Open Letter by Catholic Bishops Conference and NCC in Pakistan to George Bush on Iraq War. PCP Report.


Lahore. January 26. The Nation Christian Forum was formed in haste at Lahore last week to condemned the expected US attack on Iraq. It seemed that Bishops Conference of Pakistan had differences on the issuance of this letter to US president and only

The major spokes persons of churches like Bishop Samuel Azariah and Bishop Alexander Malik never seemed to present in this document issued on national and international levels. Its amazing that such open letter were never written to any head of state on Christians killing in Pakistan in churches in the year 2001- 2002 when churches were under direct attacks of Muslim militant groups in Pakistan and it laid foremost duty on these religious leaders to issue white paper on those sad incidents like Shia Muslims religious leaders in Pakistan very openly have been raising voices on attacks of their mosques from years. The important issues stated in letter are about Billions of dollars of expenditure on Cosmetics, cats and dogs food in USA to compare the economic situation of the health and education in the third world. The fears of backlash on Christian minorities in Pakistan have been raised the Muslim groups who consider the possible attack on Iraq as aggression. The issues of terrorist attacks in USA have been termed as conspiracy to create global apartheid among Muslim and Christian religion. The ways of dialogues have been extended through this open letter to US President instead of War. It was very appropriate to write an open letter to President Saddam and heads of other states also to appeal them to initiate the dialogue to redress the apprehensions of West on terrorism by Iraq but Pakistan church Leaders have paid not such attention. The situation without dialogue always leads to conflicts and same is prevailing between Iraq And USA now a days and its perfect time to go on dialogues to avoid any possible war in Gulf but no such signs appear as neighboring Muslim states to Iraq are silent and still remember the Iraq aggression on Kuwait. Iraq have been never any Muslim ally to Pakistan from decades and its on record that Iraq planned to provide arms to over throw the Zulifqar Ali elected government. We are putting this open letter for our readers to access the issues raised in hurry in this letter, which never seems an appeal of peace by Christian church leaders of Pakistan. NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ACTION FORUM Lahore OPEN LETTER TO MR. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITES STATES OF AMERICA The whole world looked upon the start if the third millennium with hope, All were expecting that violence and wars of the previous century would not recur. As it is said in the Holy Bible: "They shall not beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks". "Nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4) But unfortunately, in the very first year of the new century, the two world Trade Towers in New York were destroyed and the pentagon in Washington D.C. was attacked. What the perpetrators of these terrorist attacks wanted to provoke a clash of civilizations, or a conflict between these religions. As expected, the U.S.A. and its Allies began the war on terrorism on a global scale, because terrorists are spread out throughout the world and are active everywhere. The first phase of the war on terrorism was to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan. The latest is to remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq. We, the leaders of all Churches in Pakistan, are concerned that should the war begin it will provoke a global backlash of people who consider the people of Iraq as victims of aggression. Already the reasons for attacking Iraq are being challenged by people even in the United States and Britain. The Pope, Bishops of the US and British bishops have openly opposed this war, for various reasons. One reason for bitterness is the 500,000 children who died in the past few years due top sanctions against Iraq, which prevent adequate supplies of food and medicines. Loud and clear voices all over the world are appealing for a peaceful settlement of the problem and calling for, what the Iranian President Khatami calls, the "Dialogue of Cultures". One aspect of this dialogue would be to examine the causes of frustration that have to lead to terrorism. There are economic causes. For instance, 8 billion US dollars are spent every year on cosmetics, whereas 6 billion dollars a year would be enough to provide health cover education of primary school age all over the world. Again 15 billion dollars are spent on food for cats and, dogs, birds and fish whereas 60,000 children die everyday due to lack of nourishment. We know that 20% of the world's population consumes 80% of the world's energy resources. Such economic disparities are causes of frustration. This becomes all the more tragic when we realize that about 40 to 200 billion US dollars will be spent on the Iraq war. Could not this money be better used for education, health, housing and food for millions of people deprived of such basic necessities? We all realize that no matter what semantic niceties (such as "Surgical Strikes", "sterilized war", "precision bombing" and collateral damage") are used, the Iraq war may cause hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. It is very likely that nuclear or biological weapons will probably be used by whichever side begins to lose. And even more horrifying is the likelihood, that the war may not be limited to Iraqi soil. It can spill over, not just to the neighboring Gulf States, but can lead to devastating reprisals by terrorists who are located all over the world, even in the United States. As Christian leaders of Pakistan, we strongly urge the US president Bush and all those who are poised for war, to use every alternative means to settle the problem. Violence breeds violence. A nuclear holocaust must be avoided, lest the medicine proves to be worse then the disease. Finally, we urge all Christians to begin a period of fervent prayer and fasting, together with the people of all faiths, so that the danger of war may recede, and that the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6) may give us that "Peace which the world cannot give" THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH IN PAKISTAN Signed By: Mr. Victor Azariah Archbishop Lawrence J. Saldanha General Secretary, President, Pakistan Catholic Bishops Conference Nation Council of Churches in Pakistan Roman Catholic Church in Pakistan (Representing All Protestant Churches) (Representing the Catholic Church)

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