Asia Bibi and other blasphemy victims to spend another Christmas alone in Pakistan
Below is the latest update from Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association:
The past month has been one of the busiest seasons in BPCA’s 9 year history. Our team has been working night and day trying to press PM Imran Khan to give Asia Bibi, her family and associates, an exit visa so they can start a new life in a safe country and live in freedom.
AUSTRALIA ASIA BIBI DEVELOPMENTS:
Wilson Chowdhry travelled to Australia to participate in several activities and events to bring awareness to Asia’s case and speak to politicians who may be able to help. We appreciate the hard work that our Australian communications team has been doing and believe their diligence will aid in the success of our trip.
On November 24th at 12pm we held a vigil at Parliament House, Sydney, which led to a peace walk to the Pakistani High Commission where we presented a petition to have a travel restriction removed from Asia Bibi. At the rally, our Chair Wilson Chowdhry was able to announce the good news that Australia would welcome Asia Bibi and her family if they would like to come after receiving a positive text message from an Australian Senator.
The rally had a great response from Australians and Wilson Chowdhry met with key government figures and politicians and church leaders while in country. To see us march too see us march to and rally in front of the Pakistani Consulate.
BPCA’s efforts in Australia were overall a great success with many highpoints including offers to help us alter the existing risk assessment for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers to enable a better success rate and an MP’s determination to introduce a sporting boycott with Pakistan, much like the one that shed light on apartheid in South Africa.
ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS:
A question posed by Lord Alton at the House of Lords pressed for answers to the failure of an offer for asylum to Asia Bibi and her family, will our Government answer them? Do they understand the questions?
Sensitivity and security are the reasons given for the political whispering around Asia Bibi’s asylum by our Government officials. Why the hushed tones? Why is it that countries braver than Britain have openly declared their support for her, unlike Britain?
UK ASIA BIBI DEVELOPMENTS:
Everyone knows of the recent changes happening in the UK government, but one departure from former PM Theresa May’s cabinet was related to “the UK’s lack of leadership in doing the right thing” in Asia Bibi’s case. The PM’s Special Trade Envoy to Pakistan PM Chishti tendered his resignation citing not only a difference of opinion on BREXIT, but disappointment with the government’s advocacy for Asia Bibi’s human rights.
Wilson Chowdhry met with Lord Alton who confirmed his commitment to challenge for asylum for Asia Bibi in Britain, He met with the 1st Secretary of the Pakistan High Commission in the UK who confirmed many details pertaining to Asia Bibi’s detainment in Pakistan and was also invited to speak with Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who said that UK officials were using diplomatic channels to find a “safe” country, but still would not confirm whether they would offer asylum.
It was heartening more to meet with Lord Singh and have him register his firm support for Asia Bibi’s asylum in the UK, in addition three progressive imams penned their support for Asia in a welcome gesture of goodwill – we were informed about this prior to the press release by Lord Nazir Ahmed a Muslim peer who quit the Labour party after allegations of anti-Semitism – who felt it important to share details of this progress with the BPCA.
In the world there is tendency to look for problems elsewhere and in other people, but there is enough trouble for each person (or nation) to deal with themselves. The writers of Scripture invite humanity to look inward for the source of their problem. The key is to ask God to inquire, and ask Him to look and probe the depths of their hearts.
Psalm 139:23, 24 reads:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
If only more people of the world would use this spiritual benchmark to gauge their actions.
PAKISTAN PERSECUTON UPDATE:
On the one year anniversary the church attack in Quetta Christians gather for worship to remember those lost and celebrate Christmas.
Two young girls who narrowly escaped the clutches of a rapist demonstrates that action precipitated when Zanaib Ansari was murdered last year was short-lived.
A Christian family who was attacked by land grabbers and their house torched because they were considered ritually unclean by their neighbours, are seeking justice and will need to stay in a BPCA safe house for three more months
BPCA Lead Officer in Pakistan Mehwish Bhatti has been busy addressing various frontline concerns, including visits to prison to console blasphemy victims, child survivors of extra-judicial murders and families of blasphemy convictons . Please remember to pray for her and the frontline team. Mehwish met Nadeem Masih in Gujrat Prison and the family of Patras Masih and obtained an update
Mehwish visited the children of Shama and Shezad to spend time with the youngsters who are feeling the loss of their parents 4 years after their brutal murder.
As Advent begins another church attack has transpired, this time in Karachi
Imran Khan made some interesting statements about “Jesus” that seems to indicates an inferior view towards Christians.
THAILAND ASYLUM SEEKERS:
There is still an ongoing crackdown against Pak-Christian asylum-seekers in Bangkok. BPCA has been helping several families survive as the try to eke out an existence under the highly charged conditions. We have been giving each family 1000 baht each month but to pay their rent we need to pay 3000 baht. This equates to around £73 each. We need to raise a regular extra £150 per month to do so
In addition, we had the joy of seeing our teacher Samaira Adnan released from IDC with her two young sons. This was a stressful time for the who family as her husband was arrested this summer and they had no family outside the detention centre to help them.
Fortunately after BPCA several communications with the UNHCR officers convinced the Thai authorities not to deport vulnerable Christians to Pakistan, during the recent riots calling for the hanging of Asia Bibi. Thank you for your prayers.
Keri-Lynn Gibbs, BPCA representative attended two events in Toronto where both God and government were petitioned for both Pak-asylum seekers and Asia Bibi.
BPCA is supporting the campaign of Sammy Woodhouse to prevent councils from forcing children conceived in rape to visit their mother’s rapist.
Pak-Christians sometimes experience marginalisation in the west that reflects their experience from back home
Poppy hero Tajamal still waits for justice while his assailants are still at large, and has been unable to move house. He has asked if donors might be willing to help raise the £5000 required to rehouse him near his family members in East London as they are terrified in Derby.
The reason for our hope and light is that Jesus brightens every place of despair.
“…The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has sprung up.” Matthew 4:16
The BPCA Communications Team also wants to express our desire that everyone have a Happy Advent as the Christmas Season begins.
British Pakistani Christian Association, continues to provide advocacy and humanitarian aid to Christians in Pakistan and people of Britain. We cannot do it without your help.
Wilson Chowdhry: British Pakistani Christian Association