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Monday 25 March 2013

High Commissioner responds to our email and petitions submitted during our 2nd March protest.

(Click image to enlarge)

Prime Minister's speech on immigration - press briefing, 24 March 2013

The Prime Minister will today (Monday) set out a fair and balanced cross-Government immigration system that favours people who work hard and aspire to get on in life.

David Cameron will say immigration continues to have huge benefits to our island nation and we can be proud of how open and diverse we are.

But he will add it is right to have a sensible debate about making sure that everyone who comes here pays their way and gives something back. The Government will do this by:
· stopping our benefits system from being such a “soft touch”;

1 making entitlement to our key public services something migrants earn – not an automatic right; and 2 bringing the full force of government together to crack down on illegal working.

The Prime Minister is expected to say: “While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration I have also always believed that immigration has to be properly controlled.

“As I have long argued, under the last government this simply wasn’t the case. Immigration was far too high and badly out of control. Net migration needs to come down radically from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands.

“And as we bring net migration down so we must also make sure that Britain continues to benefit from it. That means ensuring that those who do come here are the brightest and the best the people we really need with the skills and entrepreneurial talent to create the British jobs and growth that will help us to win in the global race.

“And it also means ensuring that the system is fair so that we support the aspirations of hard working people who want to get on in life. This is about building that aspiration nation I have been talking about.”

New measures to be set out by the Prime Minister include: CUTTING ACCESS TO BENEFITS For non-UK nationals after 6 months The current Home Office Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations state that someone who enters the UK in order to seek employment means they have a ‘right to reside’ as a job seeker. This means they can claim Job Seekers Allowance and other benefits.

To ensure people cannot claim benefits indefinitely, in early 2014 we will create a statutory presumption that after 6 months an EEA national can no longer retain their status as a job seeker or retained worker and continue to claim benefits, unless they can demonstrate they have actively sought work throughout that period and have a genuine chance of finding work.

Cracking down on those who have no right to work in the UK from claiming contributory benefits Currently some immigrants are exploiting a loophole which allows them to claim contributory benefits based on their National Insurance contributions despite not having the right to work in the UK. This can happen when someone has worked in the UK and paid NI but then overstayed their visa. Closing this loophole will prevent payment of contributory benefits to those with no right to work in the UK at the point of their claim.
Tougher Habitual Residence Test We will strengthen the test people have to pass to see if they are eligible to claim income related benefits – the Habitual Residence Test. There will be an increase in the number and stronger range and depth of questions asked.

The Prime Minister is expected to say: "Ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare. We’re going to give migrants from the EEA a very clear message. Just like British citizens, there is no absolute right to unemployment benefit.”

STOPPING 'SOMETHING FOR NOTHING' PUBLIC SERVICES Social housing We will introduce an expectation on councils to introduce a local residency test in determining who should qualify for social housing. This would mean someone would have to live in an area for say 2 or 5 years before they could even go on the waiting list.

This will stop someone from turning up and immediately gaining access to social housing. To ensure UK nationals are protected when they are moving for genuine reasons – for example for work or because of family breakdown – local authorities will have the ability to set exceptions (e.g. in relation to work mobility, armed services personnel, for people escaping domestic violence etc).

Stopping health tourism We want to stop the expectation that our health service is free to the entire world and we will take new steps to ensure the NHS can claim back money that is owed for NHS treatment provided to those not entitled to it. We will look to introduce stricter charging or a requirement for non-EEA temporary migrants to have private health insurance in order to access NHS care. Countries like the US and Australia already expect people to have insurance – we want to do the same. This will ensure we can reclaim costs when people are treated by the NHS.

The Prime Minister is expected to say: "But we should be clear that what we have is a free National Health Service, not a free International Health Service."

CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION Toughening up enforcement Key enforcement organisations will be brought together to form more local and national taskforces to target hotspots of high employment and housing abuse and there will be tougher action on rogue businesses who employ illegal workers by doubling maximum penalties to £20,000. Biometric residence permits will make it easier to identify illegal immigrants.

Rogue landlords We will introduce a new legal requirement for landlords to check the migration status of new tenants, so they are not renting to an illegal immigrant. Landlords/letting agents will be expected to demand suitable evidence from tenants (passport/valid visa/Biometric Residence Permit) and to keep a record. For UK nationals proving their status will be straightforward - simply showing a passport, driving licence or birth certificate in most cases.

Rogue landlords who flout the rules and fail to take sufficient checks will face tough consequences, which could include a fine.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Government Cheques to victims of Badami Bagh bounce!

Pakistani Christians chant slogans during a demonstration demanding that the government rebuild their homes after they were burned down following an alleged blasphemy incident, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, March 10, 2013. The incident in Lahore began on Friday, March 8, 2013 after a Muslim accused a Christian man of blasphemy, an offence that in Pakistan is punished by life in prison or death. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Some 265 cheques distributed by the Pakistani government to Christian victims of an Islamist terror attack in Joseph Colony have bounced.

The cheques were meant to serve as compensation for a March 9 attack in which an over 3,000-member mob set fire to more than 150 Christian homes in Joseph Colony after alleged blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammad were made by Sawan Masih, a 28-year-old Christian sanitation worker.
The Express Tribune reports:
LAHORE: The cheques distributed among victims of the Joseph Colony attack by the Punjab government bounced, Express News reported Thursday. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had announced (Rupees) 5 million in compensation for each of those affected in the mob attack. However, the 265 cheques distributed by the government have bounced.
According to reports, the finance ministry had issued the amount promised. When the cheques bounced, the victims started protesting.
Islamic scholar Robert Spencer observes that it is not surprising the checks bounced, as those considered infidels are not entitled to monetary compensation by Muslims. Rather, it is the other way around. Of course Spencer is referring to the “jizya” — a poll tax Islamic leaders demand of their non-Muslim subjects.
Quoting from the Quran 9:29:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

(h/t: Jihad Watch)

Shamim Mahmood BPCA's Pakistan Officer said:

"Compensation cheques people of Badami Bagh had received from the Punjab Government have bounced back and proposed reconstruction of victims homes, is of a poor standard.  Buildings have simply been painted over and cracks are there that can problems at any time."

He added;

"Dispossessed families are still suffering and Easter celebrations will be muted this year.  Children will soon be returning to school for the new term and will need excercise and text books, stationary, school bags etc."  

Shamim continued;

"Tomorrow morning I will be going to attend the proceeding of the case, as mentioned previously the Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken sue motto action against the incident.  Rimsha Masih's case has re-opened again in the apex court and Christians in Pakistan are feeling more demoralised then ever."

Saturday 23 March 2013

Rimsha Masih trial reopens!


The Supreme Court of Pakistan has accepted an application by Prosector Malik Ummad to re-open Rimsha Masih's case.

Earlier on January 16, 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) had dismissed a final appeal against Rimsha Masih during her blasphemy case, effectively ending all legal proceedings on the issue.

On 22nd March, the bench of three judges headed by Justice Tasdaq Hussain Gilani made an order for the case to proceed again.

According to sources, Rimsha’s complainant has filed an application in the apex court to review the decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), which is accepted by the SC.

Earlier Islamabad High Court (IHC) had removed all charges against Rimsha.

No Counsel represented Rimsha Masih during the hearing.

Friday 22 March 2013

Redbridge Easter Parade and Festival

(Click image to see enlarge flyer)

Redbridge is to hold its first ever Easter Parade and Festival this year through a collaboration of a number of local churches.  The event details are as follows:

Date:               31st March 2013 (Easter Day)
Time:              14:00 procession starts at Cranbrook Baptist Church
Time:              15:00 United Churches of Ilford Outreach and Praise Concert
Venue:            Ilford Town Centre (Town Hall steps for Concert)
Activities:       Facepainting, Music, Food stalls, Henna, Children's Art workshop, Bible debate,  Learn more about Jesus stall, Book stalls, jewellery, Bouncy Castle and much more. 

So far Participating churches include:

City Gates Church
Clementswood Baptist Church
Cranbrook Baptist Church
Eden Christian Centre
Grace Church
Ilford Methodist Church
High Road Baptist Church
Kings Church
Salvation Army Ilford

Guest Performers include:


Ooberfuse brings together the very best of western and eastern musical traditions. ooberfuse is a london based Catholic electro pop band composed of hal, cherrie and nico. it's all about fusing bold melodies with cool harmonies!

Learn more here:

Colin Burns:

Born in Northern Ireland, but living in various locations including Germany and the Falkland Islands, Colin Burns’music reflects his varied upbringing. He began writing songs in his teens, taking classical guitar lessons that strongly shaped his musical style. Listening to rock and pop but studying classical guitar, he began to develop the rich blend of techniques that marks his playing out today.

At our Easter Festival Colin Burns will be playing songs from his new debut album "Emerald and Gold":

Combining classical and popular influence, guitarist Colin Burns introduces his debut album Emerald & Gold. The project brings together compositions from many years with the painter-turned-performer fusing instrumental dexterity  and melodic poetry.

The record is a mix of instrumental compositions and songs, with strong spiritual themes running throughout. Awake the Dawn draws on Psalm 57, and the Sweet Lightning talks about the Holy Spirit though the imagery of a storm. The album also includes two collaborations with Texan wordsmith Peter
Nevland. The tracks resulted from a suggestion by acclaimed producer Andy Baker, who recommended the use of spoken word poetry to compliment Burns’ guitar instrumentation.

An eclectic and impressive debut, Emerald & Gold offers listeners a fresh perspective on folk, faith and fingerpicking.

Learn more here:

Thursday 21 March 2013

Silent Testimony

By John Newton Aid to the Church in Need

THE leader of Catholics in north-east Libya has said he and his faithful will stand firm and continue undeterred despite an arson attack on a church and the arrest of Christian evangelists. 
            Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Sylvester Magro of Benghazi described how the Church was providing “silent testimony” through its charitable and pastoral activities.
Asked about the torching of St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Benghazi on Thursday (14th March), he said: “No one was expecting a reaction like that.”
Explaining the attack, the bishop said: “There was a protest in Cairo [Egypt’s capital] and this looks like a retaliation for that protest.”
The attack came in response to an anti-Libyan protest in Cairo following the death of Ezzat Atallah, an Egyptian Christian, aged 45.
Mr Atallah reportedly died of natural causes in a Benghazi prison on 10th March, after being arrested with three other men in February on a charge of proselytising.
He was suffering from a heart condition and had diabetes.
Bishop Magro described how – despite such setbacks – the Church was continuing its mission.
He said: “Notwithstanding the difficulties that may crop up every now and then, we strive to continue with our silent testimony of worship, of faith, of trust, of confidence and growth in the Word of God.
His comments come after reports of 48 Coptic Orthodox traders kidnapped late last month after complaints about their religious imagery on vendors’ boards and stalls in Benghazi.
In a video seized by police, the traders appear locked in a small room, watched over by men with long Salafist-style beards.
Many of those kidnapped have cuts, bruises and shaven heads.
The bishop, a member of the Franciscan order which has been working in the country since 1628, praised the work of the Sisters of Immaculate Conception of Ivrea who help poor Christians.
            Most Catholics in Libya are from the Philippines or North Africa and many earn less than others in the country.
Bishop Magro who oversees the Apostolic Vicariate of Benghazi, said: “This apostolate run by Sisters from Tanzania provides the Church with a living image of interesting itself in the poor, as Pope Francis said at his installation.
             “In all situations we try to help [using] the donations provided by the Holy Father himself – we have much pastoral work also and humanitarian or charitable activity.”
            Aid to the Church in Need provided the vicariate with a vehicle enabling priests to offer Mass in remote areas at least twice a month.
Bishop Magro said: “Our Vicariate extends from Marsa al Burayqah Misratah on the gulf of Sirte up to Tubruq in the east, close to the Egyptian border, and the towns on the coast road, like Al Marj, Al Bayda, Tubruq itself, have Christian Catholic communities in each town and we are always travelling… to these mission stations.
“From Burayqah to Benghazi there are 300km roughly from Benghazi to Tubruq there are 500km, so 800 in all, and that makes the car work very hard.
            The bishop thanked Aid to the Church in Need for its support.
 He said: “I would like to thank all the benefactors that contribute through ACN because it is only through them that we can operate in our mission.
“And may God reward all those who generously donate their support – because their names are known to him alone – but we offer our prayers in supplication to the Lord for their intentions.”

St Josephs Colony tents removed despite houses in poor condition?

Shamim Masih (Lahore):

According to local sources, people of St Joseph's colony have become concerned as Police are preventing trucks getting close to the colony many of which are there to provide aid to the beleaguered victims of the recent attack.  Local Police won't let aid agencies take pictures of the demoralising conditions that victims are living in or the aid being provided.  This is believed by locals to be due to the Government wishing to hide the extent of problems and wanting all credit for restoration.

Much of the reconstruction work is useless, involving simple repair to some broken walls, and painting over cracked, unstable walls.

A local man resident informed us;

"All TV channels have been prevented access, visitors are being discouraged to go there and help people, so the govt could say all work is done by them alone"

Tents  have now been demolished yet houses are not repaired completely and people are finding themselves in a dire state.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Pakistani Christians of Scotland react to Lahore attack!

Protesters called for peace and an end to persecution.

Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the BPCA shouts for justice.

A protest outside the Pakistani Consulate of Glasgow (18th March 2013) in the significantly Asian community of Pollokshields, called for abrogation of the Blasphemy laws of Pakistan and better protection for minorities living there. The event was organised by Sheem Gill of the Scottish Asian Christian Fellowship and Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association. 

Close to 100 Pakistani Christians illustrated their frustration over the recent attack on the Christian community of St Joseph's town Saturday 9th March.  The attack took place after a Christian man was accused by a Muslim friend of saying a blasphemy against the prophet Muhammed. In the ensuing violence over 170 homes and 2 churches were razed to the ground, after local imams galvanised a mob of 300 to loot and destroy the Christian community enraged by the purported blasphemy.

Christians gathered outside the Consulate form 10:00am and shouted slogans calling for an end to the blasphemy laws and justice for the victims of St Joseph's town, Badami Bagh.  

Sheem Gill (SACF) called for unity amongst people of good conscience and a global campaign to highlight awareness of the suffering of minorities in Pakistan. 

Revd Peter Gill called for Christians to pray for divine intervention from God to bring peace to minorities in Pakistan.  Pastor Shamoan Tufail, expressed dismay at the suffering of minorities in Pakistan he decried the inaction of local police, who stood back and allowed the violent attack to continue unabated.

Pakistani Christians were joined by Muslims, Sikhs and Christians of wider diversities all upset by the increasing sectarian violence destroying the fabric of society in Pakistan. Guest speakers included; The Revd Peter Gill (Wallneuk North Church of Scotland), The Revd Alex (Victory Church), Mr Sardar Ghauri (SACF), Linda Loxburh (Release International), The Revd Fateh Din, Pastor Shamoan Tufail,  Khalid Sarwar (Equality Insaaf), Dr Amjad Mirza (Shab Rose) and Cllr Shabbar Jaffri.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said;

"The failings of the Government of Pakistan have created huge schism amongst its people.  The incidents of violence meted out against minority communities has reached an all time high.  The country has reached a nadir in its record for human rights."

He added;

"Christians in Pakistan have contributed so much to the country.  Recently departed war hero Cecil Chaudhry received the highest honours for bravery, Pervez Masih a Christian Janitor died while saving 400 Muslim girls, at a school in Islamabad October 20th 2009." 

He further added;

"MP Singha the pre-partition speaker for the Punjab National Assembly voted for the province to join Pakistan, after a stalemate was reached during the initial vote - quite simply without his input Pakistan would never have been created.  Despite this valuable history our community and other minorities are presented as anathema in Pakistani literature and historical accounts, moreover our contribution is bereft of recognition. This only serves to breed hatred and contempt!" 

Sheem Gill,  Chairman of the Scottish Asian Christian Fellowship said;

"The blasphemy laws of Pakistan have for too long, become an opportunity for those settling personal vendettas or political motivations.  The Government of Pakistan should abrogate the laws immediately."

Dr Amjad Mirza, President of Shab Rose, said; 

"Religious violence is a direct result of using religion for political motives.The blasphemy law in Pakistan must remove the death penalty."

A petition was submitted to the Consulate of Pakistan with a request for a response.  A copy of the petition can be signed here:

Old and young wanted to make their voices heard.

Over seven ministers of Pakistani origin joined the protest.

Christians prayed for succour and peace for the victims of the St Joseph's attack.

Muslim Group Equality Insaaf joined the protest.

Muslim leader Amjad Mirza holding a BPCA poster with images of the attack.

Loud voices decried the treatment of Pakistani minorities.

Prayer after prayer was said for victims of St Joseph's Colony.

Christians hold the cross as they face the Pakistani Consulate.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

BPCA deliver food and clothing for victims of St Joseph's but more help needed!

BPCA Distributors gathered by our permanently located flag on the first tent at entry point.

St Joseph's Colony once a proud Christian town (further images at end of post).

BPCA have now provided food and clothing to all residents of St Joseph's town on three visits.  Orange juice, water, milk, bread and cooked rice have ensured that affected families are receiving essential nutrients. 

Our volunteers have spent time encouraging residents and have prayed for those who are frightened, sick, injured or simply desire prayer.  Volunteers led by Yousaf Arman including Waqar Peter Younis and Sharoon Yousaf, spoke of great need for further assistance.  Sharoon Yousaf said;

"Children were so excited by our gifts is was heart-warming to see they still trusted us, though strangers, despite the recent attack."

He added;

"Babies have been crying for milk and mothers who have not been able to breast feed have had to beg local shopkeepers for supplies, many have created tabs that will need to be compensated."

Yousaf Arman said:

"The living conditions of this community is disgraceful, knowing that this attack was unprovoked makes my blood boil.  More liberal Muslims are offering help to this local community but they are poor themselves.  At least there is a growing understanding amongst this majority population that this attack was wrong"

A local mosque has allowed the use of it's toilet facilities, however, through fear, the majority of local residents have been using latrines that have been dug out of the earth and have a tent covering.  The hygiene levels in the community are particularly low at this point and  residents have spoken of their desire for kitchen and sanitary facilities for their health and well being.

We would like to repair at least two local toilets, showers and kitchens in some of the damaged homes.  These could be used communally by local victims who find themselves dispossessed of their former residences. For this we are asking for donations to support this essential work, which we would like to complete as soon as possible.

Yousaf Arman described the need for more aid;

"Unless more aid is provided many of these victims are going to suffer disease and other health concerns.  Already there is a spread of dysentry in the community and only recently Lahore was ravaged by dengue fever.  Hygiene has become a secondary concern as people seek food and safety." 

A local child has already been struck by amoebic dysentery and we wish to control and prevent this and other diseases before concerns rise to epidemic levels.

We are continuing our disaster recovery fund and if you would like to donate to it, please use the following details:

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.
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

All donations should be referenced: St Joseph's Disaster Recovery Fund.

Children excited by drinks and sweets for them.

Clothes and food distributed to every home.

Volunteers from several groups joined us.

Prayer for a child with dissentry.

Travel for volunteers by humble means to maximise costs for delivery.

Homes being rebuilt by the community - we have donated bricks and building supplies.

The restoration will be slow and there is need for more building supplies.

Fresh water supplies are currently limited so drinks were provided to thirsty victims, to prevent spread of disease.

Milk was provided to mothers to feed their little ones.

We have now delivered food and clothing to residents on three visits.

Determined volunteers sought to help the beleaguered community of St Joseph's town.

Politicians interfere in Christian OAP police torture-murder case

The victim Niamat Masih - justice denied and politically perverted

Last year we briefly reported on the appalling case of an elderly Christian tortured to death by police because his son eloped with a divorced Muslim woman.  The man, Niamat Masih had been hung upside down and beaten, after being accused, along with his two daughters, with 'kidnap' in an attempt to pressure them into revealing the whereabouts of the son (they had no idea, and had in fact disinherited him some time before).  He was held for 14 days, and when the bail period was coming to an end, the police transferred him to a local hospital.  They also threatened to arrest the two girls unless the Muslim woman was handed over to her father.  The local hospital claimed that Niamat was in 'perfect health' yet transferred him to a more advanced hospital where he died the next day of his wounds.  That hospital said that he died of 'cardiovascular pulmonary and cerebral vascular accident' but didn't say how these 'accidents' happened.  However, we do know that it has been the cause of death in people hung upside down in Kenya.  Later photo's showed clear signs of torture on his body.

In the meantime, it is alleged, the duaghters have been threatened with kidnapping charges, and in early January, judges ordered the local magistrate to investigate Niamat's death, but a general election coming up has resulted in a local Islamic political candidate, Naeem Ibrahim, has started to interfere, pressuring the poor and heart-broken Christian family to drop the judicial enquiry in return for the police dropping the charges against the daughters, and the police would then provide favours to Ibrahim in the elections.


Monday 18 March 2013

Fake Blasphemy, Fake 'Affair', Fake Theft

A Christian girl who worked as a maid for 8 years for a rich Muslim family in Lahore was released from the police cells after a Christian NGO intervened, after she was falsely accused of stealing $5500 dollars of jewelry from her employers house last month.  Arshad Bibi, aged 35 says that she did not do it, but was tortured into confessing by the police.  She is paid just $30 dollars a month for her work.  Typically the police had not investigated, but just took her mistresses word and sent her to prison.  The mistress instantly blamed the Christian when the jewelry was found to be missing.


A story we missed from January involved a Christian boy of 19, Mard-e-Khuda, who was killed after being falsely accused of having an affair with a Muslim girl.  Three Muslim men in the town of Bahawalpur in South-west Punjab publicly boasted they were going to kill the Christian and threatened him.  At about 5:30 in the morning on the 9th of January they broke into his house, and one man held him by the feet, the other by the hands, and the third man struck him with an axe, and then the other two men stabbed him to death with daggers.  The attackers fled when the boys father woke up and shouted.  A case was registered against the three men, Muhammad Shafique, Illyas (aka Eidoo) and Sufiyan, but the police have done nothing, and a more senior officer stated that the Muslims rightly killed the Christians because she was having an affair with a Muslim girl.  Hindu men in Pakistan have similarly been killed for having any kind of relationship (romantic or not) with Muslim girls.

Source 1,  2 and 3

Also in February, there was another attempt to falsely charge a Christian with blasphemy.  In Saddiqabad, in the very southwestern extremity of Punjab, a Muslim man called Sehar-ul-Zaman said that a cloth which the Christian, Jan Masih, used to spread on the floor and sit on, and sometimes sleep in, had 'the footprint of Mohammed' on it, and therefore this was blasphemy.  The same Muslim had accused a Christian boy of blasphemy by burning pages of the Quran last year, resulting in thousands of Muslims surrounding the police station and demanding he be handed over to be killed.  This time Sehar-ul-Zaman contacted the leaders of extremist groups with his accusations.  The man has been continually harrassing and blackmailing the Christian community and a Christian NGO contacted local Muslim leaders who investigated and completely exonerated Jan Masih, so thankfully the incident was contained, although his life is still in danger from extremists.  However, it took 2 days of negotiation to free the accused.


Stoned to death for dating

This does not concern Christians or minorities, but it does illustrate the barbarity of Pakistan.  A soldier who was posted to the tribal area near the border with Afghanistan developed a relationship with a local woman.  The tribesmen are the extremely conservative Pashtuns.  The soldier was posted elsewhere, but came back to see the woman, and locals caught the couple dating.  The tribal leaders met and decided that the soldier, named as Nooruddin Aalam, should be executed according to Islamic law for this 'crime'.  He was tied to the bonnet of a car and stoned to death, and reportedly also shot.  The woman's fate will be decided later.


Hope in Sindh - law on minority property passed unanimously

Last week, the Sindh provincial assembly passed a law unanimously that is designed to protect communal minority property and land from land grabs or purchase by the 'land-mafia'.

The bill 'Sindh Protection of Communal Properties of Minorities Bill 2013'  is particularly aimed at preventing these swindlers from seizing land on the pretext that they are required for development schemes.  We have noted that quite often these land mafia's have contacts within the planning and land departments.  The aim of this bill is to stop such land being used for purposes they are not meant to.  Any transfer, sale or purchase of communal minority lands such as graveyards will require a 'No Objection Certificate' from the provincial government, which has also promised to evict all land-grabbers from minority places of worship and graveyards.  Those who break the law face up to 7 years in jail.

Unfortunately another bill against forced conversion has been delayed.

The BPCA welcomes this change in law, and hope that it works well.  We encourage the Sindh provincial government agencies to enforce it rigorously, and for other regions of Pakistan, Punjab in particular, to follow the trail blazed by the Sindh province.


Extremists bomb gun victim girl's house

When Malala was shot by her school bus by the Taliban for daring to go to school and stand up for the right of women to education, the world took notice, but her two school mates who were also shot - although less seriously - have been forgotten.  Shazia and Kainat were also wounded in the attack, but they are still targets for terrorists.  The fact that the Taliban sees fit to bomb the house of Kainat (thankfully she escaped unharmed) tells you all you need to know about the barbaric nature and the cowardice of these snakes.


Sunday 17 March 2013

Rare success story - sweeper to judge

In a rare but encouraging case, a Christian called Labha Masih, whose parents are street cleaners, has passed his civil service exams and has apparently been appointed as a Judicial Magistrate.

Although the BPCA has concerns, since our understanding is that non-Muslim judges are barred from hearing many cases, we congratulate him and wish him well, and pray wisdom, blessing and protection for him, and we encourage readers to pray for him too.


People of good conscience met in Centenary Square, Bradford, to oppose the poor human rights record in Pakistan

Christians, Muslim's, Hindus, Sikhs and those with no particular faith joined a protest to appeal for better human rights in Pakistan.

Saturday 16th March was the date set for lead humanitarians from the north of England to appeal for better Human rights in Pakistan.  Members of the Amaddiyah, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and secular communities in Bradford, Huddersfield, Manchester and other Northeren cities, spoke about a range of atrocities that have shamed Pakistan throughout the world.   Three local Muslim Councillors of Pakistani origin (including Mohammed Shafiq), Canon Yacub Masih from Huddersfield, and many others joined the collaborative event organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association (through the family of Saleem Dutt - survivors of the attack on Shanti Nagar in 1997) and South Asian Peoples Forum.  Groups in attendance included the Socialist Workers Party and various anti-oppression groups. 

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"People of good conscience, set aside their differences to speak out against the ongoing suffering of so many diverse communities in Pakistan.  Politicians, community groups and religious leaders were united in their condemnation of the recent attack on the Christians of Badami Bagh, the killing of Hindu doctors, bombings of innocent Shia Muslims of Hazara origins and other sectarian violence. Together we called for reform of existing institutional and legal frameworks and for abrogation of the infamous blasphemy laws of Pakistan."

He added;

"Poor governance in Pakistan has led to the existing extremism and societal schism, only pragmatic policies that offer protection for minorities and promote equality will shape a new future for a country that has reached a nadir for human rights."

A copy of the BPCA Badami Bagh petition was  submitted to the Pakistani Consulate in Bradford.  Our next protest will be held at Glasgow Pakistani Consulate on Monday 18th March and the event is sponsored by the Asian Churches of Scotland through Sheem Gill.  Please pray for Wilson Chowdhry who had to drive back form Bradford on Saturday and will be leaving for Scotland later this evening.  Pray for a safe journey and for him to have strength to complete the journey.

The beautiful and loving families of Saleem Bhatti and Rager Banni - key organizers for Saturdays event.