A lot of news from Pakistan

Dear All,

In 1969 the first Pakistani Christian church in the UK was started in Dalton, London, by three brothers: Mujeeb Chowdhry, Najeeb Chowdhry and Waheeb Chowdhry (my father).  Connecting with other Pakistani Christians they met through their daily lives,  they raised funds to pioneer this church which gave them a sense of family, belonging and home in the new world they found themselves in.  The news of the church’s success soon spread and similar fellowships multiplied across the country, strengthening the body of Asian Christians in the UK.

A great benefit of these niche cultural churches is the way in which they can strengthen, encourage and help the Asian diaspora, especially in times of need,  and our group has travelled to Pak-Christian communities up and down the country to speak, attend protests together, raise awareness and help build up our electronic database by which you receive this email.  Pak-Christian churches also have a pivotal role to play in helping new arrivals adjust to their new communities today, and in giving a sense of home and family,  just as they did back then, and they keep alive our colourful traditions making it easier for new converts to identify with the church.

The majority of Pak-Christians in the UK do attend both indigenous churches and the Asian services ensuring we do not separate ourselves from the main body, a process endorsed by the BPCA who value the integration of our people into British society.  Our thriving community is taking more of an ownership towards bringing change in the homeland, and I would like to think that the BPCA has contributed somewhat to this process by informing Pakistani churches and individuals, as well as those from other backgrounds, of the growing concern in Pakistan.  We hope to continue raising awareness for a long time to come, and we thank the wider Christian and other communities for their ongoing support.

On a personal note, my mother Helen Chowdhry RIP (25th December 1941 – 5th November 2015) passed away on 5th November 2015.  Many of you will have known her and for your benefit I share details of her funeral:

Saturday 14th November, 10am prompt at St Andrews Church, 153 Colworth Road, Leytonstone, London, E11 1JD

St Andrew’s is located on the corner of St Andrew’s Road and Colworth Rd,  the entrance is on Colworth Rd. 15 minute walk from Leytonstone tube Station and within easy access of the A406 North Circular Road and the M11 Motorway.

Nothing made mum smile more than good company.  She would sit, silently most of the time, hoping guests were enjoying her cooking – which was most often extremely well complimented – and attentively listening to conversations only to then bring the room to silence or laughter with a profound or humorous comment. My parents enjoyed 37 years of marriage which was only separated due to the distance of heaven from earth.  Now they will meet again in their new more glorious robes and together will worship their Lord in person.  An end to their carnal life has led to the fulfilment of their ambition. They leave behind a family that is still committed to God and I can think of no better legacy.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2,3)

This month’s newsletter is longer than previous ones, due to the large number of reports we have received, and thanks to those who have read thus far! I would encourage you to skim through and read those reports which are of most interest to you.

May God bless you all.

Wilson Chowdhry

 

Deaf Pak-Christian mother seeks justice for gang rape by three Muslim men.

  • Sunday, November 08, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry
                                                                          

                                                                                                                 Safia Bibi 
A deaf Christian woman who was brutally raped by three Muslim men in the district of Kasur, Pakistan, over a month ago, is living in hiding, still seeking justice.
The attack took place at the family home on on 22nd September, 2015. Her husband Khaild Masih reports that the alleged rapists, one of whom was Muhmmad Umer (22) and two other men, entered the family home by force whilst Khalid was at work and Safia (25) was alone with their eight-month old baby. They threatened her baby before all three raped her.
The men seem to have chosen their victim for her vulnerability and timed their attack purposely during excessive rainfall in the area which meant that most if not all residents of the street where they lived were inside their homes. However, as they left house, they were witnessed by several local people as, by that stage, the heavy rain had ceased. Read full story (click here)
 

Bitter Tears Shed on Anniversary of Shama and Shahzad Burnt Alive in Brick Kiln

  • Wednesday, November 04, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry


Shama’s father, Mukhtar Masih, and children L-R Sonia, Poonam and Suleman pray with BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti

Today is 4th November. Not remarkable in any way, the day before Guy Fawkes Day – a cold, ordinary November day here in the UK. Yet this date is forever emblazoned in my memory as it marks the day Sonia, Poonam and Suleman were robbed of their parents, both on the same day, both killed in the same cruel and inhumane way. Such a double loss would be a tragedy in any circumstances, but these children’s parents were lynched, beaten and burnt to death by a Muslim mob for alleged ‘blasphemy’ and thrown alive into the brick kiln where they worked. Let us imagine, as best we can, as adult westerners, what these children have gone through. Very young, knowing only poverty which saw several older siblings farmed out to relatives who could support them, they would not understand that their parents were borderline slaves, working as ‘bonded labourers’. They would never have known that their pregnant mother was being sexually abused by the accountant/manager at the brick kiln, nor that their parents were being cheated of their wages and debt repayments, a typical occurence.

When their grandfather died, Shama, their mother, cleaned out his house and burned some magic occult papers as being Christian she was against this and wanted no trace of it left. This was the trigger for accusations of blasphemy by Muslim neighbours who claimed she was burning holy words from the Quran. The children likely wouldn’t know that in villages all around, imams were using mosque loud-speakers to urge villagers to punish the blasphemous unbelievers.
Read full story (click here)

Read about family private memorial (click here)

Freedom for Asia Bibi could be as soon as next year!

  • Friday, October 30, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry


Asia Bibi: Pakistan’s most famous blasphemy law victim
Sign our petition (click here) Share our campaign video (click here) Watch this passionate depiction in dance (click here)

Today Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of British Pakistan Christian Association, had a telephone conversation with the lead defence solicitor for Asia Bibi, advocate Saif ul Malook. Mr Malook provided a very frank and candid response to Mr Chowdhry.

He said that despite being incarcerated for a continuous six year period in the rough prisons of Multan, Asia Bibi’s health is in extremely good condition. The unfortunate mother of five was imprisoned after drinking from the same well as Muslims, an act that was deemed a sacrilege. She then during an altercation with Muslim co-workers said:
“My Christ died for me what has Muhammed done for you?”

For this she was beaten and raped and had to endure the pain of her young daughters also being sexually molested. Despite these violent attacks on her family only Asia has been punished for her alleged crimes. She has languished in a prison cell since her attack. Read more (click here)

Asia bibi has been isolated from other inmates for her own safety after she experienced significant bullying, harassment and threats. However a caretaker has been provided to her, whose role it is to provide help with cooking fresh food with Asia (to prevent poisoning), cleaning of the cell and to afford her some company.

Read full story (click here)

Earthquake Appeal Aims to Help Thousands of Victims.

  • Wednesday, October 28, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry



 Shamim Masih outside Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar

Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD:

At least 300 people were confirmed dead and more than 2,000 were reported injured in the aftermath of the massive 8.1 magnitude earthquake which hit northern Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday, 26 October, 2015. Shamim Masih, BPCA lead reporter, immediately visited Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar to meet and encourage victims who survived the catastrophe. He talked to the traumatised patients and inquired about their health.
According to the ‘National Disaster Management Authority’, (NDMA), more than 200 people died in the devastated region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) alone, and 1,500 people sustained injuries. This and other areas have become no travel zones, and due to a lack of local hospital facilities patients have been driven or airlifted out for treatment, with many of them arriving at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, the capital of KPK.
Dr. Mohammad Arif, DMS at Lady Reading Hospital, spoke of how the hospital reacted. He said:
“Our hospital was put on hight alert and we received 205 patients. Fortunately 166 patients were discharged with minor injuries after having received all necessary treatment; 35 are still admitted and are undergoing treatment, of whom around 15 are in a critical condition. Sadly 4 of the patients died on the way, and we send our deepest condolences to their families”.

NDMA have reported that 4,500 houses have collapsed or were severely damaged by the earthquake. The most affected areas are the cities of KPK : Shangla, Chitral, Swat, and Buner districts.

Read full story (click here)
Read our initial report (click here)      

Christian who lost baby labelled ‘faeces’ in vicious Muslim attack now living in hiding and poverty

  • Friday, October 23, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry

  BPCA’s Mehwish Bhatti (holding child) meets Elishba Bibi and her family 


On 16 of November 2014 a 28 year old woman, Elishba Bibi, who was three months pregnant, was attacked in the Christian Colony at Rana Town, Sheikhupura. The attack by Muneeb and Mobeel Gondal was in response to an argument she had with their mother and sister over money for beauty treatments they had received from Elishba.  The two men brutally beat her with metal rods, publicly stripped her naked and dragged her through the streets for her humiliation, which resulted in her miscarrying her baby. In the attack not only was she denied payment for the treatments she had provided, but the two sons took her gold chain, mobile phone and her salary from her purse. The severity of the beating caused her to pass out. While this act of violence took place many Muslims in the local community cursed her for being a Christian, and ridiculed her even going as far as saying ‘Christian babies are just faeces’. Later a kind local Christian woman picked her up, clothed her and helped her home.

Back in 2104 the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) launched an appeal to replace the mobile phone, gold jewellery and lost salary for Elishba. Thankfully donors moved by the plight and pain of this formerly expectant mother responded to the need and we raised enough funds to complete the provision. Unfortunately the charity who had promised to guide us to Elishba decided to miss the appointment, and they are no longer in existence after the trustees were accused of being involved in a murder investigation.

However, this left us with a huge dilemma of having raised funds for a purpose that we could not spend them on. The BPCA tried over the last year to get in contact with the mother and thankfully Shamim Masih traced her secret whereabouts. A visit by Shamim, together with our young Lahore officer Naveed, resulted in us buying food for Elishba as we found her in extreme poverty due to her having fled her home and now being in hiding. Despite her pain, humiliation and the loss of her child this poor woman and her surviving children have become the victims. Read full story to learn how we are helping rebuild Elishba’s life (click here).

Pakistan’s treacherous employment practice highlights Christian suffering

  • Wednesday, October 21, 2015
  • by BPCA Admin2


ISLAMABAD: A Christian sanitary worker from Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad was brutally beaten up when he asked for wages in lieu of work completed. Waseem Saleem, 26, was a sanitary worker from the town of Lok Virsa and was employed from 2013 until last month when his employment was harshly terminated without notice.

It is alleged that recently appointed Executive Director Dr. Fouzia Saeed, verbally expelled him from his job last month without any formal dismissal process, an act that is being described as illegal by Mr Saleem. Mr Saleem then demanded the salary he was owed for the work he had done and was brutally beaten by cohorts of Dr Saeed in an attack so severe he was admitted to hospital for three days.

It has been alleged that Dr. Fouzia Saeed was appointed as Executive Director of Lok Virsa local government in August 2014 and that since her appointment she has exhibited great prejudice towards Christian workers.

Waseem told BPCA representative Shamim Masih that he had been employed on a full time contract, and for two years had no complaint laid against him, in fact he was often praised for his efficiency, he said:
“Since her appointment Dr Saeed has been removing Christians from her workforce. Last month my job was terminated and when I asked for the final month’s salary (September) owed, I was denied it. As I returned home three men on a motorcycle accosted me, calling me by name. When I responded they told me not to go back to my former workplace or I would be killed. They then started beating me with sticks and told me Christians are dogs.”

Read full story (click here)
 

Genocide of Christians and Jihad Discussed at Italian Parliament

  • Sunday, October 18, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry

                                        
Wilson is greeted by MP Luisa Capitanio Santolini, President of the Parliamentary Friends of Pakistan

Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, Wilson Chowdhry, addressed an Italian conference at the parliament building in Rome on Monday 19th October 2015. Mr Chowdhry described the cultural genocide waged against Christians in Pakistan drawing on the attacks to Shama and Shahzad, a couple burned alive in a brick kiln after false allegations of blasphemy, and the long term incarceration of Asia Bibi under the same draconian laws.
The event which was organised by the ‘Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy’ and ‘Umanitaria Padana,’ brought together church leaders from many persecuted nations including: Patriarch of Antioch of the Melkite, Gregory III Laham, of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Raphael Louis 1st Patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians for theSyriac Catholic Church, Archimandrite Tovma Khachatryan, Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Italy, Bishop of Djibouti, Giorgio Bertin, and Bishop of Faisalabad, Joseph Arshad.   Read full story (click here)  

Evidence of no go area for Christians in UK!

  • Friday, October 16, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry
                                     
Wilson Chowdhry presents a donor cheque to Nissar Hussain

Please sign the petition: http://goo.gl/ykeT8x

BPCA highlights causes of violence against Christian converts in the UK

As the UK government prepares to record religious hate crimes against Muslims separately due to a massive rise in recorded incidents, some human rights activists are arguing that the government is missing a major phenomenon, possibly due to political correctness. What phenomenon? Religious hate crimes committed by Muslims, especially against those who have converted from Islam, or non-Muslims who are from predominantly Islamic ethnicities. On occasion, this phenomenon has appeared in passing in the national media consciousness and then faded out again. However, these activists say that for many, particularly Christians who are a minority in their own ethnicities, their experience of religious hate in the UK is a pretty continuous one, in some cases approaching the level of persecution in their ‘mother’ countries. It does not solely affect people who have moved to this country either, in some cases, it affects people born and brought up in the UK.

One such case is that of the Hussain family. Living life in Bradford, they have faced around 15 years of persecution because they are a Christian convert family. Persecution in the UK in the 21st century is what their children have known their entire lives including: assaults; stones thrown through car and living room windows; intimidation; false accusations to get the father arrested (the most recent being in March 2015); multiple vehicles destroyed; being forced to move house after an arson attack; and currently ongoing persecution stemming from one particularly influential Muslim family on their street. The family is of Pakistani heritage, and the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) was recently asked to take up their case. A BPCA reearcher, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:

“I had already been aware of the family from previous reports in the media, but when I started talking to them and reading the very articulate blog one of the daughters has set up in the last year that documents their experiences, I was appalled. The media did not tell the half of it. Her life might as well have been lived out in Pakistan, because what that family has endured matches reports from Pakistan – the continuous harassment, violence, the siding of the police – UK police, I stress – with the extremists persecuting them, telling the family that they ‘brought this on themselves’ – it is utterly appalling and it needs to be exposed. If I had been given this report with all locations removed, I would have said these events had to have been in Pakistan or a Muslim country.”
Read full story (click here)

Gang Raped Teenage Pak- Christian Sisters Lose Legal Battle!

  • Thursday, October 15, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry


Farzana, Mehwish Bhatti, Sherish and their younger brother all images taken when provided with new temporary home, before sorrowful court result.
Please sign our petition (click here)

Sadly Sherish and Farzana have lost their fight for justice. As you may recall, the two young teenage sisters lost their innocence after being abducted at gunpoint while using a field as a toilet, and were then subjected to a torturous 12 hour gang rape ordeal by local Muslim boys (click here).

The family have been living in hiding at a house paid for by British Pakistani Christian Association after severe threats were received at the family home which was also subjected to a terrifying gun attack. During the attack, bullets narrowly missed the youngest son and the family were very shaken. The girls ordinarily reside with our lead officer Mehwish in a safe house where they have been undergoing academic learning in English, Maths, Urdu and vocational skills in tailoring (click here). However during a period where their father fell ill, and during the flurry of court activity, the family wished to live together for support.
This most recent devastating blow has knocked some of the stuffing out of them and as a result they have decided to spend a further few weeks together.
The case has allegedly been lost due to the unreliability of a key witness who originally, in the face of threats, refused to attend the court, then when instructed to attend by the court changed his original statement. Mr Ghafoor, who was previously a family friend, has been accused of taking a bribe and altering his statement in lieu of this payment. Read full story (Click here)

EU Ministers hold unofficial visit to uncover truth about persecution of Christians in Pakistan

  • Thursday, November 05, 2015
  • by Shamim Masih
                                                    
Shamim Masih and Peter Van Dalen MEP

“Christians living in Europe care about Pakistani Christians and know about their suffering. We have come here to talk to the Pakistani Government to urge them to take better care of your rights.” said MEP Peter Van Dalen, lead delegate of the European Conservatives and Reformists unofficial trip to Pakistan.

Speaking to the gathering at H-9 Christian colony Peter Van Dalen said “I can see suffering from your face and it is much more than we imagined before we left for Pakistan. But our saviour Christ has set us free from bondage and misery. We want to let you know that we care for you and came here to help you. We are here to plead with the government of Pakistan for the safety and swift release of Asia Bibi and the hundreds of victims accused of blasphemy from all sects.”
He added: “We have suggested a number of reforms to the blasphemy law which will be submitted to the government of Pakistan”

Blasphemy legislation in Pakistan was sanctioned to protect and safeguard victims, instead over time it has only served to bring fear into large parts of Pakistan’s society. During this decade the security situation blasphemy allegations have reached a peak and been the cause of mob violence on individuals and often Christian communities. Pakistan is currently positioned in the top ten source countries of people seeking asylum in the EU.  Read full story (click here)

 

Pakistan no longer wanted on UN Human Rights council

  • Tuesday, November 03, 2015
  • by Wilson Chowdhry
‘Common sense prevailed’ say humanitarians as the 193-member UN General Assembly voted against the re-election of Pakistan onto the United Nations Human Rights Council at a General Assembly in Geneva October 30th 2015.

Pakistan was included in a 47 seat panel for which their term was due to expire on 31st December 2015, and reports suggest they remained confident of re-election and retaining their seat in the Asia-Pacific category.
.
Despite numerous campaigns by human rights bodies in opposition to the re-election of Venezuela, Pakistan and the UAE to the UN Human Rights Council due to widespread criticism of these governments for egregious human rights violation, the failure is said to have shocked the Pakistani delegates.

 

Read full  story (click here)  

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