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Tuesday 30 July 2013

Cable Operator reacts to refusal to pay additional fees for Cable service for Christians, by organising armed attack on community near St Joseph's.

Image of some of the bricks thrown at local Christians of Shad Bagh

Lahore: A Muslim mob equipped with lethal arms attacked the Christian Colony of Shad Bagh in the metropolitan area of Lahore on July 28, 2013, vandalizing a Catholic Church and homes of Christians.  One Christian was injured with a severe bullet wound.

“On Sunday July 28, 2013 at about 4:00 pm, a local resident Martian Javed Michel a social justice activist, informed us about the overwrought situation of Christians and Muslims in Shad Bagh, Amir Road near Joseph Colony Lahore. He advised us that an infuriated mob of Muslims attacked houses of the local Christians and one Catholic Church with deadly weapons.

The local Christian residents have told us that a Muslim television cable operator named Faisal Butt, who has a criminal background and an extremely poor attitude towards Christians, was charging extra fees for TV cable connections for Christians. 

About a month ago Faisal Butt and his companions had a dispute with a Christian widow and attacked the woman and her children, whilst demanding extra fees. 

On July 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm one of Mr Butt's helpers named Asad was collecting cable fees in the Christian Colony, Shad Bagh. He also came to a Babu Younis house and asked for the fees also.   Babu UYounis has allowed his property to be a booster site for the Cable connections locally.  He informed Asad of this agreement and stated he was not required to provide the fees. Despite this agreement Asad was trying to force Babu Younis to pay the money for cable fees.  Babu replied that he would remove the booster station form his house if he was required to pay the fee.  On hearing this Asad became furious and started to beat him.  Christians Neighbours rallied to help Babu Younis, and the matter was resolved temporarily.

After one an hour Faisal Butt came along with a group of 30-35 people all armed with deadly weapons. They began to open fire in the air and also started throwing stones and bricks on the Christians houses of Shad Bagh Colony. They also attacked the Catholic Church and broke the glass of the church windows. They shouted abuse at local Christians and caused much terror and anxiety.

Riaz Masih s/o Babu Younis received a shot to his leg and was severely injured. Vejay Masih s/o Niamat Masih who suffers form 
cancer, was injured after being struck by the butt of a pistol on his forehead. There were a few other victims who suffered injuries. The aggressors fired on Christian houses for over one hour and on leaving warned Christians that their houses would be burned just like St Joseph Colony,  if they took legal action against the perpetrators.

Local residents have shared their plight with Chaudhry Shahbaz MPA (Member of Provincial Assembly), a politician form Muslim League -N, the ruling party in Pakistan.  Some Christians went with Babu Younis to the concerned police station Shad Bagh, Lahore to lodge a legal case FIR (First Information Report) against Faisal Butt and his companions for this violent attack. On the same day Police arrested the main accused Faisal Butt while others had absconded.

Wilson Chowdhry said;

"This attack so soon after the Attack on St Joseph's Colony has terrified local people.  Even so they have been bold enough to speak out to local authorities and their courage is commendable.  Threats are still being received by this community.  Please pray for justice for this community and a rapid return to normality. Please also pray for the victim who was shot and his speedy recovery."

Another couple from Gojra become blasphemy victims.

By Shamim Masih

Gojra: Shagufta Kausar accused of blasphemy case seeks bail on 1st August in Additional Session Judge in Gojra.

World Vision In Progress – WVIP filed the bail application for the Shagufta today in the court of the Additional Session Judge. Police sources told that due to unavoidable reasons, they couldn’t investigate the case accordingly so the official requested the court to hear the matter on August 1, 2013.
Family of the accused couple requested WVIP to provide legal assistance to Shagufta and Shafaqat accused of a blasphemy case.

WVIP management has assigned this duty to its legal team consist of Advocate Salvance Jacob and Nadeem Hassan. Tahir Naveed Ch, the attorney involved in the case of  Rimsha Masih has also offered his voluntarily services to WVIP.  WVIP have accepted his services with thanks and have included him in the attorney penal for couple.

Earlier the couple was arrested after alleged blasphemous text messages were sent from a phone belonging to them.

Monday 29 July 2013

Peter Bhatti demands return of Ministry of Interfaith Harmony, despite lacklustre and ineffective conduct of Paul Bhatti while in post.

Wilson Chowdhry and Knox Thames Director of Policy and Research for the "United States Commission for International Freedom" (USCIRF). 

Once again the educational system of Pakistan was labelled as malicious and not-fit -for-purpose, after a delegation consisting of key figures from several US/Canada based humanitarian groups highlighted major concerns at a Washington conference hosted by the USCIRF 18th July 2013.  Peter Bhatti for International Christian Voice however seemed to have his own agenda with the meeting.

Peter Bhatti leader of "International Christian Voice" a group based in Canada, described a number of blasphemy cases impacting on Christians in Pakistan. After an extensive list of incidents he proposed a number of recommendations, that seemed bereft of any real detail or bite.  We repeat some of these below (from the printed notes of his presentation) with comments of our own;

1)  The blasphemy law and other discriminatory laws need to be reformed or repealed;

Unfortunately Peter did did not explain "which other discriminatory laws" he meant, however we should presume he meant the Hudood ordinances and qisat and diyat laws, to name a few.  Moreover his lack of description of the potential reform of the blasphemy laws suggested little thought had gone into preparing his recommendations.  Perhaps a return to the original format of Section 295 and 295a as introduced during British rule, when these then Public order acts protected people of all faiths and imposed short sentences and small fines would be an appropriate alteration?  Oddly enough Paul Bhatti the former Minister for Interfaith Harmony, has openly opposed reform of the Blasphemy law, stating that they are of no concern both on a BBC Hard Talk interview and a recent address at the Canadian Embassy in London.  The juxtaposition these two brothers have on the issue of the Blasphemy Law, is embarrassing and confusing for our community, however now that Paul Bhatti has lost his ambassadorial role, I envisage he will soon retract his former love for section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code and support it's abrogation ever so fervently.  Who say's politicians have little conviction?

2) We are disappointed (sic) from the current government of Pakistan for merging the Ministry of Interfaith Harmony into the Ministry of Religious Affairs.  The Ministry of Interfaith Harmony was highlighting the issues of religious minorities of Pakistan. We urge the current government to bring back that ministry in order to help change the mindset of the people of Pakistan towards tolerance and peace in the country and help to counter extremism and terrorism;

On reading this (I dozed off during the spoken presentation), what became apparent to me was an attempt to reassert Paul Bhatti into his futile role, which despite Peter's imagination was of no effect and yielded little of consequence for suffering minorities in Pakistan.

3) Political parties, NGO's and other human rights (sic) organization in Pakistan who strongly believe in human rights. democracy and religious freedom need to be strengthened;

Again Peter failed to mention how such groups could be strengthened, nor was this request directed to any particular body/country.  

4) Religious minorities, especially Christians, belong to (sic) poor classes and need to be (sic) empower to defend their rights.  This way they will be brought (sic) to the mainstream society and can prevent discrimination and persecution.  

We would have preferred more constructive suggestions on how to empower minorities to defend their own rights.  Ways in which they could be supported, would be investment in training for the next generation of politicians from our community.  Creation of pathways to careers in law and politics for those who show a talent, a pathway that is not linked to cultural, familial or tribal ties.  More importantly the election not selection form of electorate proposed by Victor Gill of Philadelphia. 

5) Religious Schools and organizations who teach hate, extremism and violence should be banned in Pakistan and a new syllabus which is free from hate need to be introduced in all Public Schools.  

Just focusing on the obvious has never been a comprehensive solution to any dilemma, Peter and ICV missed a trick and a real opportunity to really describe the educational concerns impacting on minority communities in Pakistan.  This was his only statement on education throughout his whole speech and completely ignored the need for removal of Islamic studies from the compulsory curriculum, for a more inclusive religious studies course, which would encourage more parents to send Christian children to school, fear of proselytising being a forceful discouragement.  He failed to highlight the bonus points awarded to Muslim  university students for learning the Quran by rote, which favours the Muslim students in most courses.  The need for safe schools and travel to school is a paramount need as so often we hear of young Christian girls forced into Islamic marriage, abducted on the way to or from their educational establishments.

6) Bring religious minorities into the mainstream of political life by allowing them to run for general seats, as well as keep their reserved seats.  Such a duel voting system would help uplift religious minorities.

The BPCA has always favoured a single electorate voting system for Pakistan.  The system should include positive discrimination which secures a certain number of tickets within political parties for minority groups. These tickets (candidate selections) will be required to go through the normal election process and monitored vigorously. Parties choosing minorities for un-winnable seats exclusively should be penalised i.e. loss of gained seats that will then go to other minority candidates.  Their will be an onus on political parties to ensure they pick strong candidates who will be empowered in parliament, safe in the knowledge they have electoral support (votes) for their candidacy.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Pakistan Christian Congress urge action on protection of Minority women.

KARACHI: PCC Chief has urged the Sindh Chief Minister Sayed Qaim Ali Shah to protect Christian and Hindu women in different remote areas of Sindh districts. The Central Executive Council (CEC) of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC has strongly condemned rising incidents of enforced conversion to Islam of minority community women in interior Sindh; and expressed grief over the minority issues.

In a meeting by the Members of CEC of Pakistan Christian Congress has urged Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Sindh, to provide adequate security to a Christian family in Pardi-ji-Goth in Sanghar district of Sindh to whom a Muslim is threatening of enforced conversion to Islam and marriage with him of a Christian girl of that family. Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC said "There are hundreds of Hindu families migrating to India to safe respect of their women whom influential Muslims of interior Sindh are kidnapping and enforcedly keeping as sex slaves but Christians of Sindh of not any country to migrate who are also under threat of Muslims towards their women". According to Hindu Punchaiat of Sindh, 20 Hindu girls in interior Sindh are abducted, raped and sold in marriage to Muslims after enforced conversion to Islam by influential Muslim landlords.

There was 20 percent Hindu population of Pakistan in 1947, when Pakistan was formed which decreases to 2% in 2013, because due to atrocities in social and economic fields by Muslim majority of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Hindus have migrated to India. Dr. Nazir Bhatti invited immediate attention of CM Sindh on incident of Padri Jo Goth in district Sanghar where one criminal Muslim named Ghulam Mohammad with support of local police is threatening one 

Christian girl Nazia and her family to marry him and convert to Islam. According to fides news agency, "Nazia is a nurse who worked in the hospital in Cheniot. The Muslim Ghulam Muhammad began to harass her and put pressure to force her into marriage and convert to Islam, threatening to disfigure her with acid, if she did not accept". "Pakistan Christian Congress PCC will be forced to raise issue of threats to Nazia Masih on national and international forums if Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Sindh, not took action against Ghulam Mohammad and security to Christian family within 3 days", warned the PCC Chief Dr. Nazir Bhatti, added that the government of Pakistan have failed to provide security to Hindus and Christians when Christian homes are being set on fire and blasphemy cases against Christian are rising in Punjab province while Hindus are target in Sindh province of Pakistan.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Pakistan's education system pilloried during US Conference on religious freedom!

Humanitarians discuss plight of minorities residing in Pakistan.

Recently the chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), Wilson Chowdhry, was invited to a Washington DC event ‘The Future of Religious Freedom in Pakistan’ hosted by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on 18th July 2013, and the main focus was on the issue of Pakistan's flawed and discriminatory education system.  The BPCA were one of few Pakistani Christian groups who were invited to take part; the parties met in a US government office to hear papers and exchange views.  Peter Bhatti, brother of the martyred Christian politician Shahbaz, gave a general synopsis of the situation of minorities in Pakistan, particularly Christians, and also some general suggestions for improvements.  

The Ahmahdi representative;  Rashid Qasim, National Spokesperson, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, who is a practising lawyer, reported on the desperate situation of the Ahmahdi’s.  In the last year, a dozen were murdered just for their Ahmahdi faith, with no-one arrested,.  The police and government permit the desecration of Ahmahdi mosques and cemeteries, and their literature is banned – the sentence for possession is three years in jail.  Police regularly succumb to pressure from extremists, for instance in warrantless raids and arrests for blasphemy, including children.  Police even pointed extremists towards the victims of their bombings in hospital.  In one case, an unarmed Ahmahdi managed to stop one suicide bomber despite being shot by the bomber.  The police released the bomber without charge, but the hero who stopped him has been forced to flee the country.  The government has banned Ahmahdi peace conferences since 1984, but allows and even encourages anti-Ahmahdi hate-fest gatherings regularly.  Not only that, but Ahmahdi’s are the only religious minority to be actually disenfranchised in voting.  They are required to either tick a box saying they are not Muslims, or a box saying their leader is a false prophet. 

The Hindu paper read by Jay Kansara, Associate Director, Hindu American Foundation,  focused on education, noticing how Hindu’s were particularly nastily portrayed in textbooks, as well as how the vast majority of teachers believed that religious minority persons should never be allowed in a position of power.  On top of that, non-Muslim students were still – after supposed anti-discrimination reform supported by hundreds of millions of dollars in US Aid – being forced to attend Islamic lessons in the Sindh province and the southern half of Punjab. 

The USCIRF presented the findings of their investigation on textbooks and teacher attitudes, which backed up the Hindu presentation.  The textbooks present Pakistan as for Muslim’s only, denigrate all religious minorities, and promote a victim mentality in which all the world is against Islam and Pakistan and its citizens must unite to defend Islamic Pakistan, with violent jihad if necessary.  Very little has been done since the supposed reforms of 2006.  The majority of text-book material, even ones that were not religious in subject matter, had strong Islamic content, including sermons.  There were some surprising results.  For instance, Madrassah (Islamic religious school) teachers, were more likely to see jihad as more of an internal struggle, whereas almost 100% of public school teachers saw it as physical violence and obligatory, with discretion in the hands of the individual.  Many public school teachers believe hostility against minorities is justified because minority members blaspheme against Muhammad.  Not only that, but all Madrassah teachers correctly said that religious minorities were Pakistani citizens, but only 60% of public school teachers did.  The report made a number of carefully thought out and practical suggestions for improvement in the area of anti-discrimination in education, which should be taken very seriously.  For public schools they recommend that all Islamic content by reserved just for the Islamic course.  They also called for an effective and confidential reporting system for religious discrimination incidents in schools under the National Harmony Ministry, with the latter having disciplinary powers in the matter.  They also recommend that the ‘ethics for non-Muslims’ course should be compulsory for all, and that public-private partnerships be sued to raise diversity, with links to various religious groups to help train teachers in anti-discrimination.  For Madrassah’s they recommend facilitating official co-operation and engagement with the government and putting in place accreditation and official standards, textbook reform, the encouragement of critical thinking and religious tolerance. 

Wilson Chowdhry, BPCA chairman, said after the event that ‘It was good to meet up with others who are being oppressed for their faith in Pakistan.  People should know that the persecution of Christians continues to be very bad, and may be worsening.  The kidnap, rape, forced marriage and conversion of Christian girls continues on a daily basis.  There has recently been another spate of false allegations of blasphemy against Christians, which has made life even more dangerous for Pakistani Christians.  Unlike Rimsha’s case, who was lucky to gain international recognition for the injustice, these cases go under the radar.’

BPCA researcher Nathanael Lewis pointed out several recent incidents that, whilst not as immediately serious as murder, rape or blasphemy accusations, indicate the ongoing discrimination against Pakistani Christians in their home country.  He said ‘Last year – and this was not an isolated incident, just one that caught the news to an extent – a government department issued a job advert that said ‘Christians only’ for a cleaning job.  In Pakistan it is socially widespread to refer to Christians as ‘sweepers’, something akin to the phrase ‘dirty niggers’.  Recent controversy was stirred by the comments of a provincial government minister on the issue, when he said that only Christians should get sanitation jobs.  In this case it was a favourable response to the pleas of Christian sanitation workers to deal with politically appointed Muslim sanitation workers who didn’t actually do the work they were paid to do, but left it all to the Christians, because of the widespread assumption that only Christians and minorities do cleaning work – an attitude that is pretty much a caste system in all but name.’

Chowdhry added ‘The issue of education has been a major concern for the BPCA for some time.  We are currently seeking funding for a study specifically on educational discrimination in Pakistan against women / females and against minorities.  As with our last report, it will be academically rigorous.’  

Join James Maidment-Fullard from TWR UK as he looks at a new report published by the British Pakistani Christian Association. You can tune into this broadcast at 12:15 on Thursday (15th). To listen to the programme tune into Freesat channel 790, Sky 0138 or log onto 

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Only a handful of guests present?

Wilson  Chowdhry and Knox Thames (USCIRF)

Knox Thames, Policy Director for the "United States Commission for International Religious Freedom." 

Handing over our information pack to a US Police Officer.

Just a handful of Pakistani Christians were present, but our input was significant.

Friday 26 July 2013

Strengthening Pakistan’s Democracy by inclusion of Women and Minorities in the Election Process.

The Bhatti brothers could learn a trick or two from this astute American humanitarian.  Victor Gill has led several Washington protests and has been a constant thorn to the Pakistan Embassy in the US with his petitioning and letter writing.  He has used every possible means to highlight the plight of Pakistani Christians and has endeared our global community towards him.  His description of the need for a single electorate and the paradigm he proposes, could easily work in tandem with the BPCA's own model.  Like us his single electorate proposal is in juxtaposition to the Peter and Paul Bhatti methodology, that implies return to a dual voting system.  Please do take time to read this well researched article:

Strengthening Pakistan’s Democracy by inclusion of Women and Minorities in the Election Process;

[Seventy Reserved seats of Pakistan’s Parliament are Hand-picked]                                                        
                                      By Victor Gill – Edited July 25, 2013

Pakistan is made up of 5% of religious minorities and 95% of Muslim majority, out of which 51% of the population of the country are women. Ironically 60 reserved seats of women and ten reserved seats of minorities are not filled in a democratic manner but are hand-picked.

The word “minority” is not defined by numbers alone, but by the condition of being weak, being less privileged, being deprived and being oppressed. For example, the Shia population of Iraq, though more [populous] in numbers, was made to be a minority during the time of Saddam Hussein. The Jewish population, though small in numbers in the United States, has rarely called itself a minority. Hence, the word ‘minority’ is a state of being weak, less privileged, deprived and being oppressed. For that reason, the 51% of women of Pakistan are also a ‘minority’ in the true sense of the word.

In fair and fortunate democracies, all citizens are protected and treated equal before the rule of law.  In a society shaped by giving precedence to the laws of the land, there is no need to have the reserved seats for them in any institution. In Pakistan, however, the ten reserved seats for minority parliamentarians and the sixty reserved seats for women parliamentarians, along with other quota system in various institutions, further corroborate the assertion that both women and non-Muslim population of Pakistan are a minority. The constitution deems them to be equal but the government of Pakistan, by allocating the reserved seats, implicitly admits that both the women and non-Muslim minorities are unequal, weak, less privileged, deprived and oppressed.

Let us look at the selection system for reserved seats in our parliament.  It is common knowledge that various political parties compete for 272 seats in the general elections.  The proportion of each party’s win, determines each party’s share in selecting the women and religious minority members to the remaining 70 seats.

This setup contains several intrinsic ills and problems:

1.       Subservient Parliamentarians: Parliamentarians on reserved seats have their loyalties to the nominating political parties and not to the voters, because voters never participate in their election process. When their constituents approach them on issues of concern, they are told outright, “You did not vote for me, why you are bringing this problem to me?” With extenuated vote power, both the women and religious minority parliamentarians are there to obey their “master’s voice,” and that is, the dominant political parties.Many federal ministers like Anusha Khan, Kamran Michael and late Shahbaz Bhatti, did not get even a single vote in elections and yet became not only parliamentarians, but also federal ministers – quite a laughing stock, isn’t it?

2.       Blackmailing and other corrupt practices are the norm.  The highest bidder may get the seat, or the seat may be given to a relative or friend as pay off for a favor, or, more forebodingly, some women allegedly even ensure their seats by becoming mistresses or girlfriends to the stake holders.  Undated and notarized resignations are often obtained in advance to solicit ‘loyalties by coercion and blackmailing.’

3.       Unfair Distribution of Seats:  There are 10 reserved seats allotted to religious minorities. Hindus and Christians are about equal in population. Out of 10 seats, Christians only occupy 3 at present; Hindus have the other 7.  In the upper house, the Senate, there are 4 reserved seats for religious minorities:  A Christian was selected on one and Hindus on the remaining three. What a ‘constitutional flip’ that should have raised a red flag for a ‘suo moto action’ by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

4.       The beneficiaries of the reserved seats are given the impression upfront that they wouldn’t have won a general election, hence tagging them with failure without any empirical results.  What would one say when a student is given a label of ‘failure’ before he or she ever starts his school or takes an exam?

I must caution you that if we continue to fill the minority and women seats under the present selection system; the minority-majority gap and the gender-gap will remain there even after another century, because we are not encouraging our weak, less privileged, deprived and oppressed class of population to have courage and confidence to participate in the general elections with self-esteem. In fact, the selection system kills the very purpose of inclusion of women and minorities in the parliament. It is a shame and an insult to the intelligence of seventy parliamentarians.
Pakistan is the only country where 20% (70 out of 342) of its parliamentarians are chosen without a single vote.

Reserved seats were supposed to be an election-learning-process as well as an inclusion of the weak communities into the main stream politics. An honorable and acceptable method of choosing religious minorities and women should allow such candidates to contest in general elections, with or without the party lines, in any constituency, and under joint electoral vote of the general elections. The results of reserved seats in elections will be compared against the results of other reserved seats, and the top 10 or the top 60 in women’s case, will be declared ELECTED. In this way, we’ll establish public vote and not personal favors, as criteria to winning a reserved seat. The only thing the government needs to do is to ensure the distribution of these seats to areas according to respective population size of both women and the minorities.

Public service is a sacred trust between the ELECTED official and the general public.  A competent official who upholds the public trust can only be procured by direct election, and not with the patronage selection system. 
It is about time that these twenty percent reserved seats be given, not as political favors to yes-men, high bidders, or the most physically attractive women, but to individuals who have earned them through a fair and competitive election.  In democratic governments, a vote is the most basic unit--and a proven parameter--of a truly democratic society.

Victor V Gill of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania can be reached at Portions of this article were read by Salma Peter John at Washington, DC on the 20th Annual gathering of Pakistani American Congress on June 18, 2012.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Nazia Masih a nurse seeking protection form men harassing her to accept an Islamic marriage.

We have received this story from Tariq Patras.  He describes the torment of a  a young Christian nurse who is being harassed, in an attempt to force her into an Islamic Marriage:

Sanghar: Catholic nurse living in fear because she does not want to marry Muslim man

Ghulam Muhammad, an influential and feared Muslim businessman in Sanghar District, has threatened to abduct Nazia Masih and disfigure her with acid because she has refused to marry him. The man is known to police because of several complaints against him of kidnappings and rapes. Yet he lives with impunity. Now Nazia's whole family is in danger. "We are Christians and poor," she said. "In Pakistan, our honour and property are not safe." For a Catholic priest in Karachi, "This is shameful". The authorities "need to do something to protect them."

Karachi - Pakistan's small Catholic community has been shaken again by another case of violence. An influential Muslim businessman in the district of Sanghar has repeatedly threatened a Catholic nurse who has refused to marry him, filing a case against her when she became engaged to another man. Despite the threats, the situation seems under control for now.  Police, which so far aided and abetted the Muslim man, has been forced to provide protection to the Catholic woman thanks to pressure from Christian groups and moderate Muslims.
It all began when Ghulam Muhammad decided he wanted to marry Nazia Masih (pictured), a Catholic nurse from Padri-Jo-Goth, Sanghar District, who works at Cheniot Hospital.

Muhammad approached her with a proposal to marry him and convert to Islam. After she turned him down, he threatened to abduct her and disfigure her with acid.
Regrettably, Muhammad has a certain reputation in the district as someone who has already abducted, raped and forcibly converted local Hindu women to Islam. Those who dared sue him for rape were in fact unable to obtain justice.

On her way home on 10 May, Nazia Masih was approached by four armed men who warned her to accept Muhammad's proposal or else. After harassing her, they drove away. Frightened, she sought help at work but hospital authorities refused.

The girl's parents decided then to anticipate her engagement to Ejaz Joseph, a local Christian, on 26 May. However, Ghulam Muhammad interrupted the ceremony accompanied by several police officers who, without evidence of any crime, tried to arrest the couple.

Luckily, after the involvement of village elders, police took her father and brother away, but released them a few hours later. Eventually, Nazia's persecutor decided to change tactic and tried to pressure Joseph with dire consequences if he do not leave the nurse.

The girl's family decided again to ask the authorities for help and filed a complaint at the police station in Sanghar. Once more, Muhammad's influence thwarted an investigation into the matter.

In fact, police told Nazia that her tormentor now claimed that she was his wife, and that a family court would have to sort things out. This in turn caused an uproar in the Christian community and among moderate Muslims. The court eventually decided not to intervene in the case of false marriage.

Still, Ghulam Muhammad did not give up and began threatening not only Nazia's relatives but also Sister Maria Khurshid, the head nun at Saint Teresa Hospital in Mir Purkhas and a close friend of Nazia. The nun called on the authorities to provide the nurse with protection, but failed even to get them to issue a warning against the Muslim man. The situation is now at an impasse.

On Saturday, Muhammad filed another complaint to get police to force Nazia to marry him.
"I feel unsafe and face many problems and threats," Nazia Masih told AsiaNews. "I am also angry because my family is in danger as a result of that person's behavior. We are Christians and poor. That is why these things always happen to us. In Pakistan, our honour and property are not safe."

"This is shameful," said Fr John James, from the diocese of Karachi. "Such incidents should be strongly condemned by society. Countless Hindu girls are abducted every month from the interior of Sindh, and the authorities are silent about it. They need to do something to protect them. We call on the authorities to provide protection to Nazia Masih and her family."

Bipartisan Congressional Coalition Urges Secretary Kerry to Address Religious Persecution in Pakistan

Here is a press release from Jay Kansara of the Hindu American Forum.  I met with him last week at the USCIRF conference and believe there is a strong desire amongst religious minority humanitarian groups, working on issues pertaining to Pakistan, to have a more joined-up approach to their campaigns.  The BPCA for definite has always espoused a desire for togetherness and has striven to include key figures from wider faiths in all our campaigns.  We publish this article in solidarity:

Washington, D.C. (July 23, 2013) - Expressing "profound concern over the escalating violence and intolerance towards religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis, and Shia Muslims," a bipartisan coalition of 27 Members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this week, urging him to make religious freedom a top priority with the newly elected Pakistani government.  

Initiated by Representatives Mike Honda (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and spearheaded by the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), the letter was sent to Secretary Kerry ahead of his planned visit to Pakistan later this month.  

"I urge Secretary Kerry to make religious freedom a top priority in our nation's engagement with the new Pakistan government," said Congressman Honda. "As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus - and as someone who was interned as a child because of my ethnicity - I know firsthand the pain caused by persecution and discrimination. Far too many Hindus and other religious minorities have fled, been oppressed, and seen their houses of worship destroyed in Pakistan. It is time to put an end to this violence and hatred."  

The letter noted that religious minorities in Pakistan face "systematic violence, attacks on their places of worship, constitutional and legal discrimination, and widespread restrictions on religious freedom." It further stated that non-Muslim women and girls are routinely abducted and subjected to forced conversions, and it provided several specific religious freedom recommendations to the Government of Pakistan.  

"I thank my colleague, Michael Honda, for working with me to spearhead this letter to Secretary Kerry ahead of his upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif," said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa. "Pakistan continues to be one of the world's least tolerant country's with regard to the religious freedom of its citizens, and the rights of women and minorities. The implementation of Pakistan's blasphemy laws and its propagation of hatred, intolerance and violence has fostered an environment of extremism where religious minorities such as Hindus, Ahmadis, and others, live in a constant state of vulnerability and abject fear. I urge Secretary Kerry to address these issues with the Prime Minister, and unequivocally stress that the deteriorating human rights and religious freedom situation in Pakistan is past due for reforms."  

Several senior Congressional leaders, including Congressmen Pete Roskam (R-IL), Chief Deputy Whip, and Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, signed onto the letter. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific; Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; and the only Hindu member of Congress, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) supported the effort as well.  

"We appreciate the leadership of Congress on this issue, as the plight of Hindus and other religious minorities in Pakistan has never been more dire," said Jay Kansara, HAF's Associate Director of Government Relations. "It is now incumbent upon Secretary Kerry to work closely with the Government of Pakistan to protect minority rights in the country and make religious freedom a centerpiece of the U.S.- Pakistan relationship."  

In addition to Congress, the deteriorating conditions in Pakistan have also garnered considerable concern from other institutions, including the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). USCIRF hosted a briefing last week on The Future of Religious Freedom in Pakistan and featured HAF's Kansara, amongst other notable speakers. The briefing was part of the Commission's new Pakistan: A History of Violence project, which tracks attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan.

Contrast between political rhetoric and every day reality most profound in Islamic World.

Professor Joseph Loconte

Here is an essay on Pakistan shared with me by Joseph LoConte Associate Professor of history at Kings College, New York City.  I met him at the recent conference hosted by the USCIRF, in Washington DC, on Wednesday 18th July 2013.  I share it with our regular readers:

The contrast between political rhetoric and everyday reality is often stark, even in democracies, where politicians are free to speak the truth about the ills facing their societies. But the discontinuity seems greatest in the Islamic world, where religious dogmas and delusions thrive, and nowhere greater than in Pakistan.
Just consider President Asif Ali Zardari's address to a joint session of parliament last month, following national elections that returned Nawaz Sharif to power as prime minister. After noting his role as the nation's first elected civilian to oversee a "democratic" transfer of power, Zardari praised the establishment of democratic government in Pakistan. He extolled the "grace and glory of democracy" that had taken root in his country. He announced the "success of a prolonged struggle" toward democracy, insisting that "a dream has come true; a promise has been redeemed." He claimed that parliament had "purged the Constitution of undemocratic articles." He explained that voter participation in the parliamentary elections "shows that the ethos of our people is democratic." Thanks to the sacrifice of the nation's political leaders, he said, "democracy has arrived."
The great, historic test of democracies, however, is not their capacity to hold elections. It is whether they deliver justice to the least powerful members of their societies, especially their ethnic, racial, and religious minorities. Put another way, democracies differ from tyrannies by their ability to make peace with modern pluralism. And by this test, Pakistan -- a self-declared Muslim state devoted to upholding Sunni Islam -- represents a loathsome retreat into sectarian terror.
"This is not an economic battle any longer, this is a battle of ideologies," Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council told a Washington, DC gathering last week. "Pakistan is what I would call a failing society."

That dark assessment was echoed at a panel discussion, hosted by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), about the growing threat of religiously motivated violence against Muslim and non-Muslim minorities. The panel included Rahat Husain, legal affairs director of the Universal Muslim Association of America, which advocates for Shi'a Muslims; Peter Bhatti, chairman of International Christian Voice; Qasim Rashid, spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA; and Jay Kansara, associate director of the Hindu American Foundation.
USCIRF's report, "Pakistan: A History of Violence," documents 18 months of publicly-reported attacks against religious communities. The findings make the bloodletting in Iraq and Afghanistan almost seem like child's play. Over the course of the study, there were 203 separate acts of sectarian violence, injuring more than 1,800 people and claiming the lives over 700 men, women, and children. The largest number of attacks was against Shi'a Muslims, followed by Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs. The methods include suicide bombs, bombs in markets and mosques, drive-by shootings, attacks on religious sites, torture, beheadings, and mob violence. The victims, overwhelmingly civilians, included:
  • An opthamologist and his son, shot and killed.
  • A doctor gunned down in his clinic.
  • Four shopkeepers fatally shot while at work.
  • A 14-year-old girl killed at a religious meeting.
  • A 12-year-old girl gang-raped and murdered.
  • An 11-year-old boy, burned, tortured, mutilated and murdered.
  • A 44-year-old school teacher fatally shot on his way home.
  • A 43-year-old school teacher tortured to death while in police custody.
  • A prayer leader killed in a mosque.
  • A disabled man burned alive by a mob.
And the list goes on. It is true that "private citizens" and militant groups officially banned by the government committed most of these atrocities. But the real atrocity is that Pakistan sustains what USCIRF calls a "climate of impunity" for this violence. Perpetrators are rarely apprehended or prosecuted. The overall response of the Pakistani government, according to USCIRF, has been "grossly inadequate."
The problem is not just a failure of political will, but rather a deep conflict between the doctrines of political Islam and the tenets of liberal democracy. A government that uses blasphemy laws to criminalize speech deemed "offensive" to Sunni Islam does not have a democratic ethos. A law enforcement regime that refuses to ensure the security of an entire community because of theological differences -- the Shi'a Muslims, who have endured scores of lethal attacks as police looked the other way -- does not have a democratic ethos. A constitution that politically disenfranchises people because of religion -- the Ahmadis, who cannot vote without publicly renouncing their faith -- does not have a democratic ethos. A state education system that vilifies people because of their beliefs -- the Hindus, portrayed in textbooks as extremists and "the enemy of Islam" -- does not have a democratic ethos.
No, the ethos that appears to be overwhelming the state of Pakistan is not inspired by democratic ideals. It is, instead, nurtured by the visions and hatreds and paranoia of a perverted faith.
This is the cultural crisis of Pakistan. It was on tragic display earlier this month, when Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager campaigning for girls' education, visited the United Nations in New York. The 16-year-old Yousafzai barely survived an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban last October, when she was shot in the face at point-blank range. As she told an appreciative audience in New York: "Extremists are afraid of books and pens." Back home in Pakistan, however, Taliban leaders lashed out at her in an open letter to the Pakistani people, calling her efforts "satanic" and part of a larger Western plot to enslave the world.
The extremists seem to be winning the argument. "Many people hate Malala," Zubair Torwali, a newspaper columnists from the Swat Valley, told The New York Times. "Anything here in Pakistan related to the West or America becomes a thing of conspiracy. The Taliban's ideology is flourishing in Pakistan. It is victorious."
This ideology of exclusion and hate may not be triumphant in Pakistan, but it does seem to be gaining ground. A turning point came with the assassinations in 2011 of two prominent government leaders critical of the nation's blasphemy laws and systematic repression of minorities. One was Salmaan Taseer, a Muslim, and governor of Punjab, and another was Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, and the federal minister for Minorities Affairs. Their deaths were openly applauded by leading politicians and clerics.

The great tragedy of this lurch toward extremism is that it alienates large segments of the population from Pakistani society -- individuals and groups that could help to moderate and reform its political culture. The founding fathers of Pakistan "had a broad vision of inclusion" and recognized that "Christians have played an important role" in the history of the country, said Peter Bhatti, brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, who has taken up his brother's cause. Despite the spike in violence against Christians, he said, "we will remain loyal citizens of Pakistan."
What religious minorities in Pakistan appear to share, in fact, is a commitment to a democratic state worthy of the name: a nation that ensures equal justice under the law for all its citizens, regardless of race, gender, or creed. This is what constitutes a democratic ethos, in law and in custom. Political philosopher John Locke, in his Letter Concerning Toleraton (1689), explained the core moral obligation of a just state in this way: "It is the duty of the civil magistrate, by the impartial execution of equal laws, to secure unto all the people in general, and to every one of his subjects in particular, the just possession of these things to this life."
Pakistan's political leadership gives lip service to this principle, as if prompted by a guilty conscience. "Let everyone be judged by the same yardstick," President Zardari told the parliament. But until Pakistan takes significant steps toward this goal -- in its politics as well as its broader culture -- its descent into a violent, sectarian quagmire is assured.
Joseph Loconte, PhD, is an associate professor of history at the King's College in New York City and the author of Gospel of Liberty: John Locke and the Struggle for Religious Freedom (Lexington Books, forthcoming).

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Pakistani Christian violently attacked for protecting his daughters!

Pakistani Christian violently attacked for protecting his daughters

by Shafique Khokhar
The perpetrators are two young Muslim men, still on the loose. The Christian suffered a head injury and a broken arm. The man: "I may not be rich, but I will fight for justice and for the respect and the dignity of my family."
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Insulted, threatened, beaten and humiliated: this is what happened to a Christian family in Pakistan, attacked by some Muslims, who own a brick factory. The attackers wanted to "punish" Rafique Masih, a 50 year old father, for trying to defend his daughters, harassed by the constant taunts of Muhammad Umai and Muhammad Zubair, nephews of the owner of the factory.
"This inhuman act - Rafique Masih tells AsiaNews - happened because we are poor and we had requested a loan of 70 thousand rupees (770 dollars) from the owners of the brick factory. They think that poor Christians do not deserve respect and that therefore they can do whatever they want. I may not be rich, but I will fight for justice and for the respect and the dignity of my family. "

Rafique and his wife have seven children, four girls and three boys. After his eldest daughter, Iram, 17, was yet again verbally harassed on July 10 last, the father went to tell the two young men not to bother his daughters anymore. In response, Muslims began to verbally abuse him, insulting him and his family and threatening to "teach him a lesson."

After the argument the Christian returned home, but the same evening Muhammad Umai and Muhammad Zubair appeared at his door looking to continue the argument. Mehboob Masih, 23, one of the sons opened the door, refusing to call his father. At that point the two burst into the house armed with wooden sticks and bricks and began to beat the boy and his father, who came to see what was happening.

The attackers wounded Rafique's head and broke his arm. Then they slapped and insulted his daughters, trying to drag them into the street to humiliate them. Only the intervention of some neighbors made them desist. At that point, the Muslims held the Christians in their own home, threatening to crush anyone who rushed to their aid and preventing the family from receiving medical treatment.

A few days later, on July 13, some relatives were able to rescue the family with the help of the Justice and Peace Commission (Ncjp), which has been providing medical care and assistance. However, the culprits are still at large.

United States Commission for International Religious Freedom hold confernce on Pakistan.

Wilson Chowdhry has received an invitation form Knox Thames of the USCIRF for a conference on Religious freedon in Pakistan.   

Speakers include:

Shuja Nawaz, Director of the South Asia Center, Atlantic Council
Peter Bhatti, brother of murdered Pakistani Cabinet member Shahbaz Bhatti and Chairman of International Christian Voice
Qasim Rashid, National Spokesperson, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA
Rahat Husain, Policy and Legal Affairs, Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA)
Jay Kansara, Associate Director, Hindu American Foundation

The conference titled "The Future of Religious Freedom in Pakistan" is scheduled for Thursday, July 18, from 1:30 - 3:00 pm.  It will be held at the Carl Hayden Room, GPO, 732 North Capitol Street, NW.

The intro for the meetings states; After the recent transition to a new government in Pakistan, please join USCIRF for a public briefing on the future of religious freedom in Pakistan.  USCIRF will release the findings of its Pakistan Religious Violence Project and highlight recommendations for U.S. policy.  In addition, leading policy thinkers and representatives of religious communities facing persecution will share their views on the challenges confronting their coreligionists and actions the Pakistani and U.S. governments could take.

Please pray for the event and for the decision makers in the USA to respond with vigour to the findings and recommendations, that ensue as a consequence of this important conference.

The cost of travel and subsidence for this event is immense due to the short notice provided (informed on 11th July 2013) so if you can provide free lodging for Wilson whilst the conference is on.  Please do communicate with us.  If you would likr to donate to this and other work of the BPCA, please use the following details:

Donate 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
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Monday 15 July 2013

Parvez Masih beaten and killed after landlords accuse him of stealing.

By Shamim Masih

Gujuranwala: A Labourer was severely beaten and killed and then reported to police as having committed suicide.

According to local sources, Parvez Masih (25 years), was recently married to Nazia Bibi and the couple worked the agricultural land of their landlord Sarwat Bibi w/o Mehar Faiz, in Kotli Mehlaan District,

It is alleged that on Sunday, 14th July, Mehar Hassan Fiaz and Hamza Faiz had beaten him brutally to death after altercation involving  some stolen goods.  When they realised they had beaten him to death, they swiftly forced some poisonous tablets into his throat and reported to his family that he had committed suicide.

Nazia Parvez (wife of deceased) explained to Shamim Masih by telephone that the landlord brothers blamed him of stealing some goods and had beaten Pavaiz him severely to death.

Mrs Parvez has made a requested to the local Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Chief Minister, Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif , to take notice of the incident and to ensure that appropriate action is taken against the culprits. 

Sunday 14 July 2013

In a confession the perpetrators of the beating and public nudity of three Christian women have admitted this gross act!

Kasur: Over a month after a Muslim landlord allegedly humiliated three Christian women made naked in front of public in Pattoki, High Court has finally taken notice of the matter and directed District and Session judges of Kasur to investigate the incident and submit a report within two weeks.

The Judge has called both parties into the court and recorded their statements. During the enquiry the Judge scolded and criticised local police who he felt had not performed their duty honestly or dilligently.

The main accused Muhammad Munir gave an affidavit in court and admitted that the three Christian women were beaten, their clothes torn and that they were made publicly naked.  See below a the copy of affidavit:

These are the following contents of affidavit submitted by Muhammad Munir in the Court of District and Session Judge of Kasur, during inquiry of the said case FIR No.231/13 (translation):

"It is stated that, I am Muhammad Munir Sajid son of Abdul Rashid caste Arain ( Muslim by faith), resident of Village Sereser Chak No. 21 Police Station Saddar Pattoki. It states on oath that I am resident of the said address and a farmer by profession. On 31 May 2013 some goats belonging to Shoukat Masih entered and grazed in my crops and destroyed the crops.  I caught the goats and kept them in my haveli (barn) and when Shoukat came to take back his goats, there was trivial fight between us. On 3 June,2013, I submitted one complaint application to the Police station Saddar Pattoki against him, for damage to my crops and the altercation.  Police raided his home around 8 PM and he ran away forcing Police to return back without him.

I state on oath that about 10:30pm, Abrahim and Rafique my uncles along with other accused individuals nominated in the said FIR NO.231/13,came to my house and told me that  Shoukat had fled away, on seeing the police party arriving to his home, but now he may be at home. 

They argued that we should catch him and beat him aftre which, we would hand him over to the Police. I was beguiled by them and we went to Mr.Shoukat's house.  The outer door of his house was locked from the inside. One of the accused Mr.Waqas climbed his wall,  jumped over and entered the house.  He then unlocked the door and all the accused entered inside Shoukat's house, barring me I remained standing outside of the house.

I state on oath that as soon as they entered into the house they started shouting for Shoukat Masih stating they would beat him, to teach him a lesson. They expressed outrage that he dared to confront us landlords.

They started searching for Shoukat but in vain, so they started beating the women in the home and pulled them by their hair.  They dragged them into the local bazaar (Market) and then they tore off their clothes.  The women became naked in front of all the local public. After seeing this scene I fled away from the spot, leaving behind the said accused Abrahim and others.

I state on oath that I did not enter into the house of Mr.Shoukat Masih and did not commit any wrong thing with the Christian women, rather seeing that the accused persons had crossed sensible limits I fled the scene of the crime.

The following above stated contents of the affidavit are correct to my knowledge and I believe that no fact has been concealed.  The affidavit has been written so that it can be presented for proof and it can be used when necessary.Dated 15 June,2013."
Today Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill,National Director LEAD along with Ms.Ruhama Shaw(President Women Wing PCC Lahore) met the victim family and consoled them.  Ms.Ruhama financially supported the victim family.LEAD is giving free legal assistance to the Victim family and following the case

Christian Girl abducted, taken to disused hospital and raped, while watched by others.

Face of Humera (rape victim) hidden to protect her.

Rasheed Masih (40 years) a Christian by faith lived in Chak 377 Doctor Wala Vehari, Multan along with his wife and four children, Humera aged (14yrs) (Victim), Samara (13 yrs),  Zeshan aged (11yrs) and Zaman (9 years). They are a deprived Christian family and  both parents work as labourers. Their children including Humera worked with the parents picking on  agricultural land.

On July 13, 2013, Humera was alone in her home; her father and mother and her siblings were at work on the local fields. A cable operator Zubair s/o Abdul Sittar and another boy named Bao visited her home at 6:00 pm and informed her that her father had been involved in an accident.  He told Humera that her father was calling someone from his home to assist him. Humera become anxious when hearing this and agreed to travel with them on a motorcycle, to visit her father in hospital. They took her to Bashir Memorial hospital, far away from her village, which had been closed for the last 10 years. Murtaza another accused perpetrator of this heinous crime was waiting there as he lived near this hospital.

Humera noticed that they had stopped the motorcycle at Bashir Memorial Hospital and immediateley started to scream.  Zubair struck her with some hard blows and  forcibly took her into a room of the hospital, which he locked her inside.  Zubair brandished a gun and warned her not to make any noise on threat of death of Humeera and her family. After two hours the alleged perpetrators returned to the room (around 8:00pm) and led her with them onto the hospital roof there was a foam mattress. According to Humera only one accused Murtaza sexually harassed her, and he later forcibly raped her at gun point on the roof, while the other two men watched and gave her instructions.  

Later they left her in the room on her own, which was unlocked, she was warned not to come out or she would be killed. After 10 minutes she heard some voices from outside the hospital. She took a chance by venturing out of the room and .jumped the wall of the hospital.  She was without her sharwar (trousers), with naked legs which she had never experienced before. There were some Christian’s men from her village who were stood outside the hospital searching for her. When she saw them she started crying; one of them gave her a scarf to cover herself. Her father reached the spot and she described  the entire incident to him. Her father took her to their relatives house in Vehari for her own safety

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Shelters for poor in the Capital.

By Shamim Mehmood 

ISLAMABAD: Slum settlements (katchi abadis) in the capital city are deemed a challenge to the local authorities, concerned that they appear vulnerable yet hopeless at finding a lasting solution to this sensitive issue. 

Inhabitants of these dwellings are living miserable lives in the absence of basic necessities such as clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity and gas.

Almost all the slums are situated along seasonal rain drainage systems and suffer horrendous health hazards during rainy season.  These seasonal drains overflow and sometimes take the lives and belongings of victims in one fail swoop.

According to local sources, recently, a young man Salman Masih s/o Ilyas Masih was swept away by flood water near French Colony, F-7/4 and today his dead body was found after two days, near Nullah near Bahria Town. 

The devastation is mostly caused due to the lack of safety walls constructed around inhabited localities. Capital Development Authority (CDA), being the sole municipal authority in the Capital, have miserably failed to fulfil  their fundamental responsibility of constructing these walls, to ensure safety of human lives.

CDA authorities held a meeting after the incident, to review the performance of the Flood Relief Cell.  The Chairman of CDA directed officials concerned to keep a strict watch on affected areas.  But this action seems very piece-meal and reactive and provides no long term solution.
Most of these slums dwellers originally hail from different parts of the country,  some say that they left their homes to escape abject poverty and sometimes persecution. Christians are a prominent part of the slums population and their women often work as housemaids while men do blue collar jobs or work as labourers.

Reliable statistics reveals eleven katchi abadies, including Hansa Colony, Charles Colony, Faisal Colony, 66 Quarters, French Colony, Awami Colony, 100 Quarters, Issa Nagri, Maskeen Colony, Mushraf Colony, and 48 Quarters have legal status under the Urban Shelter Program of Capital Development Authority (CDA), whereas others have been allowed to grow due to the negligence of the concerned departments. 

The concerned authorities have given them legal status but the dwellers are still deprived of basic welfare facilities. 

A report compiled by a local concern group shows a continuous increase in the number of “katchi Abadis” or slums, in the Federal Capital.  

Nadeem Hassan Asif, Chairman CDA said;

"...authorities will follow the government policy in provision of the facilities and will remove illegal slums in the city."

Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said;

"The failure of the CDA to manage and equip these slum settlements, is no doubt responsible for the elevated sickness and mortality rates, assigned to settlers.  For too long Pakistani authorities have neglected victims of poverty that have been forced into this demeaning lifestlye - lets be honest it is not a choice. This failure is a black mark on the state and illustrates a lack of desire to protect all it's people."