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Aug-26-2013 00:22printcomments

Constitution Avenue Will Remain Quiet Until you Sleep

Let us face the realities that haunt Pakistan in real time.

Pakistani Christian women
Christian women in Pakistan. Photo courtesy:

(ISLAMABAD) - The distribution is not absolutely equal among the whole population, thus, demarcate among various socioeconomic groups of a country. One of the worst outcomes of income inequality is poverty, considered to be fatal for any nation’s development because poverty breeds more poverty which engulfs the whole nation. According to the World Bank, poverty manifests itself in many forms across time and place but it is an alarming sign, and experts call for action so that many others can be saved from becoming its victims.

It is reported that the poverty rate among ethnic minority groups especially Christians in Pakistan is twice as much as for Muslims. People in minority ethnic communities are being overlooked for jobs and are being paid lower wages, despite improvements in education and qualifications. A research organization has found that religious minorities in Pakistan are deliberately kept low in census-figures to deny them greater representation. Already Pakistan lists seventh amongst top ten countries notorious to be dangerous for religious minorities. Even than the ruler are not serious to solve the issues. Present government (PML-N) do not have minorities support since they are engulf to deny minorities rights. Although I don’t support to celebrate minorities’ day and I see no cause for celebrating 11 August as Minorities Day. It is an aspersion on Pakistan movement and the dream that was Pakistan. Even then it is observed that PML-N didn’t take any interest in minorities’ day.

The idea of an exclusive day for minorities that both Cecil Chaudry and Shahbaz Bhatti pushed has nothing to do with celebration. It was the beginning of a vibrant struggle that seems to peter away. The purpose was to reawaken Pakistanis across the entire spectrum to the reality of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech that underlined the need to cut across all religious, ethnic and sub nationalist divides to work for Pakistani nationalism. In any case, this day is rather a rejoinder that the Pakistani establishment and people are yet to live up to the dream of its founding father. If anything, it remains a black day for all Pakistanis that include religious minorities and suppressed groups.

It is time to contemplate and act. Three Christian human rights activists that formed a formidable trio are no more with us. Bishop John Joseph shot himself in utter frustration. Sahbaz Bhatti was assassinated fighting for the release of Aasia Bibi and before that trying to bring the culprits of Gojra, Sambrial and Gujranwala to book. Cecil, fighting his last battle with cancer died a few years ago. So where are those who will now carry the baton?

Let us face the realities that haunt Pakistan in real time. With them no more amongst us, the chronology of events leading to Minority Day, leaves is no room to rejoice. It is a call for action. It is a reminder that the struggle must continue towards a plural and egalitarian Pakistan. And I am in the favor that this day should therefore as Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf suggests be called a National Solidarity Day. In any case, these objectives cannot be achieved by one single community. It takes two to tango and in this Wild Pakistan we see today, it would take many more to despise hate and shake hands.

11 August 1947 is a far cry and lots of water has passed under the bridge. Pakistan is now divided beyond religious lines. Ethnicity, sectarianism, sub nationalism and militancy are all eating into the foundations of the country like a cancer whose tentacles have spread everywhere. The revulsion from within can only brings an internal change and hence the revival of Jinnah’s dream formulated with the close association of Christians, Hindus, Parsees, Baloch, Pashtuns and Sindhies. To jubilant of Minority day I say, ‘you have no desire and you can never do it alone’.

There was something ironic about 11 August this year. I saw the biggest joker of Christian rights in Pakistan Julius Salik join the election campaign of Advocate Ashraf Gujjar for NA 48. Yes he is the same Gujjar who garland Mumtaz Qadri and who feels he must be released. He is the same Mumtaz, who took law into his own hands and killed Salman Taseer before his blasphemous guilt could be proved. This is an ugly side of one of our leaders who is a self-proclaimed champion of human rights while he has done nothing practically for their rights. I found Basharat Khokhar better helping Christians in Islamabad then this leader. J Salik arranged commiseration for Qazi Husain Ahmad after his death but not spoken a single word for Shahbaz Bhatti. Qazi Husain Ahmad was the chief of Jammet e Islami – JI, a fundamentalist religious organization.

Again for the local bodies’ election to be held till September 15 as Supreme Court order, big Muslim political parties will bring puppets from minorities. There is no right to minorities to elect their representatives who can be their voice.

I am giving a wakeup call to all religious minorities in Pakistan, this may be their last chance to contribute before the local body election. We need to stand against discrimination hand in hand with all oppressed people of Pakistan. If the authorities don’t agree to give us our rights; we need to carve our space in Pakistan. We are sons of this land and we made Pakistan happen. I want the nation to stand up at once for their rights.

About Shamim Masih

"I am Christian rights activist and freelancer Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christians rights for the different papers in the world. My aim is to create a peaceful environment in the society and to help eliminate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world."

Shamim Masih was born in Sheikhopura's village and raised in Gujranwala, a city in Pakistan's Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors Degree from the University of the Punjab, Lahore majoring in English, Economics and Statistics; he also received a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

As a freelance writer and author, Shamim has written for different papers in the world; his expertise is in writing articles highlighting different social issues. He has served as freelance chief reporter and column writer in “Minority Times” in Islamabad, and a number of Shamim's articles have been published in local papers as well.

You can write to Shamim at this address:



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