Remembering Inmates on this Easter
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: A day before resurrection day on April 04, 2015, I wished my friends through a text message mentioning them that the resurrection day is a time when you can reflect on the true values of Christianity; responsibility, charity, compassion, humility, forgiveness and love. We should particularly remember those followers of Christ Jesus in our surroundings that are unable to celebrate this event due to any of their problems.
A country like Pakistan; where Christians and other religious minorities are being targeted frequently. There are many Christians suffering for their faith today in a normal life that it is hard to comprehend. I have been reporting from the country where extremist Sunnis, inspired by puritan Wahhabi teachings, and have been targeting educated and well off Christians. Extremist have killed enough innocent children, attacked schools, burnt Christians colonies, torn down Hindu temples, mutilated journalists, shunned social values and flogged bloggers for free thinking to deserve this acrimony all around the world. Religious extremists have established that no other form of religion is welcome in Pakistan. Christians and Hindus are out of the question; these extremists are far from accepting even another sect of their own religion here.
In this situation, just think about the Christian prisoners in Pakistan. How could their life can be, can you believe that? In Central Jail Adayla Rawalpindi, there are about 100 inmates, around 80 detainees and 20 prisoners. Visiting a loved one in prison can be a difficult experience. Aiming to maintain and enhance positive contact between people in prison, their families and their children, we went to Adayla Jail Rawalpindi on this Easter. Safder Chaudhry, SG, Rah-e-Nijat Ministries arranged 15 Kg Rice, 15 cakes, Milk, meat, spices, fruits, and other eatable items. We went to deliver them and to share the word of God with our brothers in Jail. We had permission for IG Prison even than Superintendent Police didn’t allow us to enter into prison to see our Christian inmates on Easter. However after DIG prison intervention we went in and share the word of God with few Christian prisoners and delivered the eatable items to them. Vicky Yousaf, Christian teacher in the church and his other partners were very happy to see us. He said we feel very proud when our brothers in Christ remember us while celebrating Christmas and Easter.
Imprisonment disrupts families and while research suggests people who offend are very often the children of people who have offended, there is very little support for children who have a parent in prison. If people in prison can keep up their family links while in prison, they are less likely to re-offend. I met with Sajid Masih, he spent half of portion of his life in jail, and he has to pay just few hundred thousand rupees to save his rest of life and his family as well.