UNITED and HUMBLE
By – Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: Everything rise and fall on leadership, said Pastor Henry Madava. Nelson Mendala, who led South Africa from apartheid to democracy, was a humble, persuasive and inspirational figure who advocated peace, democracy and human right. He said, “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice for the freedom of their people.” After years of being accused of surrounding himself with Old Etonians, David Cameron moved toshed his image for being out of touch with a “Blue Collar” reshuffle. The Prime Minister promoted a slate of school-educated ministers to key role as he unveiled his first Conservative-only government. Son of a Pakistani bus driver and daughter of a Ugandan shopkeeper who fled Idi Amin are two big winners in “Blue Collar” reshuffles’. There was also promotion for comprehensive schoolboy Greg Clark, who becomes Communities Secretary, while campaigning backbencher Robert Halfon becomes Conservative party deputy chairman. Cameron moves to promote ministers from non-privileged backgrounds.
Since my childhood, I dreamed of the day to have a contented and prosperous life, but today, my dream didn’t turn the way I imagined it, but there is nothing I can do about it. This is how Pakistani Christians community lives look today, and we have to adopt. Christians represent just a sliver of the population of the Pakistan. Major portion of the Christians’ population settled in the outskirts of the cities with dirt roads and cement-block homes. Most face daily discrimination and eke out a living by holding low-paying jobs, like street sweeping. However, they’ve carved out their own lives in the country that faces near-daily attacks by the extremists. Under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, anyone can be convicted of insulting Islam or the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims often take the law into their hands, killing those suspected of blasphemy and attacking neighborhoods. Yet despite these worries, life goes on for Christians here. But I wish to attract your attention to very serious problem and I hope you will take some positive steps. The problem is non-visionary Christian leadership in Pakistan.
Pakistani Christian Politicians: When I was school boy, I saw Julius Salik, who had enjoyed the protocol sitting in the flag staff car but has done nothing for the betterment of Christians. He was the only candidate, who received the highest number of votes during the general election in end eighties and had enoyed during Prime Minister Banazir Bhutto’ regime. Then we have seen many names sitting in federal and provisional assembly. During the care take government Col. (R) Tressler had enjoyed many times during care taker tenure but instead doing anything good for majority Christians he had tried his best to damage the Christian cause. Many unnecessary and unlawful favors were given to his family members during his tenure. During the most recent tenure, Shahbaz Bhatti was selected by the PPP government as Federal Minister for minorities. He was assassinated by the extremist group for being outspoken against blasphemy law. But practically neither he has taken any solid step nor done anything for community. I am not commenting on his life style he led but there is question mark as well. Nothing solid work for community left behind his death. Rather after his death his successor wasted the offer to establish educational institution for Christians in the country. Since president Musharaf introduced the selection system on minority reserved seats in the parliament house, Christian selected members have become a rubber stamp that create fake arguments for the betterment of the community, while in the secrecy of the corridors of power they toe the line of the ruling elite. Now we have Christian political leadership sitting in or outside the government with no vision, no commitment, and no inspirational figure is seen in this arena. The irony is that the Christian leadership has become a lame duck and is doing nothing to serve its serve it community.
Christian Missionaries in Pakistan: Recently I read news that a Sikh removes turban to help injured child, showed truemeaning of the religion. The turban is an integral part of Sikhism and is worn by many Sikhs as a symbol of love and dedication to the faith, the Sikh Coalition notes. Sikhs ties their turbans each day a commitment to the religion. Those who choose to wear turbans do not remove them in public. On the other hand, Pakistani Christians are facing many problems and suffering but our clergy never bothered to think the solutions of it, instead they are involved immoral activities. I am eye witness that during the twin churches attack inYouhanabad, father Francis Gulzar was laughing while entering in the graveyard during the funeral ceremony of the martyrs’. Poverty is a big problem in our country, many of them have no money or not enough money to get food, clothes and get education for their children. There are many educational institutions that are run or managed by Christian missionaries. But unfortunately our religious leadership is least interested to educate the Christian children. Instead they are engage in selling church properties and earning money in the name of God. Many church leaders and their families are not religious or not leading life according to the teaching of Christ but they teach Christianity. Former Bishop of Lahore, Alexander John Malik and Bishop of Karachi, Sadiq Denial has been involved in illegal activities and thus defaming Christian norms. Christian institutions run by Roman Catholic and Church of Pakistan are not taking Christian students for they can’t pay high fees. Christian politicians sitting in the government and clergy in Lahore has reportedly played reprehensible role in Yohanabad incident. These are the same ones who have done nothing when Joseph Colony and Gojra incident accrued.
Removing barriers to success like discrimination and divisions is a necessity for success. There are many young ones dreaming of the day to have a contented and prosperous life like me. People in leadership role can help them seek out and capitalize on more opportunities, find solutions to challenges before problems and create a happier, healthier, more productive life. There is urgent need to establish equality, social justice and peace. In reference to the ongoing persecution and discrimination suffering the Christian, it is duty of the leadership to take stand to save the rights of the community to prove themselves the real leaders, “Humble and United”.