As March draws nigh, the appointed time to conduct a census in Pakistan; country’s Christians express concerns regarding the count. Mainstream churches have joined hands in order to create awareness among the Christian community to participate in the count so that an accurate data would be available.
In this regard, Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts stated that the pastors would be pivotal in making the Christian population aware about the importance of accurate data of Christian population in Pakistan. “It is necessary to take a step forward to unite all the baptized, without distinction of confession, involving every pastoral worker, from the Bishops, to priests and catechists, in order to have the correct numbers on our Christian communities.”
For this purpose, on February 13, representatives from the Catholic Church and Church of Pakistan along with other denominations gathered in Karachi, in order to chalk out their strategy in connection with the forthcoming census. The participants unanimously agreed that “2017 Census is very important for the Christian community, not only for our development, but also for our rights.” Church leaders decided to launch campaigns during the church services.
Chief Minister Sindh’s former assistant for interreligious harmony Anthony Naveed will be carrying out seminars in order to educate churchmen and pastors about the procedures related to the census. These seminars will equip pastors with necessary information regarding the procedure so that they may instruct their congregants about the procedure and documents necessary in order to participate in the census. “It will be an important moment for us Christians: we can be recognized for our real numbers. This census will determine our future”, he said.
The need of an accurate data of Christian population was also highlighted by a social activist Zahid Farooq who said: “In the first national assembly at the time of the founding of Pakistan, there were 145 seats including 10 reserved for minorities; now there are 342 seats, but the seats for minorities have not changed and are still 10.”