Forced conversions, misused blasphemy law, public lynching and a hoard of other brutalities is what made Christians in Pakistan flee from what they once called home. More than 4000 Pakistani Christians who fled to Thailand to seek refuge are now facing arrests, deportation and the status of illegal immigrants. Initially they were not permitted to work or study but conditions worsened when not only adults but children were also forced into detention centers and are expected to serve an unlimited time under the harsh accusation of “overstay”.
The fear that looms over their faces is heart-rending. Words like “hopeless” and “death” are the common talk of people who are starving and are drilling holes to use as toilets. Their dire straits include continuous threats of deportation by the Thailand government. Numerous asylum seekers have gone into hiding, unsure of what the next morning promises to bring.
After fleeing Pakistan due to the continuous fear of death, the shadow of dashed hopes looms large over them. They expected help to come from the UNHCR and some even have scheduled interviews with them but considering the relentlessness of the government, they have not been put off for an unexpected frame of time.
A women shedding tears on her hopelessness said, “We do no know what to feed our children, conditions here are worse than those in Pakistan”. There have also been reports on the time when the Thailand police started the crackdown. Homes of asylum seekers in the Samrong district were raided and areas and streets were cordoned off. It was like an operation against criminals. The police are reported to have broken into houses, and inhumanely arresting women and children. People were then stashed up in immensely small rooms were they had to spend time sitting up. Sadly the truth of the time is the helplessness of these people in these hours of desolation.
However, their still seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel in the shape of people like Pastor Thongchai. He is a local pastor who helps Pakistani Christians from his limited resources. He prays for them and encourages them to raise their voices against this harshness. Unfortunately, he is just one man standing up to morally support people in agony. Hopeless cries of people in suffering have fallen deaf on the ears of so called human rights organizations. The truth is that even if the persecution comes to an end, the violation of international law still encircles these Pakistani Christians. Will this trampled minority ever be able to make their voices hears? Kindly raise your voices in prayer and contact UNHCR to protect these people as their ears can hear silence, nothing else.