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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Budding academics receive 500 page report on minority persecution in Pakistan

Wilson Chowdhry (BPCA) and Antonio Vieira Da Cruz (SADF who funded report) having a discussion on Pakistan in Catholic Society Bar after presentation.

The Catholic Society of University College London held an event about the persecution of Christians in Pakistan on the evening of 4th March.  Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), was invited to speak on the assassination of Christian Cabinet Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, and held a minutes silence in his memory, as well as persecuted minorities in Pakistan.  The other speaker was Nathanael Lewis, a BPCA trustee and researcher, who is a co-author of a major academic report about the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.  After the event, the BPCA presented the first ever copy of the 500 plus page report to the Catholic Society, and Mr Lewis signed it for them. 
After the event, Mr Lewis said;

'This report, 'The Targeting of the 'Minority Other' in Pakistan' is probably the most comprehensive report on the issue.  We are launching it in Parliament tomorrow, and we believe that it will be an extremely valuable resource for academics, government departments, human rights and asylum activists and journalists.  We hope it will significantly raise awareness of the ongoing persecutions and genocide in Pakistan, and in particular that it will help reverse the appalling trend of Pakistani minorities being refused asylum in the UK for the most spurious and false of reasons'. 

Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, was gunned down by extremists outside his home after repeated death threats for his consistent and principled stand for the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan, and for campaigning for the abolishing of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  His assassination followed two months after the assassination of a Provincial Governor, Salman Taseer, by his own bodyguard, for similarly campaigning for the same cause.

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"None of Shahbaz Bhatti's killers have been brought to justice, which is a real blight on Pakistan.  This report will honour his sacrifice and will hopefully become a tool for reform of the regressive politics and legislative frameworks  operating there."  

(A copy of the report can be found by Clicking here)  - This link provides a free down load but please feel to donate towards our work, which include an annual upgrade of the report.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws mandate the death sentence for anyone deemed to have spoken ill against the Muslim prophet Muhammed, and the standard of evidence is very low, nor is intent or lack of it a consideration.

The service was part of a series of events by the BPCA, including protests and petitions at the Pakistani High Commission and 10 Downing Street followed by a three-hour multi-faith Peace Concert in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 2nd March, a Memorial Service for Shahbaz Bhatti in Ilford St Andrews church on the evening of the 3rd March, and culminating in the launch of a major academic report about the targeting of all kinds of minorities in Pakistan at the House of Commons from 6-8pm on Tuesday 5th March, hosted by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson Chairman of the 'All Parties Parliamentary Group on Pakistan'.

President of the Catholic Society 

Nathaniel Lewis BPCA Researchers describes report 'Targeting of minority others'

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