(NOTE: Name of the writer of this letter is withheld)
ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani Christian writes to a local newspaper highlighting the role of Christians in Pakistan’s history.
A Pakistani Christian writes as follows:
Declaring Pakistan secular
Many Pakistanis are unaware of the role Christians have played in the nation’s history. Christians have had a considerable impact, especially in education and health. Many of Pakistan’s most prominent leaders — including the current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, the assassinated prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and former President Pervez Musharraf, went to Christian schools. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who founded Pakistan in 1947, had also been a student of Christian schools and colleges.
The targeting of Christians comes amid a widespread breakdown of public order. The ordinary Christian — hearing stories of gangs breaking into homes and kidnapping Christian girls and women — thinks only of survival. Extremist Pakistani Muslims are frequently the culprits in attacks on Christians. Christians have been especially vulnerable in cases concerning the blasphemy law, which easily converts into a tool of oppression against them
This is a planned genocide of Pakistani Christians. At times it seems that it is all being done on the behest of the government. The government promises to reconstruct the homes of Christians destroyed by mobs without taking out any time to do the needful. These are stunts for the media. Those Pakistanis who do speak up for Christians have themselves become targets of violence. In 2011, a sitting governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, who had criticised the use of the blasphemy laws against innocent people, was killed by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. This Johnny was then hailed as a hero. I have witnessed this during my imprisonment in Adiala prison; everyone from most junior to most senior jail officials appreciating him and addressing him as a great hero of Islam.
The situation of Christians can only be improved when the Muslims of Pakistan consider all Christians of Pakistan as their countrymen, when the government will abolish all discriminatory and blasphemy laws and the world urges Pakistan to declare itself a secular state.