wife for using words against the prophet, a prophet who praised that self same act.  It also justifies the killing of the young by referring to an alleged godly and righteous teacher of Moses mentioned in the Koran who killed a child, and justified by saying that the child would bring a 'bad name' upon his godly parents.
This is the kind of pathetic and satanic excuse that these Taliban barbarians use for trying to murder an innocent and unarmed schoolgirl in cold blood.  If you want to read what they said (and their claim that they did not attack her because of her educational work, and that it is all lies of the media - see here.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Karachi erupts in more violence towards Christians! Another teenager chrged under the Blasphemy Law!

Image of protest against false blasphemy charge held on Friday.

Burnt remains form home of teenage blasphemy victim Ryan.

Police Officers and humanitarians work to protect Ryan and his mother.  
BPCA's Shamim Masih on Right.


Whilst the world watches Pakistan deteriorate into anarchy following the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a young Muslim Teenage activist campaigning against gender discrimination in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and  the arrest under the blasphemey laws of Rimsha Masih the teenage Christian with a mental illness, another case of blasphemy was reported to police on Wednesday, 10th October against a Christian teenager.  

Ryan Stanten Patris a 15 year old boy from a middle-class region of Karachi has now been accused of sending blasphemous texts to Muslim friends.  The rumour resulted in the home of the teenager being ransacked and set alight, during a deplorable incident in which the local imam followed the usual routine of inciting hatred against the defenceless accused family.

Often the Pakistani authorities try to allay fears of potential widespread hatred Christians throughout Pakistan, by suggesting that victims are from rural areas.  Yet this victim like so many others that are brushed under the carpet are from a relatively affluent area - the middle-class neighbourhood of Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Karachi.

The incident took place within staff colony of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) located at the junction of University Road and Abu al Hasan Ispahani Road, Karachi.  

Police have said that the allegations of blasphemous text messages had been laid by local residents surrounding this family.   The text was said to have sent on Tuesday (9th October) was forwarded through a number of local people from the colony including residents and workers creating great anger towards the boy and his family.

Ms Bryan worked as a superintendent at the SSGC and was warned of the fomenting of hatred and was able to escape to a safe place before the attack. A Senior Police Officer from the area said;

“Had they not left the house, the situation could have been really bad,” 

After the turmoil police reached the scene and succumbing to the mob tried to appease them by assuring them that police would register  a blasphemy case against Ryan Brian.

A case (FIR No 432/2012) under Section 295-C (use of derogatory remarks, etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet) of the Pakistan Penal Code, Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act and Section 25 of the Telegraph Act was later registered at the Mobina Town police station.

A duty officer of the police station said;

"An FIR has been registered against Ryan Stanten, son of Ms Bryan, a resident of SSGC staff colony on a complaint received from SSGC chief manager Khursheed Alam."

Describing the trend as very dangerous, in which the Christians were being targeted, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chief Zohra Yousaf said that people had become very scared.

Earlier in August, a 14-year-old Christian girl, Rimsha Masih, had been accused of blasphemy by a cleric in a suburban neighbourhood of Islamabad. She was finally released by a court and had to be airlifted to an undisclosed location for security reasons.

Earlier in 2009, under FIR No. 767, dated 28.11.2008 under sections 295-c/109 PPC, 25-D Telegraph act, Pakistani Additional Session Judge, Muhammad Sarfraz Akhter in Rawalpindi acquitted the accused Hector Aleem, Basharat Khokhar and Robin Masih in a similar case.

After that favourable hearing the court declared in its report, “in a nutshell on the basis of illegalities committed by investigating agencies of the police and the prosecution service, the prosecution has failed to prove the charge against all the said accused persons. They are therefore, hereby acquitted of the charge.

Wilson Chowdhry of the BPCA said;

"We pray for their protection and for justice in another unwarranted use of the draconian blasphemy laws of Pakistan. Malevolent injustice with impunity, threatens to decimate Pakistani society.  We challenge the Pakistani Authorities to stand-up to these extremists and to terminate this hijacking of a nation from within. Only a strong-willed determined effort towards change will stop the rot that has undermined progressed in a country with so much initial promise."

Ruthless militants shoot teenage activist Malala Yousafzai in head for challenging Talibanism!

14 year old Malala shot for defying the Taliban.

We call on people of all faiths to denounce the vicious attack on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.  This defenceless teenager was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman after a BBC diary she wrote about increasing extremism and gender discrimination under Taliban occupied Khyber Pakhtunkwa, gained worldwide support.

The regular killing of humanitarian activists on Pakistan has ensured few raise there heads above the parapet.  It is essential that voices in the west condemn this activity.  Life has become a worthless commodity in Pakistan and the moral codes that most of us are inherently endowed with, seems to have missed Pakistan's avaricious and pernicious society - this child was only 14 the same age as poor Rimsha, but youth did not protect them from being targeted for hatred.  Both have faced extreme intolerance and persecution for their beliefs/ideologies in a nation that has simply imploded through poor governance.

Read the BBC report here:

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Pastor shot, imam kidnapped

On the evening of 30th September, two Muslim extremists shot and wounded a Presbyterian pastor in Faisalabad, while hurling abuse at the Christian faith.  As the pastor was walking with a young man from church, Nabeel Hussain and another unknown person, shoved Pastor Babar Bhatti to the ground and then shot him while shouting abusive and crude words about Jesus and Christians.  Pastor Bhatti has received several threats over the last while from Muslim extremists who are unhappy about his working in non-Christian areas.  He has also had a false blasphemy case made against him by an Imam several years ago, but the local administration defended him against the malicious attack.


In a separate development, Tahir Ashrafi, a very senior and somewhat extremist Islamic cleric who nevertheless has spoken up for Rimsha Masih to some degree, was kidnapped on Thursday evening, apparently after visiting the German embassy.  Security forces and police quickly reacted and recovered him, but unconscious after apparently being drugged.  Sources say that his kidnappers were arrested.  Reasons for the kidnap are so far unknown - or at least not made public.

Source 1 and 2

Monday 8 October 2012

Sister of Rimsha sheds tears over the treatment of her family!

Rimsha's sister Mehwish Saleem describes her pain at being prevented from seeing Rimsha and her parents.

Today we received a report back from the intrepid Shamim Masih who yesterday met with Rimsha's sister. He had spoken to Wilson over the weekend and they both agreed it would be of great benefit to meet with Rimsha's family to gain better insight of the pain they feel and  to create a global empathy amongst our BPCA   family of readers.

It is so easy to forget that the treatment Rimsha has received affects so many others and many of the most affected are her nearest and dearest.

Rimsha Maish has a married sister her name is Mehwish Saleem and she is now 20 years of age.  Mehwish has been in anguish since the initial accusation and arrest of Rimsha.  Living with her in-laws she has not been able to meet with her biological family as much as she would have liked to.  She has been unable to provide solace to her mother and father barring a few telephone calls and limited visits during the incipient phase of this case.

In a frank interview Mehwish said;

"I miss my sister and parents so much, this whole episode has been gut wrenching.  I just wanted to hug Rimsha but never even got to speak with her."

In tears she added;

"I prayed frevently for her to receive bail and God answered my prayers. I thought this would be an opportunity for me to meet my siblings and parents again, but so far I have not even been able to speak over the phone with them."

Mehwish was visited by her maternal aunt, Parveen Bibi, while Shamim visited. The family had a moment of reflection over readings from the bible (Psalm 40) and prayer, they gave thanks to God for the mercy he has shown to Rimsha.

Parveen Bibi said;

"I do not even now where my sister, my niece and the rest of this side of my family are staying.  We are normally so close and I now feel as if an arm has been ripped of my body." 

She commented further;

"The only reason I know anything about them is due to the frequent news stories.  I am watching the news more than I ever have before - I just want to know that they are safe."

Mehwish described the anguish and pain she feels that keeps her awake most nights.  She is calling for a chance to be reunited with her family even for a few moments.  She said;

"I don't know what will happen to them it seems liek so many people hate my poor sister and family.  They have done no wrong?  Please Paul Bhatti let me see Rimsha and my parents again."

Mehwish and Parveen feel failed by the system and hope that justice will prevail and that their family will one day be reunited and allowed to rebuild their lives.

According to Mehwish (Rimsha's sister) their family members are as follows:

Misrak Masih (father)
Irshad Bibi (mother)
Mehwish Saleem (married sister)
Sehrish Adeel      (married sister) lives in Gujranwala
Mishal Masih (Sister lives with current family)
Rimsha Masih (accused)
Nihal Masih (Sister)
Anosh (younger brother)

Shamim interviews Mehwish.

Parveen Bibi (Maternal aunt to Rimsha), Shamim Masih and Mehwish Saleem.

Families from Rimsha Masih's home town are continuing to be threatened, are jobless and still require assistance.  Please continue to call and pray for compensation and a restoration of peace for these families.

The BPCA would appreciate any further donations towards the daily needs of these families, who are in need of a lot more support.  If you believe someone you know would be willing to contribute please send this request to them.  

If you would like to contribute to this "Rimsha Masih Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay in several ways;

Firstly by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog. Just click the yellow oval with the words donate and follow instructions. 

You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;

British Pakistani Christian Association.
Address : British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane
IG1 1XG 

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 

Sort Code: 20-67-90 
Account Number: 63468976 

Sunday 7 October 2012

2 Timothy 3:12 "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted..." ESV

"Abide with Me" is a Christian hymn written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte.
He wrote it in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

1. Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

2. Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day; earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me.

3. I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

4. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness. Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

5. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Friday 5 October 2012

Catholic Urdu prayers have kept a record of the Rimsha Case including BPCA Media success!

Please view the link below by Catholic Urdu Prayer who have linked in much of the media coverage over the Rimsha case:

Our community is finally working together and promoting each others work with great affect!

300 disenfranchised students of Mardan have had no access to educational facilities since their school was burnt down

Children at St Paul's School Mardan now have no school resources and feel very unsafe.

Shamim Masih met with Bishop Majeed and school teachers to see how we (wider Christians) could help.

Islamabad Pakistan (Shamim Masih):  

St Paul's School in Mardan has not been able to provide educational services to the 300 children that have been attending their school, since the fire to their school building and the local church.  

A Muslim mob numbering in its thousands looted the school and church during their destructive rampage of these Christian institutions, following the release of an anti-Islamic movie in America.

Students included a wide diversity of children including manyof an Islamic background, say's the school.

Eleesheba a school teacher, who lives in the church compound said;

"During the attack these extremists burnt everything,  Our building was destroyed even the metal in the structure has evaporated. This attack seems contrived, it was not a a sudden attack.  What they did is unforgettable. We thank God we managed to escape from the building."

She added;

"In parallel to routine curriculum study we have been teaching on tolerance and community harmony as a priority. There has been no discrimination amongst our school students and many were of a Muslim background. Now our students are terribly frightened and many fear returning to their classes. I do not  know how much time it will take to regain their confidence and initiate classes"

Saadia Manwer, a Sunday school teacher is worried about what she terms an 'alarming situation'. She said;

"We normally have a huge attendance of more than 100 Christian children at Sunday school, during our regular church service. Since this incident we have been unable to hold these classes due to a lack of  helpers.  We have now got the volunteers to start again but have no resources as they were all burnt in the fire.  We are hoping that churches in the global community might donate Sunday school material, so that we might start again.  We would be extremely grateful."

Raaima, an 8 year old girl, bitterly wept when asked about the incident, she said;  

"It was horrible. These evil people burnt our toys they have not even left us any chairs  to sit on."

Meerab, a girl of 9 years said; 

"I will become a doctor and will serve my people."

Nirmat, a teenage girl of 12 years who fortunately escaped the attack, said; 

"I  was so scared and just feel like crying, I felt helpless during the attack"

Shamim was brought to tears by the accounts from the Children and other victims of this incident.  In the aftermath of the attack in Gojra he had visited the area and remembers the destruction. During an emotional outburst he told us of his despair, he said;

"I remember that children were burnt alive in Gojra and just like young people caught up in that attack, I have no answer to give these children either. They are asking me why their community has been treated like this - why they are so hated? How do I tell them that this is the cost of their love for our Christ?  How do I tell them that this is what they can expect for the rest of their lives?"

Wilson Chowdhry Chairperson for the BPCA commented;

"This has been another unwarranted attack on a Christian enclave, despite the solid attempts by Christians in Mardan to promote community cohesion, through non-discriminatory student recruitment and interfaith harmony lessons within schools, they have still attracted local hatred. These heart-breaking accounts reinforce the perceptions of fear prevalent in this despondent community.  It is essential that Pakistani authorities bring security and peace to people living there, so that they can initiate the necessary processes to rebuild their shattered lives."

We are calling for UK Churches and Parishioners to send us Sunday School materials and resources so that we can cater for the need of the 100 children, bereft of their usual activities.

Please send us books, paints, blank and lined paper, colouring pencils, sharpeners, felt and other resources that we might compensate this church for what was taken for them.  Please do not be concerned about sending too much as any excess will be delivered to other churches in Pakistan.  Books can be in English or Urdu/Panjabi.

Items should be sent to our address as follows:

British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane

If you would like to contribute financially to the rebuilding of lives in Mardan then please use the following details:

The BPCA has launched a fund to assist with security for this community and aid for the occupants of the homes  looted and burnt in this attack. 

"Mardan Church Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay in several ways;
Pay by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog and electronic means of transfer will be initiated when you click donate written in the yellow oval. 

You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;

"British Pakistani Christian Association"  Use address above.

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 

Sort Code: 20-67-90 
Account Number: 63468976