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Wednesday 6 March 2013

Academics share concerns of ongoing genocide in Pakistan at House of Commons UK.

Ranbir Singh (Hindu Human Rights Group), Nathaniel Lewis (BPCA), MP Andrew Stephenson and Wilson Chowdhry (BPCA).

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) launched its seminal report 'The Targeting of 'Minority Others' in Pakistan' at the House of Commons in an event hosted by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, Chairman of the 'All Parties Parliamentary Group on Pakistan'.  The event saw the authors of the report gathered together to speak to and take questions from the public, in an audience that included human rights activists, journalists, a London councillor and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. 
BPCA's chairman, Wilson Chowdhry, said, 

'We are proud to present this report, a result of a lot of sacrificial work on the part of the main authors.  It is by far the most comprehensive report on the targeting of minorities in Pakistan, and because it is a fully referenced academic standard report, it should be of use to a wide range of people and institutions, including universities, government departments, journalists, human rights and asylum activists and more'.

(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.

Desmond Fernandes, genocide expert and one of the main authors of the report, spoke about the situation and history of Pakistan and the ongoing genocide by the state and Muslim extremists of a number of minorities, focusing particularly on the Ahmahdi sect and the international background, as well as the extreme difficulty persecuted Pakistani minorities have in successfully gaining asylum in countries like the UK. 
The other main author, Nathanael Lewis, spoke on the targeting of Christians in Pakistan, giving several examples of persecution that on occasion drew gasps of horror from audience members.  These included the story of the rape of a two year old girl after her father refused to convert to Islam, burning alive of blasphemy victims and three brothers fatally poisoned by their employer for insisting on the full wages that had been denied them for years. 

After the event Mr Lewis, also a BPCA trustee, said 

'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'. 

Other contributors also spoke, including Faiz Baluch, who spoke of the history and ongoing genocide and military actions of the Pakistani state in the province of Baluchistan.  Ranbir Singh spoke about the situation facing Hindu's in Pakistan, and the flight of many to India, even though this leaves them stateless.  Solicitor Jas Uppal spoke on the situation of Indian citizens arrested as spies for crossing the border, many held incommunicado, or for years or decades beyond their original unjust sentences.  Lynn Julius spoke on the elimination of Jews in Pakistan, and the ongoing anti-semitism in Pakistani society. 

The report was dedicated to the memory of Federal Cabinet Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, who 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.
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 on Sunday 3rd and a talk to the Catholic Society of University College London.

Lyn Julius (Harif), Ranbir Singh (HHRG), Nathaniel Lewis (BPCA)

Jas Uppal (Free Sarabjit Singh)

Faiz Baluch and Viera De Cruz (SADF)

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