God has forbidden “drinking” in Holy Word and we demand complete ban on issuance of liquor permits to Christians in Pakistan. Bishop T. Nasir

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Lahore. (CNI) The Christian leadership blasted the government policy of giving “liquor permits” to Christians of Pakistan for their so-called religious festivals and common use.

A ban on “Liquor was imposed by late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on 17th April 1977 to please the protesting opposition religious and political parties of “Pakistan National Alliance” (PNA) after the “rigged elections” of March 1977. Mr. Bhutto closed the doors of “drinking” but kept the windows open by allowing minorities to buy and use liquor for their so-called “religious festivities”. Ever since “liquor permits” are being issued to the poor Christian minority on recommendations or attestation of Roman Catholic Clergy. No permit has ever been recommended by Protestant Clergy in Pakistan. The majority of Christian minority lives below poverty line and cannot afford to buy liquor for their personal use. They sell this liquor to desirous Muslim majority. In many cases the Muslim elites have facilitated their Christian servants to obtain liquor permits. Some Christians earn their living by selling the liquor to Muslim and Christian elites on higher price. Ever since government of Pakistan started issuing “liquor permits” to Pakistani Christians, there has been a great resentment in Christian community. A number of books and articles have been written in Urdu proving and declaring that drinking is prohibited in Christianity. Yet the government of Pakistan never cared to know the Biblical view of the Christian clergy and common Christians. The reason is the “revenue” from the sale of liquor and the opposition of Roman Catholics. Due to this so-called concession the government and the Roman Catholics have benefited to a larger extent. The government collects the revenue and the Roman Catholics collect the “membership”. Any Christian applying for the liquor permit needs attestation and recommendations from a Roman Catholic priest. No Roman Catholic priest will recommend a “liquor permit” application to a Protestant. Therefore the desirous people become members of the Roman Catholic Church (if it can be called a church). The issue was highlighted when the Punjab Provincial Minister for Excise and Taxation gave the details of “liquor permits” issued to Christians for their religious festivals; the Christian members of the Punjab Provincial Assembly objected to the issuance of such permits and openly condemned liquor permits. One of the members told the house “drinking is prohibited in Christianity”. On that the Provincial Minister said, “After becoming the minister, I met Bishop Alexander John Malik, the bishop of Lahore diocese, who told him that drinking is allowed in Christianity but the liquor that is allowed in Christianity is not available in Pakistan”. On this the Christian members of Punjab Provincial Assembly staged a token “Walkout”. Latter bishop Malik in a statement said, “Drinking is a personal act of any person and Christianity has nothing to do with it”. This further angered the Christian community and the “Lahore Christian Association” arranged a Seminar at the Lahore Press Club on 9th of July 2004 to highlight the Biblical and Theological on the issue. The Two Hundred invitees were all theological trained clergymen. Two bishops of the Church of Pakistan Bishop Samuel Pervaiz and Alexander John Malik were also among the invitees. However it was told that the representatives of “Lahore Christian Association” went to see Mr. A. J. Malik as many as ten times but he refused to meet them. Moreover it was reported that he warned the pastors of his diocese against attending the seminar. Bishop Samuel Pervaiz of Sialkot Diocese was alsoi absent. However Rev. Dr. Arthur James, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, who is also Principal of Gujranwala Theological Seminary and Rt. Rev. Dr. Major (Retired) Timotheus Nasir from Gujranwala, attended the seminar. Dr. Arthur James in his address highlighted the social, moral, economical, medical and religious evils of the use of liquor and declared that “drinking” is against Biblical teachings and is not permitted in Christianity. In his address Bishop Timotheus Nsair said, “The Holy Bible is the Word of God and God has not kept any doubt in His Word. The Bible contains all aspects of human life and the way to have eternal life. There is no room for debates on the issues that have been resolved by the Holy Bible once for all. God has forbidden “drinking” in His Holy Word and any one who challenges the Holy Bible Challenges Lord God. Therefore any one who challenges the “ban” imposed on liquor by the Holy Bible stands convicted in the eyes of God. He further said that God has indicated only two ways. Obedience of the Word of God or disobedience of the Word of God, there is no third choice. Nothing in a Christian’s life is personal. Either he follows what ever the Holy Bible tells him or he disobeys the Holy Bible. He further added that “we must live under the guidance of the Holy Bible; we must not twist the Word of God according to our own needs and desires”. He concluded that any one, who drinks, stands excommunicated from the church and from the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rev. Jameel Nasir from Lahore said with references from Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism books held holy by these religions, that drinking liquor is not permitted in any religion. He said, “It is sad that the government of Pakistan allows, “liquor permits” to minorities for their religious festivities to collect huge revenue and ignore the very clear instructions of the teaching of Islam. In the light of Biblical teachings each pastor representing various churches has demanded a total ban on liquor. However Mr. Kanwal Feroz editor of ‘the Monthly Shadaab Lahore” a renowned poet, former communist scholar and philosopher, in private conversation with Bishop Nasir is of the opinion that “drinking” is a personal act. Bishop Nasir suggested Mr. Kanwal Feroz to read the Holy Bible and don’t follow Roman Catholics and the famous bishop.

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"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti

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