Human Right Unit: January 19, 2011: EU Parliament, Brussels
First on behalf of Pakistani Christians living both in and outside Pakistan , Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) and my self I would like render my thanks with all my pleasure to the EU Parliament and this honourable delegation from the Human Rights unit in EU Parliament for South Asia for granting our request to set this meeting to explain more about Situation of Christiana in Pakistan as well as Pakistani Christians in asylum procedure in the EU countries. Our special thanks for compliments and encouragements with regard to an appeal filed for pulling out Asia Bibi from Pakistan due to highest level of risks to her breaths both in Police as well as in judicial custody with jail authorities.
Briefly introducing my self, I am Parvez Iqbal, Pakistani origin, living in the Netherlands for seven years now. Since January 2010 I am serving Pakistan Christian Congress as President Holland Chapter, while joined PCC in 2001 as member/journalist for Pakistan Christian Post. I feel blessed for serving Pakistani Christian Community in the ways I can and Thank God for He equipping me according to the requirements to accomplish His Plans for our community.
A very Short introduction of Pakistan Christian Congress, first convention was held in January 10, 1985 at Lahore. PCC is a voice of 20 Million Christians of Pakistan from every corner of Pakistan comprising members from all walk of life i.e. youth, students, labour leaders, ladies forums, lawyers, business etc. In this first convention in first week of January resolution was adopted to formulate Pakistan Christian Congress as Christians Political Party to launch struggle to safeguard the social, religious and political rights of the Christians of Pakistan. in 1986 at Karachi the six points manifesto (1) Equal Basic Democratic Rights (2) Representation Proportional to Population (3) Dual Voting (4) Opportunities for Youth (5) Religious Freedom and (6) Share in Power was approved by the PCC's Legal and Constitutional Committees. PCC is now raising voice of Pakistani Christian from all Continents of this planet earth. Dozens of PCC members suffered in this struggles, many lost their lives and many escaped to save their lives leaving everything behind including love ones and luxury life.
Coming to the point "Situation of Christians in Pakistan" Your excellencies, this point is not a hidden one now and very open universally, but availing this opportunity I would like to high light some those are still treated as minors but their outcomes are very dangerous and effecting life of present generation and for sure if steps are not taken at this time, future will turn to most worst for Pakistani Christian in Pakistan.
a) Christian Women if brought to gynecology department for delivery in the Government Hospitals, first they are not given due and in time attention only for their religion. Some times they loss their life for not in time attention. New born Christian Child face first negligence attitude with their first cry in life. Only because they are Christians. Here starts the life of Christian with discrimination and insulting behavior. Being low income our Christians cannot go the highly paid private hospital for latest treatments.
b) In Government schools Christian children again face first problems to get admission with Christian name and if admission is granted again he/she is neglected despite his/her God gifted abilities and thrown to the last rows in class room. During school days Christian students even not allowed drink water from the common tap and not allowed to touch food items of utensils in school. How the feelings of a child are while facing all these discriminations during daily life. Still Christian Children keep struggling and bring highest marks, but their result/Report Cards only marked with third position or lowest grades. Christian Students are not allowed to have admission in colleges despite completing all requirements and criteria only in religion column of the admission form mentioned "Christian". Behaviour of classmates, Teachers and administrations the same as were in the past. Results are not different as was in the school. Still Christian students keep moving with all new hopes.
c) in Job sector situation comes more worse when a Christian candidate despite passing all interviews and tests faces refusal and stay jobless only they are Christian and are having Pakistani Nationality. If some one shouts for his/her rights, he/she has either to face criminal charges or mishandling publicly.
d) In business there are only few Pakistani Christians, but they are also in daily troubles being second majority of Pakistani Nation. Moreover they face discriminations in client age, Tax and other Government departments.
e) Situation of Christian Women workers is also very pain full, no matter they are housemaids, Nurses, office workers or anywhere, only few were succeeded to get attention of International media but there are lot more who remained un reported being families were threatened to keep quite to save further losses of their honour, properties and lives.
f) Even in national disasters, Christian victims are neglected to provide assistance for shelter and food. A recent flood in Pakistan is a latest example where Christians were crying and shouting for help but there were no one to hear and help them. If some international aid worker tries to help in Christian areas they faced troubles and aid goods were robbed/looted. Even two of International Aid workers were killed only approaching Christian populated areas.
g) In routine daily life at every stage Christians in Pakistan are facing hardships, and now Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan is like living sword on Christians. Open and free misuse of blasphemy laws took many lives of innocent’s youth of Christians in Pakistan leaving behind their loves with everlasting tears. Dozens were taken into custody by the police and law enforcement agencies under blasphemy laws and are missing now, where they kept or move to which jail, no body knows and on inquiry there is no one to reply where they are kept and weather living or dead. Hundreds are escaped only to save their life leaving behind everything.
h) Indeed this is terrible but it’s a fact that misuse of Blasphemy is increasing its circle day by day and situation is getting worse with every second. In past only male were accused of Blasphemy Laws but now Christian Women are also targeted being the weaker part of the society. Government of Pakistan, Law enforcement agencies and Judiciary of Pakistan looks like handicapped to handle lawfully and deal with true and fair justice. Because of Muslim religious associations and Muslim religious leaders and indeed they are Muslim too. They first prefer to keep themselves safe and than their religion. In this situation which door is to be knocked to ask justice and protection??
In present situation of Pakistan I agree this is very difficult to stand for open help to Christians, like release or pulling out of Asia Bibi from Pakistan and grant her asylum with her family some where in US or EU or any other place but my contention is those Christian succeeded to escape and have asked asylum may be dealt on humanitarian ground considering their situation and evidence. I feel this is injustice when a Pakistani Christian approach to an Immigration and apply for asylum in some of EU country and they are stamped on their forehead as liars and with one sentence "WE DONT TRUST YOU" their life is destroyed again put to a pit of death from where they escaped. Asylum Seekers are always asked to bring documentary evidence in support of their contention and according to my knowledge 98% of Pakistani Christian Asylum Seekers provide all necessary documents with regards to their asylum, but most of them after waiting of years and years get the same reply "We don’t trust your story"
I have two objections here with this reason of refusal to asylum request of Pakistani Christian (i) the Immigrations authorities why consider this as a story, These are the reasons for which they left everything including their families, love ones, luxury life and choose to have a title for refugee just to save their life and why Immigration officers think this is a story. This is not fair and totally injustice. And second on demand if all required documents are submitted and after waiting for many years the reply comes "we don’t trust you" How Immigration don’t trust if requirement is fulfilled. For asylum request if proves are required and provided what is a proof of distrust?? Only four words "we don’t trust you" is not enough to convince an asylum seeker for refusal of asylum request after waiting of years and years.
How they spent these waiting years, what they lost, how many diseases they got and suffered during this waiting time no body even consider. In some cases they are kept in lockup for year with no explanations. Case of Samuel James Masy Asher is attached as ready reference, He was taken into custody while he appeared for weekly attendance during his asylum procedure and waiting for more than three years. There more can be referred. According to the best of my knowledge this is injustice and against the humanitarian.
In some cases the Immigration authorities go very fast and decide asylum requests. Indeed this is a pleasant, incorrigible and appreciation of hard work. I put my hat down and salute for this very responsible behaviour, but some times in hurry, important fact are remained unseen and left to be considered like a nonstop ICE train passes the central stations. For example in a very recent case of Lawrence Family, (one of the five richest families in their home town in Pakistan) they faced four negatives in duration of just three months only. Their original situation and reason of escape from their home land even not touched for consideration. Only traveling was objected and they got four negatives in the age of 73 and thrown to road with out considering their ailment, medication and other needs of life. Copy of their final judgment is attached as living reference. This is not terrible??
In some cases minor children accompanied with their parents went to asylum procedures and now grown up they are still in procedures and are waiting results. During all these years these children were not allowed to go to schools and make their future and carrier only being on waiting. Their life is spoiling with every inclusion of a day in their life.
This is against the humanitarian and in justice with these children who are innocent and even don’t know the reasons of their escape and they are suffering. Some of them touched the age to get married and they choose their soul mate but they cannot start their own life as they are paying for innocence. Who will give them their rights of freedom and chance to build up their life and carrier including start their own life. If a dispute is between their parents and the Immigration authorities, why these innocent children suffering??? this point really need our attention to save our future and make it colourful.
In these circumstances my very humble request is points raised here may be considered on purely humanitarian grounds, Pakistani Christians asylum seekers in EU countries being effecties of manmade Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan may be dealt with on humanitarian grounds too with considering all aspects and evidence without spoiling their life. All doors of carrier building and successful happy life are remained open to Innocent Pakistani Christian children. As they came to safe life not in more troubles.
Thanking in Advance with all best regards,
Pakistan Christian Congress,