Christian advocacy group British Pakistani Christian Association has joined hands with Australian Government to put pressure on Pakistan for abolition of the draconian blasphemy laws. Australian Christians lobby will be eyeing to channelize diplomatic means for this purpose.
The Australian Christian Lobby’s Director, Lyle Shelton said: “Australia’s $47 million aid budget to Pakistan should be contingent upon the country providing religious freedom to religious minorities, including its 10 million Christians.
“The Australian Government should not be silent about the lack of religious freedom and the persecution of Christians in Pakistan,” he said while continuing, “Asia Bibi has been languishing in prison for seven years as the appeal of her death sentence has wound its way through the Pakistani judicial system.
“That anyone could be sentenced to death for an alleged blasphemy in a supposedly moderate Islamic State would be a shock to most Australians. That we give aid to Pakistan and allow its sporting teams to compete here while it has a system of religious apartheid is doubly shocking,” he said.
BPCA Chief, Wilson Chowdhry also urged the Australian Government to allocate 100 places for the persecuted Pakistani Christians in Australia’s yearly humanitarian intake. “Christians persecuted in Pakistan are ignored. Reasons for this are the ally status Pakistan holds with Britain and America and intrinsic trade agreements with many western nations.
Coupled with the fear that instability in Pakistan could allow militants nuclear power, countries in the west ignore the poor and worsening human rights in Pakistan. Today we have challenged Australian politicians to monitor more closely the aid they provide to Pakistan.
“We have called for at least 50% of all foreign aid to be earmarked towards the improvement of human rights for Minorities in Pakistan. We have also asked for aid budgets to be withdrawn if Pakistan fails to improve its poor human rights record,” BPCA Chief said.