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Pakistan is inching towards religious tolerance says Dr. Paul Bhatti


Paul Bhatti

Pakistan is inching towards religious tolerance, says Dr. Paul Bhatti.

Dr. Paul Bhatti, in a addressing the Members of both Houses along with advocates of rights of persecuted Christians, he narrated the touching account of his brother Shahbaz Bhatti, who was murdered for his untiring endeavours for persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

He addressed the Members of both the Houses of British Parliament, activists of Aid to the Church in Need, on November 17, Tuesday. This event was chaired by Lord Alton, who is striving to extend every possible aid to the persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

Lord Alton stated, “Pakistan’s government continues to come under increasing pressure from international watchdogs to re-evaluate its human rights laws and redouble its efforts towards religious freedom. £405 million of UK aid this year has been sent to Pakistan, yet Shias, Ahmadis and Christians; have experienced massive discrimination and outright persecution. While Pakistan has been receiving this vast sum of money, the response of the state has been at best indifference, and at worst, the complicity of some of its agencies.”

This event was organised to discuss the plight of persecuted Christians in Pakistan. At this occasion, Dr. Paul Bhatti during his speech, narrated the story of inspirational services of his brother Shahbaz Bhatti.

An excerpt from his speech is as below:

“It is a real pleasure to be here with you all today to talk about the situation of Religious Minorities in Pakistan. Since almost the last two decades Pakistan has been facing a series of challenges with religious discrimination and persecution, sectarian violence, economic crisis, political instability and terrorism.”

“Despite anti-terrorism reforms, promotion of religious freedom, support of the international community, and precious sacrifices that have been made, we still facing the cruel and harsh realities of violence against the weak and voiceless people of our community.

We are losing precious lives along with their properties. Sadly Pakistan has lost more than 6000 of its law enforcement personal during this war against terrorism including high-ranking military officials. Further, we all have witnessed precious loss of human activists and democracy promoters like Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, and the attack on a young girl Malala, as well as false accusations of blasphemy against innocent victims.

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We have seen attacks on churches in Peshawer and Lahore, the incident in Gojra, and the recent act of violence against a poor couple who were thrown into a kiln as they were burnt to death. The culmination of these atrocities is beyond comprehension. It has left our entire nation shocked and discouraged raising many questions.

I would take this opportunity to share with you my personal experience how I came in this scenario:

Shahbaz was my younger brother. He dedicated 28 years of his life to vigorously foster the ideals of human equality, interfaith harmony, and mutual love. In his formidable struggle, in practicable terms with real outcomes, he forged a path of love and forgiveness cherishing the idea of interfaith harmony. He was a proactive man. An agent of change led by the Holy Spirit. He fearlessly and actively knit a network of friendships with individual souls reaching from the poorest of the poor to the highest echelons of our country’s Government. In doing so, he was able to effect huge political changes, bettering the lives of Religious Minorities in Pakistan.

He created prayer rooms for Christians and other religious minorities in several government institutions in Pakistan. He spearheaded establishing special quotas for the participation of Religious Minorities in government

He established committees for inter-religious dialogue that led to the Pakistani Parliament approving four member seats for Religious Minorities. It is worth mentioning that not many years ago; representation of Religious Minorities in our government was utterly inconceivable. He promoted and fostered relationships between Muslims, Christians and other religious traditions by living out the Sermon on the Mount, the way of Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels. He stayed true to his faith in Jesus Christ to his last breath.