Nazir S Bhatti is the Chairman and Founder Pakistan Christian Congress. He has been striving for various rights of Christians in Pakistan. He raised voice against the selection system of minorities’ representatives in local and national elections. He also strongly led campaigns urging the government to repeal the blasphemy law.
Nazir S Bhatti was born in Karachi. “I belong to very poor family. My mother wanted me a leading man. My father paid huge fees for me to study in St. Patrick’s College Karachi. I did graduation from Karachi University in Statistics.”
He had a political vision since he was a student, “I was leader of National Students Federation NSF in Karachi University from 1968 to 1972.” As a student he always harboured a clear visualization for a tolerant society. “We had a vision of liberal moderate Pakistan unlike that of Jamiat Tulba Pakistan and Jamat Islami Student Union in University.”
Strongly led by his aspirations, he started his political career at a very young age. “I followed Azad Pakistan Masihi League led by Joshua Fazal Din during election of 1970 as a student,” he said. While active under the banner of Azad Pakistan Masihi League, he did not see any hope to achieve his goal of a separate electorate for minorities in Pakistan, therefore, he launched Pakistan Christian Congress in 1985 from Lahore.
Pakistan Christian Congress was a political platform from where various campaigns for rights of Christians were being initiated. His political party had a six points manifesto. However, “Government of Pakistan has banned our website in Pakistan,” he told.
According to Nazir S Bhatti, “Pakistani Christians are facing genocide in Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and, this I think is the worst problem Christians are facing in Pakistan.” He remarked about the notorious blasphemy law in Pakistan saying, “Blasphemy laws are most controversial legislation in Pakistan. It is targeting Christians and other religious minorities.”
Taking a firm stand against the blasphemy law, he told, “I filed lawsuit in Lahore High Court to repeal blasphemy law in 1998, however, it is sad that Pakistani Christians are not challenging this law in court.” As a result of his active campaigns against the blasphemy law, he told, “I was forced to leave Pakistan.”
The situation became tight for him in Pakistan; as a result he had to flee. “The Government filed 21 cases against me in 2 hours under murder, and conspiracy to over throw government.” Nazir S Bhatti says that he has little hope for Asia Bibi’s release. “The Supreme Court of Pakistan will not free Asia Bibi. But will turn her death sentence to life in Prison. Asia Bibi will not be set free; anyhow, it is my personal opinion.”
He does not seem optimistic about the progress of Christians in Pakistan. In this regard, he said, “The future of Christians in Pakistan is not very bright in education also. The institutions owned by Churches are running for business concerns. Our missionary institutions are not serving Christians.” And as a result of this, “future of Christian youth is very bleak,” he asserted.
Lastly, he had a very plain message for the Christian youngsters as urged them to get education at any cost, “Try to get higher education, we have to compete in every possible field. Which is possible only, if we have good education then we can compete on merit.”