Interview with Ms Maryam Arshad
by Yousaf Masih.
Today our special guest is a catholic young girl from Lahore, pakistan. She is a graduate from Apwa College, Lahore and President of Youth wing in CLM (Christian Labour
Movement). Maryam Arshad thinks that, “In the Current situation of Pakistan, Our country is facing alot of problems. The most important of these concerns are the
minority issues” .
The persecution in this respect is highlighted by some of the minority rights activists. Among of those activists, who are fighting for the rights of their community, I met this
young lady and her views impressed me to a great extent. She beleives, that muslims and christains can live toghether as one community. And it is important, that the
religious scholars cooperate in this respect. She is fighting for the christain rights through CLM. Global Christian Voice ,interviewed this young activist. Let us know more
about her ideas .
Ms Maryam Arshad, Would you like to tell us about Christian Labour Movement and your activities as a President of Youth Wing?
Christian Labour Movement is a non profitable organisation. It is active and stands for christian minority rights in Pakistan since 2010. All members are working voluntarily.
We beleive that our oganisation is working for a great cause, which is interfaith harmony among Muslims and Christians. My role is to gather christian Youth . We harmonise the students and other youngsters to take part in the struggle for christian rights. We encourage the youngsters to play a role in the prosperity of our country.
Do you think christian problems can be solved? And what solutions do you think , can be helpful?
Although it is difficult ,but not impossible, if different Religious scholars , sit toghether and solve the misunderstanding to create harmony. And they should raise their
voice against hatred and for the message of love among the people. And when justice is present in the country to all humans. Such laws should be implemented in the
country, which secures the minority rights. The founder of Pakistan, Qaid e Azam Muhammad ali Jinnah also said, that the minorities will also get their rights.
What will happen if Christian-Muslim problem does not solve?
It is a very good question. I think if Christians-muslim problem does not solve, then Pakistan can not get economical progress , and poverty rate will not be less but more high. Christians can also play a vital role in the prosperity of country, but if they will continue to be treated as a marginalised community, then we will never come out of the
darkness of ignorance. We learn from history, that those nations who did not have mutual understanding, unity and justice, were destroyed easily.
Does Minoritites have freedom to preach their religion? What is your opinion about it?
No. We are not free to do this. We Christians beleive the real massage of God is to love your neighbour. In my opinion, Either it is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian,
everyone should have freedom to preach their religion. It is important for mankind to respect each other’s faith.
So, christians are safe in Pakistan or not?
Christians does not feel themselves free and safe in Pakistan. A contineous threat of blasphemy law is on the minds of people, that anyone can misuse it to target
christian’s homes, holy churches, bibles etc. Even the police is silent and register the cases against christians without any investigation.
What do you think about those who are misusing the blasphemy law?
In our country, those who misuse the Blasphemy law, never get punished. And there should be addition of such laws , which declares the punishments for the people who
misuse this law. If the culprits would be penalized, then nobody else would have courage to falsely accuse minorities. But unfortunately, there is no law like this.
Is this situation of christians is in whole pakistan or in some specific areas?
Unfortunately, incidents of persecution against Christians, happens in all provinces of Pakistan (Punjab, Sindh, KPK, Balochistan ).Since the formation of
Pakistan,christian community is underpressure by the Extremists and suffering from injustice.
Government knows this situation , If yes, then do they take any action?
Ofcourse, the Government knows all about the situation of minority problems. Infact, the international media, christian community, human rights organisations also knows
about this. But the government of Pakistan does not take any action.
Why Western countries does not help your community?
I don’t know why they don’t help but I know there are International human rights organisations who write reports and demands equal rights for minorties in Pakistan. Our Pope also appealed the Pakistani government to free Asia Bibi and Rimsha Masih But nothing happened. Many people are still in jail and the sufferings are even not less
So, according to you the christian problems are much severe, what to do in this scenerio?
I think the problem lies within the people of our country. It is important for us, as a citizen of Pakistan to love each other and throw all the prejudice and hatred out of our
hearts. Religious scholars and government officials should sit toghether and find the solution of this problem.
What is your opinion about those who fights for their rights?
I really appreciate and respect those people , who stands against injustice to unite the humanity. In this regard, i would not forget Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, who
put alot of efforts and fought for the Christian Minority rights. Their names will remain in golden words in history.
Pakistani Government would bring any changes in the Blasphemy law?
I don’t know,It is difficult for muslim league (N) to bring the changes in the blasphemy law .Because there are other political/religious parties who don’t want amendment in
the blasphemy law. Anyway We have to stand against those who falsely accuse others of blasphemy. So that we can save precious lives of innocent humans.
Which kind of system would you like in pakistan?
I dream for social justice,Where all humans get equal rights and live peacefully without hating each other on religious grounds. And a system which is clean from corruption
Don’t you think that in pakistan Being an activist for Christian rights can be dangerous?
For me, a human can get in danger anytime, anywhere in the world. but we should not be afraid to give our life for the truth. People from amongst us, have to raise voice,
otherwise, christians would never get rid of the persecution.
What do you do in free time?
I have a great interest in music and i think through this medium i can spread the message of love in people. At a very young age i started to sing my self and learn to dance
as well. But I am more active in CLM.
Is there any personality which inspires you?
Yes, there are some great personalities which inspires me alot. Nelson Mandela, Asma Jahangir, Benazir Bhutto are top of that.
Thanks for your interview what is your message for our readers of Global Christian Voice?
My message is that , humans should not fight on religious grounds. But we all should be unite. We should respect the differences of each other and give space for freedom
of writing, speech and forms of art.