Britain’s Lord Alton endeavours to ensure persecuted Christians get rights in Pakistan.
All Party Parliamentary Group for International Religious Freedom held an official hearing on the situation of plight of Christians in Pakistan. This hearing was held at Portcullis House. Prominent leaders from all over UK attended this hearing and participated in two hearing sessions delving into the nature of persecution of Christians in Pakistan.
Lord Alton who had previously visited the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand was one of the leading campaigners for the persecuted Pakistani Christians. During these hearing sessions, the treatment given to Pakistani Christian refugees was also brought in discussion while at the same time, solutions relating to UNHCR’s negligence towards the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and strict policies of the UK Home Office was considered.
Thousands of Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in Thailand consider themselves re-persecuted, Lord Alton told the attendees. At this occasion, various NGOs nagged at UK’s Foreign Policy towards Christians in Pakistan. Moreover, the flaws in Home Office’s policy for Pakistani Christians were also discussed.
Lord Alton after his visit to Thailand, narrated the plight of Pakistani Christians saying, “The exodus from Pakistan is driven by visceral hatred and a fanatical disregard for the rights of minorities. In a country where the brave Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, can be murdered in broad daylight.
Where churches are bombed, where an illiterate woman can be sentenced to death of alleged blasphemy charges, where a husband and wife can be burnt alive in front of their young children, and where there is a culture of impunity which rarely leads to those responsible being brought to justice, it is little wonder that many Christians are fleeing for their lives. It doubly compounds their suffering when the international community fails to step up to the plate in defence of those who have to endure such pitiless suffering and hardship.”
During these hearings, the attendees raised concerns about the disreputable blasphemy law in Pakistan, the anti-Christian content in the curriculum of schools, gender based religious persecution and insolence of authorities towards religious minorities in Pakistan. The attendees claimed that the UK’s policy under which Christians are described as facing discrimination in Pakistan is not precise. Instead, they urged that UK should admit that Pakistani Christians are facing persecution.
“UNHCR asylum papers have no weight, arrests are indiscriminate despite UNHCR approved asylum status as the Royal Thai Government has not ratified the 1951 Convention on Asylum or the 1967 Protocol. Several preventable deaths this year alone and images of children and lactating mothers in prison, has not moved the UNHCR to a swifter administration of Pak-Christian asylum seekers.
The fact remains that the UNHCR is woefully understaffed and delays of up to 10 years for re-settlement for a community they deem severely discriminated against, has resulted in re-persecution of suffering Christians of Pakistan,” Wilson Chaudhary said.