Tuesday, 29 December 2009
We are having great impact in getting others to join with us in a united protest against the current situation in Pakistan. Please do continue to be faithful to the cause.
Monday, 28 December 2009
"I and some colleagues went to the Adyala Jail, Rawalpindi and distributed gifts among the Christian prisoners, there were around 300 inmates."
This generous act took place on the 24th December 2009 and highlights what Christmas in about. Too often we get caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas and buying gifts for friends and families. Although there is nothing wrong with celebrating Christmas in this fashion, however, positive schemes such as giving to the poor and needy or to those who are captive, endears others to Christ and can often have a stabilising effect on the beliefs of a brother or sister, wrestling with the difficulties, we as humans regularly face.
We are all called to be good Samaritans and that extends to people outside our faith too and I hope next year to hear of other schemes which promote and wider inclusion in our celebrations next year.
God bless you all.
BETHAK-NGO & St. Philomena Rosary Prayer Group, Khanewal had succeeded in making arrangement for the Christmas dinner for the local marginalized Christian community. More than two hundred people attended the function. BETHAK’s youth volunteer group not only kept themselves busy in raising collections for he Christmas dinner but they also had been very enthusiastic in practicing entertainment programs to make this Christmas function a joyful entertainment for all participants. We are very grateful to all the generous friends who helped BETHAK to get out of difficulties of shortage of funds.
The Christmas dinner was hosted on 21st December 2009. All the participants were overjoyed to see their own children’s performance as actors and actresses. Mr. Samuel Barkat. Chairperson BETHAK, Catechist Pervez Hameed and Mr. Francis Jacob spoke on the various aspects of Christian love at Christmas time.
You can see the story of celebration function through the chain of pictures. The source of pictures is:-
The BPCA held a very successful protest march on the 19th December 2009. The event was attended by Green MEP Jean Lambert and Baroness Cox from the Queensbury seat in the House of Lords. Since the protets we have held a meeting with the Pakistani Embassy and thay have agreed to forward our concerns to the Pakistani Government. The Pakistani Embassy have also agreed to a follow up meeting in June.
View the video of our protest here:
Audience with Green MEP
Audience with High Commissioner of Pakistan
Images of Protest
Great impetus was created by our event and other global events that have resulted in news of a reform to the existing Blasphemy law in Pakistan:
New reforms on their way
We still want more reforms although our primary objective is the abrogation of the laws in their entirety:
Our model for reform of the Blasphemy Law
I would like to remind all our community in the UK that we are holding our second UK protest on the 31st of July 2010 (the official anniversary of the Korian incident). The route will be identical to the one we used for our first UK protest. We would appreciate if readers could advise us of your interesting in attending by posting a comment to this page.
Already Victor John from Huddersfield has led the way....read comments pages!
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Friday, 25 December 2009
Wilson Chowdhry with Jean Lambert Green Party MEP for London and EU Delegate to for South Asia to the European Union
Dear Prime Minister
We join the British Pakistani Christian Association to express our support for the concerns raised by the organisation. We further request you look at the plight of minorities across South Asia, particularly Pakistan and India. In both countries Christians are persecuted by the public and sometimes politically organised pogroms. There have been many incidents of Churches being burnt down in India without the authorities taking appropriate action.
India has actively engaged in persecuting Sikhs as well. Most victims are those who do not share the State’s idea of ‘commitment to the nation’ which usually means disagreement with policies towards minorities and particularly Sikhs in this case. Whereas those Sikhs who are comfortable with State view or those who compromise their own views to adjust to State policies can reach the highest levels, many groups of Sikhs have seen their cultural, political and social fabric destroyed by the State. Many have faced fabricated charges and continue to linger in prisons on judgements that would not stand in an impartial court.
The State has show partiality in pursuing justice for victims of politically organised riots, for instance the massacres of Sikhs in November 1984 in Delhi and the massacres of Muslims in February 2002 in Gujarat, India.
In Pakistan the Government has failed to protect some Sikhs living in remote places from harassment by zealous individuals and groups.
Other minorities also have many narratives of persecution and injustice at the hands of State police, corrupt courts and zealous individuals in both Pakistan and India. We urge you to raise this concern with both Governments and put pressure on them for levels of equity, freedom of conscience and protection for minorities that is expected from both Governments.
Political Game for control of Punjab being played to deprive 180 million Pakistanis to experience good governess – read it all in ‘Tribune.com.pk and Dailytime.com.pk. It is time to Enforce Law and Order in Pakistan either by the Military or by the Enforcement Agencies.
Sharifs didn’t resign over charges: Tasser
Why should PPP Allegations against CJP have not prompted resignations
Democracy will not sustain if institutions ‘interfere’ with each other’s work LAHORE: Nobody from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will resign over mere allegations, as no case has yet been proven in court, said Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer on Sunday, and pointed that while allegations have also been levelled against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, they have not stepped down.
“Allegations have been levelled against leaders of the PML-N and other political parties, their cases are pending in courts ... why are no decisions being announced in their cases?”
Asked Taseer while addressing the media in Lahore. He said Nawaz came to power with cases pending against him, while Shahbaz Sharif was also governing Punjab “in the same manner”. The Punjab governor said that democracy and the system could never sustain if “interference in each other’s work continues”. He said the PPP had worked hard to strengthen democracy in the country, but institutions’ interference in each other’s work would weaken democracy. “Allegations will keep surfacing, but the government will continue its work,” he said, and questioned if he should listen to some TV programme anchors and step down or work for the masses.
He said nobody could force anybody to resign. According to the APP news agency, the governor said the PPP would remain in the government and face the charges against the party in court. Replying to a question, he said the media did not have the mandate to decide who should resign, and it should only play the role of a “watchdog”. Taseer said the PPP came to power with the mandate of the masses. “I have asked President Zardari to stay in the Presidency until 2018.” He said that the president, the prime minister, the Senate chairman and the National Assembly speaker had been elected with a two-thirds majority, which “shows the support of the masses for the PPP”. He also questioned why justice was only for those who remained imprisoned for years.
He said justice should be for the 160 million people of Pakistan and must not be limited only to the PPP. He said PPP would serve the people who elected it. Replying to a question, he said the PPP had made great sacrifices for democracy, and it was for the masses to decide about the fate of elected representative after every five years. “The PPP will go back to the voters after five years,” he said. staff report
Raymond Durrani and Associates
Friends of Christian Minority in Pakistan
We just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
I had a rather sleepless night and prayed fervently for Pakistan - as the text message threats purportedly from the Taliban, left me very concerned for our vulnerable communities in the homeland. Fortunatley thus far there have been no attacks on Christian communities, however the two bomb attacks yesterday, seemed to indicate an insidious start to a more significant threat, than I had originally assumed.
Whether it turns out, that the texts were just a hoax or not, the fact that our people and other minority faith groups are being targeted by any militia groups, is a disconcerting fact. I will continue to pray for all my brothers and sisters in Pakistan and promise to keep you in my thought always.
Some of you have queried our reports on two bomb attacks in Pakistan and we are not sure of there is any media supression on the violent activity. We would assume not, however, here are links to western accounts of the explosions:
Wilson we will be interviewed on EAVA FM live at 13:00 - please tune in and share your comments.
Click here for Eava FM
Once again Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Private TV Channel reported that the blast occurred when the Majlis was underway. Around 300 people were attending the religious gathering as the blast occurred.
DIG Islamabad Bin Yameen while talking to media said that the incident occurred at about 10:18 pm when a suicide bomber tried to enter Imambargah. As the head constable Itifaq tried to stop the suicide bomber, he blew himself up.
He told that suicide bomber failed to detonate himself completely. He said that only half of the suicide jacket exploded. As a result, head constable Ittifaq has been injured while a girl who sustained serious injuries died. He said that face of the suicide bomber is completely intact and he seems 18-years old.
Earlier, Capital territory police and Punjab police and rescue teams rushed to the scene on the information of the blast and shifted the injured to the hospitals.
By Abbas Sahi (AFP) – 4 hours ago
YUHANABAD, Pakistan — There is no joy at Christmas for Pakistani Christians like Faqir Masih, forced by poverty to sell a kidney to unscrupulous organ traders who find easy prey among the religious minority.
The 32-year-old sells balloons to feed his mother, two brothers and sister. A year after being sliced open to sell a kidney to raise funds for his impoverished family after his father died, he still experiences agonising pain.
"Christmas, as usual, won't bring any joy this year as we can't celebrate," he says, sitting in dirty clothes on a broken bed next to his mother in the small, largely Christian town of Yuhanabad in eastern Pakistan.
"These people came and asked me to sell my kidney for 150,000 rupees (1,800 dollars). They said that I would be able to buy a new house and send my brothers and sister to a good school," he said.
"When I came round after the surgery, they gave me 40,000 rupees and warned me of serious consequences when I asked for the remaining money.
"These people didn't even give me proper medical treatment after the surgery... I still often feel excruciating pain," he said, showing a big wound on his abdomen.
There will no toys, no tree and no cheer in Masih's one-room home this Christmas. The furniture is ramshackle, with a curtain for a door. At night, temperatures drop close to freezing and the family huddle together for warmth.
Christians make up less than three percent of Pakistan's 167 million people, who are overwhelmingly Muslim, and are generally poverty-stricken and marginalised.
Most Christians in Yuhanabad, 20 kilometres (13 miles) east of Lahore, are labourers and workers, living in dilapidated houses and barely getting by.
It's a far cry from the flashy celebrations of the tiny elite of richer Christians in downtown Lahore, who buy Christmas trees, splurge on new clothes and dine out with friends and family in five-star hotels.
Pakistan's huge disparity of wealth lies at the root of the illegal kidney trade.
Adeeb-ul-Hasan Rizvi, head of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, is considered father of a bill in parliament to outlaw what he calls Pakistan's "big kidney bazaar".
"We calculated roughly at least 2,000 kidneys are transplanted in the country every year -- 500 legally and the rest illegally," he told AFP, putting last year's trade at 12 million dollars.
"Poor people normally sell their kidneys to the rich, a good number of whom come from the West and Gulf countries, to support their families.
"But they get little share of the bounty. The major share is taken by middle men and clinics involved in the trade."
Back in Yuhanabad, Safdar Masih -- no relation to Faqir Masih -- says he can't remember the last time he had enough money to celebrate Christmas.
"It's just a dream, which I don't think will ever come true," says the 45-year-old brick kiln worker, a father of five who was forced to sell a kidney to pay for a family wedding.
When a group of strangers offered a windfall payment for one of his kidneys, "we had no other option", he said:
"I was taken to a hospital in Lahore. I don't know which hospital. They only gave me 70,000 rupees and when I asked for more, they warned me to say nothing for my own safety."
The only Christmas presents his children will get this year are second-hand clothes donated by the Muslim families who employ his wife as a maid.
Christians are not the only victims.
Millions of Pakistanis live in bonded labour. Some sell kidneys in the hope of paying back cash advances from landlords and freeing themselves from their modern-day slavery.
Bones jutting out of his skin, Mohammad Ilyas became the fourth person in a family of 11 to sell a kidney in an effort to pay off a loan near Islamabad.
"I saw a big bucket full of knives, cutters and scissors... I got scared. I thought about running away but all the doors were locked and I was surrounded by half a dozen men who were about to cut my body," he said.
Imran and Alex leading the Lords Prayer.
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
No fear ! Brave hardy women are involved in the protest.
Swarms of people- our brothers and sisters do not need to rely on British counterparts.
Xavier William the General Sectary of Pakistan Christian Congress along with the other council members Mehboob Alam, Saqib Adeel, Zeeshan William and Suleman William led the protest against the Government of Pakistan in conjunction with the UK protest organized by British Pakistani Christian Association led by Alex and Wilson Chowdhry on 19th December 2009.
We so often hear of the Pastors in our community, the singers and of those who just want to make themselves known. However at the protest on Saturday 19th December the biggest privilege for me in particular and those of the BPCA was the visit from Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry. Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry and his 3 brothers initiated the first ever Asian Christian church in the UK - no other Indian or Pakistani Christian can ever take that record away from him. Read more (click here). This pioneering elder of our community at the grand old age of 84 travelled by Public Transport in the dire cold weather - just to be part of the culmination of his work.
Until he and his brothers started the first ever UK Asian Christian Church - our people were a divided diaspora in the UK. There was no central focus or body - it all developed through that early church (do follow the link provided earlier or this will not make any sense).
Dr Chowdhry provided a most riveting speech before the delegation left for 10 Downing Street. You may ask, why he was not part of the delegation to 10 Downing Street or the Pakistan Embassy - the answer is simple. Of the 20 times he was asked to be invited as part of the delegation, he declined every single one of them! He humbly answered:
"My son, at my age and after all my achievements, it would not be right for me to gain publicity or favour, for a process in which I have had minimal input." I have prayed for your event and for your group and confirm my full support. However, this has been arranged by a much younger generation than mine and it is they, that should take the credit for the endeavour and any resulting gain for our community."
Alex and I continually implored him to speak at the event and of all those present, his speech was the only one to fit the allocated 3 minutes, and it's precise nature and succinct message was a poignant one. Promoting universal peace, justice and equality. Whilst also focusing on the need to give glory to God for all we do and placing our trust in him.
Dr Mujeeb Chowdhry is our only surviving pioneer of the first Asian Christian Church. My Father was one of his brothers and passed away in 2006. I am always bemused in the manner that such a pioneer seems to have been dropped of the Asian Christian Circuit. Why is he neither invited to participate in the the large conferences in Pakistan or in the UK. Without him there would not be a fellowship in the UK. He was the first to champion political reform in Pakistan from the UK and was a part of the Important delegation we took to MEP Jean Lambert on the 18th December that Lead figures like Dr Peter David failed to attend. His emphasis on improving education in Pakistan - was astounding and extremely meticulous. I hope Brothers in Pakistan and the UK will recognise his endeavour and that of his brothers and award him and they posthumously for his and their service to the Pakistan Christian community. If we do I hope it is before his demise - our community reacts so late preserving our history and instilling a sense of pride in the younger generation and posterity. In the UK they have now created a Black History agenda promoting people from Black and Asian history to give the new hybrid generation, familiar role models to aspire them to greater things. Why not do the same?
Let's stop promoting those that promote themselves and promote those that exude humility?
Your comments please.......
Secondly I present to you our new Communications Officer Gerald Sunny:
Gerald Sunny can be seen in the picture carrying the cross as we were setting up and preparing the worship service, outside the Pakistani Embassy. He is a very enigmatic man, I have met him few times and still know so little of him. The reason being, we just talk about the next plan of action, or how to improve our activities, we talk about the situation in Pakistan. This is the type of person we need to be supporting and encouraging to take a full time role in the overall agenda for change on Pakistan.Gerald is a committed Christian and a learned individual. His recent address outside 10 Downing Street was inspirational and we are awaiting copies of his presentation so that we can incorporate it into our daily posts. We will be holding a debrief meeting (which we intend to hold in Alperton) soon, to encourage some of the young people there to get more involved with our group. Jessica Harris and David Harris in particular helped with the organisation in the pre-stage and event stage of our peace rally.
The person on the right in the Picture above is Atiq Chowdhry he is the 1st Vice Chairman of the BPCA and my elder brother. Atiq produced all the placards and encouraged peopel all day long. He visited Walthamstaow church frequently and spoke about our event. He and I both visited the church in Alperton from which the majority of Asian Christains came to our protest - we are indebited to them and I am sure that God will recognise theire efforts and committment.
Arish Chowdhry my younger cousin created the Facebook page which you can all now join, just serach via facebook inputting "British Pakistani Christian Association". Moreover he helped deisgn our wonderful logo, which was used in great effect on our protest lead banner. We amalgamated the British Union Flag with the Moon and Star from Pakistan. Placed a cross on and devised a succint motto "Creating a voice for Pakistani Christians". We intend to expand our work in the near future and have designated Arish as our Project Manager. The security at the event, the programmes and the leaflets although written byAlex, Atiq and I were printed by Arish who really held the fort well for us! See his image on our facebook page.
In the same picture you will also see Jessica and David Harris holding the banner. the two of them have been a real blessing to our nascent group. Young people like these need encouragement - we are arranging a debrief session regarding our protest in Alperton, hoping to recruit more young talent to our cause and group.
Christmas day schedule on Eava FM 102.5
I am attaching the planned schedule for 25th December 2009. You can now tune in all over the world via http://www.eavafm.com/ If youb have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Eava on the details below:
Christmas day schedule on Eava FM 102.5
07.00am Rev. Javid Iqabl – Leicester
08.00am Rev. Eric Sarwar – Holland
09.00am Rev. Noble Samuel – London
09.30am Singer - Hammad Baily
10.00am Singer – Balbir Suffi – India
10.30am Rev. Asif - Pakistan
On behalf of the Pukaar News team I would like to wish you a Christmas filled with joy and happiness.
T:0845 500 50 52
We at the BPCA are very grateful to Romail Gulzar from the Eava FM Team. He has supported our protest from the outset, produced the film of the event and interviewed us live on EAVA FM the week before the paece rally. Here are some of the images his associated company Pukaar News took on the 19th December 2009:
Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Atheists and Christians joined the peace rally and demanded justice, peace and equality in Pakistan.
Brothers and sisters in Pakistan please purchase a copy of the Jaang and inspire Churcehes in Pakistan with the Good News! There are People in the UK that love and care for you - not always the ones you expect but they exist and will continue the fight!
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
MEP Jean Lambert addressing the amassed protesters before delivering the petition to 10 Downing Street. I approcahed the Labour Party and the Conservatives - only letters of support were received. The Liberal part did not respond in any way!