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Nov-03-2012 12:33printcomments

Three Pastors from Rimsha's Hometown Perplexed About Religious Liberty

We are Pakistani and have sacrificed for the country, why are these fundamentalists imposing Islamic culture on us?

Pictures: Pastor Arif, Pastor Yousaf, & Pastor Shahid Gill
Pictures: Pastor Arif, Pastor Yousaf, & Pastor Shahid Gill

(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) - A few weeks back I wrote an article about the root cause of the Rimsha case. She is the little girl who was framed by a radical cleric for Blasphemy.

Shamim Masih questions Chisti before the
Imam was accused of falsifying evidence

It was around the time Qari Muhammad Khalid Chashti was released on bail against a surety bond worth Rs. 200,000.

Let me remind you of his statement on this issue printed in all English Papers of Islamabad on August 25, 2012, "Christian community had previously caused antagonism by playing music in services at their makeshift church during Muslim prayer time," and said burning the pages was deliberate.

"They committed this crime to insult us further. This happened because we did not stop their anti Islam activities before," he said. "Last Christmas, they played musical instruments and there was vulgarity in the streets during our prayer time. I warned them but they did not stop."

During his sermon at Friday prayers, Chishti told worshipers it was “time for Muslims to wake up” and protect the Holy Quran. (The Express, Tribune 25th August, 2012)

Based on his perspicacity the whole case was planted, on August 16, when Muslim extremists raised their voice against the Christians Meharabadi, Pastor Arif Shalokh - Calvary Charismatic Church, Islamabad, he escaped taking his family at 2:00 a.m. in the night wandering in the streets of Islamabad.

Pastor Arif

According to Pastor Arif, he has been serving the Lord for the last 15 years. Rimsha and her family were members of the same church. Pastor Arif was in a rented house and has been using a hall for church service. In that vicinity more than 35 families were his church members. He said he used to visit Rimsha & her family occasionally. We Christians are humble and peace loving people and can’t even imagine insulting others.

Answering to the question raised by Qari Muhammad Khalid Chishti; he said Church services normally start at 10:00 a.m. and finishes around 12 o clock, so during these hours there is no Azan or Muslim’s prayer time, so how come Christian’s disturb them during their prayer? Thus this is baseless and as for as vulgarity is concerned- we are part of this culture, so we are aware of our ritual and rights. Qari Khalid belongs to extremists group and he has been blaming on Christians since he is inducted in the mosque.

After resettling there when they started their worship session on Sunday, 7th October, they were not allowed to worship during Sunday services, so they went to the administration and filed an application to DCO. Assistant commissioner (AC) Islamabad had marked their application to SHO police station Ramna G-11 for the investigation and to report her promptly. A month later we are still hanging on dates.

Pastor Masih

Pastor Yousaf Masih – International Gospel Assemblies (IGA) has been working among Christians for years and having more than 100 families in his congregation.

Talking to BPCA representative in Pakistan, he said that since this incident happened most of the Christians families have left their houses on the same night. I have looking after them with the available resources, and once most of the families are back in the town, we arranged the Sunday Service in a house but our landlord didn’t allow us to worship even in our houses.

We ask the administration where is our religious liberty, on August 11, 1947 address of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to the members of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, to the status of a national covenant. That it has taken more than 50 years to reach such a conclusion is indeed most intriguing. In that address the Quaid said, among other things, the following:

Pastor Gill

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State... We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State... I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”

Where is our right? We are Pakistani and have sacrificed for the country, why are these fundamentalists imposing Islamic culture on us?

Pastor Shahid Gill – Living Branch Church Islamabad, has been working in Mehrabadi for the last 3 and half years. He is having more than fifty families in his church. Talking about the religious freedom he said that we ask our landlord to construct the church building and we had paid him 5 years advance but since the incident happened, our landlord Malik Parvaiz had back out from the agreement and told us to leave the house. He has not even paid of our advance so far. When we are not allowed to worship freely, how can we survive there?

It is clearly seen that there are some people in the country who claim the ownership, while they forget that people from other religions are Pakistani too. All Pakistanis have a right to perform their religious duties according to their religion, under the light of Quaid-e-Azam speech on 11 August.

We all request to UN to intercede into the matter and ask the Pakistani government to give us religious freedom.

About Shamim Masih

"I am a Christian rights activist and freelance Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christian rights for 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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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.