Pakistani Christian lawmaker Asiya Nasir speaks for the persecuted Christians at the annual conference of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for the Freedom of Religion. This conference was held in Berlin on September 14, 2016. While addressing the conference MNA Asiya Nasir delineated the plight of Pakistani Christians.
“Pakistan is a diverse country,” she said while adding, “People of different religions live in Pakistan-95% are Muslims and 5% are religious minorities comprising of Christians, Hindus, Parsis and other religions.” While referring to Christians in Pakistan she said: “I would like to say that regarding the Christian minority in Pakistan – my forefathers my ancestors consented to be part of Pakistan at the time of partition.”
“They consented to come to Pakistan so that Christians would have a life of more respect and equality in Pakistan. Pakistan was never a society like this…… Pakistan was a very open society, which gave a lot of space to the religious minorities. But I do not know when it started,” she said.
“We need to understand the situation of Pakistan in the context of war against terrorism. Since three decades Pakistan is in a war-like situation. I must say Pakistan is going through terrible time. We have been combating terrorism; more than 60,000 lives of innocent people have been used as fuel of this war against terrorism. We have lost our infrastructures,” she explained.
She further asserted that: “Our society has lost its social fabric, I must say. These seeds of hatred were not there at the time of emergence. But what happened was that as Pakistan fought against terrorism and in this streak of terrorism gave guns to extremists and these extremists forces are targeting the minorities in Pakistan.”
“And then there is another thing that we the minorities always prioritize is democracy, and we think that only strong democratic systems can ensure our lives in any country or any nation. Because whenever there is dictatorship it gives rise to extremism. There was a dictator in Pakistan who took the education system and used the religion to prolong his stay and so religion overwhelmed our education systems.”
“After 30 years, the mindset which we are combating today – is the mindset that is creating problems for the religious minorities in Pakistan. This is my third term in the Parliament of Pakistan and my affiliation is with an Islamic party which really backs me to voice the plight of my people.”