Mehran Baluch (Representative of Ethnic Baluch Communities) and Wilson Chowdhry (BPCA), key experts describe persecution in Pakistan.
Dutch MP's offered to consider special status for Christian asylum seekers and refugees fleeing extremism in Pakistan, after hearing a report from Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association on Tuesday 16th April 2013.
The special procedure meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Dutch House of representatives, was presided over by MP Pieter Omtzigt, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Christian Democratic Party, after a request from Mosa Zaher of London based NGO New East Observatory.
During the one hour public meeting an adress was also made by Mehran Baluch, Representative of Ethnic Baluch Communities, detailing the kidnap and murder of many Baluchistani dissidents calling for sovereignty of the Baluchistani state which they believe to have been occupied territory since 1948.
During the discussion following the original opening statements by the two experts, MP's asked how their Government might assist suffering minorities in Pakistan. Wilson Chowdhry called for MP's to set clauses linked to foreign aid budgets, to lever change in the existing poor human rights record of Pakistan. Currently Holland contributes £20 million to Pakistan.
Wilson Chowdhry asked for MP's to conduct some unsupervised visits to Pakistan, as he felt that supervised visits co-ordinated by the Pakistan Government, inexorably resulted in rose-tinted perceptions, of the quality of life for minorities living there.
MP Pieter Omtzigt replied; "I have visited Pakistan on a visiting visa, and am aware of the real situation faced by Christians." MP Omtzigt continued to describe the squalour and maltreatment of Christians, he met during that revealing visit to various Christian institutions. He asked the BPCA to provide a potential list of groups that might be visited during future visits.
Wilson Chowdhry sought special status for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers to Holland, during his report where he described the controversial reluctance for Austrlia and the UK's Border Agency to accept such applications. MP Omtzigt replied that Holland had recently approved special status for homosexual and Ahmadiyyah Asylum applications and asked for a copy of the BPCA's recent full report on "targeting of Minority 'Others' in Pakistan. The report will be used to guide Dutch Parliamentarians in a debate on the worthiness of such policy.
The BPCA has already emailed an electronic copy of our report to MP Omtzigt, in response to the request.
After the meeting Wilson Chowdhry said;
"Pakistani authorities have failed to protect vulnerable minorities, the human rights performance of the country has reached a nadir. Despite foreign aid support from several western nations palpable change is non-existent. The only tangible lever for change western nations have within their political armoury, is the linking of foreign aid budget with clauses that require visible and transparent improvements in the quality of life for Pakistani minorities. I hope our meeting with Dutch Parliamentarians results in such policy, if not we will all be revisiting the same concerns frequently in the future."
"Our comprehensive report on persecution in Pakistan is over 500 pages long. It has been meticulously written and one third of the report is dedicated to the suffering of the Christian Minority. We firmly believe that the content validates a need for special status for asylum cases from Pakistani Christians. We have sent a copy to MP Omtzigt and pray that during their debate on such policy, preferred status will be adopted by Holland."
A live stream video for the discussion can be viewed here:
Dutch MP's spoke of concern about the treatment of Christians and other Minorities in Pakistan.
Wilson called for special status for Christian Asylum Seekers fleeing Pakistan
Mosa Zaher (Near East Observatory), Wilson Chowdhry, Mehran Baluch and Paulo Casaca (South Asian Democratic Forum)