In the wake of increasing ill-treatment with Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand by Thai authorities, UNHCR and Pakistani authorities, a Pakistani Christian woman writes to Pope Francis.
A Pakistani Christian woman namely Teena Khan, who is herself seeking asylum in Thailand has written an open letter to Pope Francis, urging him to look into the plight of Pakistani Christians suffering from religion based persecution within and without their homeland.
Most recently, Pope Francis has raised his voice urging the international community specially Europe to help the refugees pouring into Europe from Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan. He urged all Christians in Europe to open their hearts and homes to these refugees while calling upon all parishes across Europe to house one refugee family.
It is largely becuase of persecution or fear of persecution that the Pakistani Christians are fleeing increasingly from their country and eyeing asylum in countries like Thailand, Malysia, Sri Lanka and Philippines. However, their troubles do not end after leaving Pakistan but more distress awaits them in these countries which do not treat them on refugee’ status while the UNHCR is doing very little to facilitate them. Gradually but surely, this is shaping into a major future crisis both for Pakistan and Asia.
A copy Teena Khan’s letter is as below:
HIS HIGHNESS POPE FRANCIS,
I am a Pakistani Christian woman living in Bangkok since 3 years with my family as Asylum seeker. There are also hundreds of other Christian victim families from Pakistan who have applied for Asylum but unfortunately we are not getting any response from UNHCR. The visas of almost all the families have been expired due on which Thai immigration and police arrest the families who are in jails.
It has become very difficult for us to survive and to make two ends meet our daily needs of life because they not have work permits. We are just stuck up in our rooms and cannot move frequently outside to buy groceries.
We escaped from Islamic Republic of Pakistan because of safety of life while here in Bangkok we are still living as oppressed nation. We requested lot of times to UNHCR, to please, take pity upon us and give us the shelter and settlement plan.
There is large number of families awaiting for the interview call from UNHCR as well many waiting for result from more than 2 years.
I wish to bring in your notice that some years back there happened a mishap when one girl named as MALALA YOUSAF from Pakistan was shot by terrorist while Govt. of Pakistan took immediate action for her treatment and that girl was shifted to USA for security and treatment purposes. She is also human being like us but she is being treated like Celebrity because she belongs to rich Pakistani family; we are poor but are we not Pakistanis?
Government of Pakistan not cared for us when our lot of Christian families were murdered, their houses were burnt, male and female were arrested in Pakistan. Why we are not treated as a human being in Pakistan?
We ran away from Pakistan to save our life with the hope that UNHCR at Bangkok Thailand will help us ….but sorry here in Bangkok, we are also facing substandard treatment. There is no response from UNHCR, lot of peoples are sick they don’t have money to buy medicine. Few have been died but UNHCR don’t care and don’t bother to look after Pakistani Christian asylum seekers.
We humbly request to you kind honor to please take an action that UNHCR at Bangkok, Thailand, may expedite process of suffering asylum seekers and bail out who have been sent to jail. We hope that with your immediate notice asylum seekers will be provided food, shelter and residence.
Pakistani Christian asylum seekers waiting blessing of our Holy Father Pope Francis.