Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website

Visit our new British Pakistani Christians website
This site will no longer publish new material. Please join our new website

Monday 4 March 2013

Shahbaz Bhatti remembered at Trafalgar Square Peace Concert, two years after his assassination!

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) marked the 2nd Anniversary of the martyrdom by assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s only Christian Federal Cabinet Minister, on Saturday 2nd March with several protests and petitions and a multi-faith Peace Concert at Trafalgar Square

Events kicked off at 11am outside the Pakistani High Commission with a Christian worship service led by the Catholic electro-fusion band Ooberfuse, followed by a multi-faith protest, where speakers from various groups spoke about the human rights abuses against many minorities in Pakistan.  A petition calling for the release of Asia Bibi, the Christian mother of five held on death-row after being convicted of ‘blasphemy’ after a row with fellow farm labourers was handed in to the embassy by a multi-faith delegation, along with one calling for reform or repeal of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws. 

The protest then reached 10 Downing Street, where the petitions were also handed in to the UK government, calling on the UK government to do more to pressure the Pakistani government to end or radically reform the iniquitous blasphemy laws.

A three hour Peace concert at Trafalgar Square was witnessed by hundreds of people.  Ooberfuse and the Band ‘Desired Effect’ from Redbridge (and featured artists on the BBC Asian network) sang songs of peace and unity, alternating with a series of speakers from a number of faiths.  Speakers included Dr Martin Stern, Jewish holocaust survivor and former medical  student at Peshawar University, Barrister Rubab Mehdi Rizba, former European spokesperson for the Pakistani Ministry of Human Rights, Rev Dr Daryl Hannah, a scholar on the early Church, BPCA trustee and researcher Nathanael Lewis, Julian Bond of the ChristianMuslim Forum, John Pontifex and John Newton from the Catholic charity ‘Aid to the Church in Need’, and Hindu human rights activist Ranbir Singh. 

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. 

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 day’s events were part of a series by the BPCA, including a Memorial Service for Shahbaz Bhatti in Ilford on Sunday the 3rd, a talk at University College London, Newman House, 111 Gower Street, WC1E 6AR, on the evening of Monday 4th March, hosted by the Catholic Society, 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. 

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"Events like this that galvanise support against global persecution are the conduit for a better society.  We were particularly struck by the members of the public who said that they had had their eyes opened by the stories of persecution they heard.  'You certainly got my attention' said one.'

1 comment:

  1. Such is the nature of Sharia law, giving privilege and the upper hand to Muslims and having no real standard of proof, just the (literal) strength of the allegation. It is the what-would-Mohammad-get-away-with standard of the Sunnah.