Minorities and Men of Faith

Albert Arooj Bhatti

Today is the first day of the New Year. We hope the advent of a new year brings joy and happiness for people in Pakistan and around the world. We also seek guidance from God to remains steadfast and forgive our sins and mistakes that we may have committed. May the Lord bless us.

Year 2020 left bittersweet memories for Pakistan. After the coronavirus pandemic, religious minorities continued to the persecuted by religious extremists. Thousands of Christian girls were kidnapped, sexually assaulted and forced to convert their religion. Such incidents dominated the news this year despite claims by the government that Pakistan is safe for minorities.  

The situation of minorities in Pakistan is not much different than those in India or Palestine. The only difference is that Muslims are being persecuted there. There is complete silence when one kidnaps, rapes, forcibly converts, and marries a Christian girl and the state supports them. The court rejects the birth certificates of minors, declares them as adults, and hands them over to predators.

These brave men of faith believe it is their religious obligation to suppress minorities. The Christian community which contributed to the health and education sector in Pakistan is being confined to mere street cleaners and sanitary workers. Such is the extent that being a Christian has become a derogatory term. This is also endorsed by the state as jobs for street cleaners clearly mention that only non-Muslims should apply.

After the coronavirus pandemic, religious minorities continued to the persecuted by religious extremists rhis year

Christianity is the world’s largest religion and preaches a message of peace and brotherhood. Still every year on the festive occasion of Christmas, a controversy arises whether to wish Merry Christmas. These men of faith believe they can salvage themselves if any doubts arise in greeting them. This is the height of hypocrisy. These men of faith think what is acceptable for them is forbidden for others and they can get away with it. They make no qualms in raising allegations against other religions by their self-proclaimed decrees and make it a part of faith. Whether it’s Christmas or Holi, Easter or Diwali, Dussehra or Besaki, these men make all sorts of justifications and hurt the sentiments of minorities. They think that living in a free country gives them the liberty to target religious minorities.

Just ask a Hindu, Christian, or member of a minority religion and they will narrate untold injustices and atrocities against them. Thousands are forced to migrate from the country while others are finding their way to escape. This Christmas, we saw the resurgence of these men of faith as there was vandalism in Christian localities as they have the freedom and consider it a part of their faith.

Their faith is weakened by wishing Christians a Merry Christmas, building churches, temples and gurdwaras, and giving minorities equal rights and liberties. Not with spreading hatred and instigating others from the pulpit or with adulteration, profiteering, hoarding, receiving bribes and other malpractices nor with hiking the prices of masks and medicines during a pandemic.

They go to Western countries, seek their visas, like eating their food and wear their dresses and their faith remains strong. Countries in the West give equal rights for sake of humanity which are imaginable in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We hope the new year ushers peace and tranquility where all social evils are wiped out from our society.