Put Your House in order first!
Shamim Masih
ISLAMABAD: It was a sunny morning, my cell phone was ringing, and William Javed on the other side said that Punjab Government arrested Aslam Parvez Sohtra from Islamabad in the wake of Youhanabad demonstration after the twin blasts. It was shocking news for me, as Aslam Parvez Sohtra with his team was at my house a day before his arrest. He was planning to raise voice for the victims of Youhanabad but he himself became victim; since then nobody ever raised voice for his release. Earlier local media reported and declared Sohail Johnson as main source behind this outraged. Certainly he has to run out to save his skin. This is the result if you work as human right activist and raise voice for your people. I know these people have been devotedly working for the community. It is really shameful that some people from the same community have betrayed with them. This disloyalty is not with these people but with the community.

On March 15, 2015, at least 19 people were killed and more than 80 injured when two suicide bombers attacked two churches in Youhanabad, Lahore, sparking mob violence in which two other suspected militants died. After the incident Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif has not visited the people of his own constituency to showed solidarity, instead CM has visited one killer’s family and ensured them that people form Youhanabad had been arrested.

In the entire episode that has taken place, we have seen the double standards in how things are dealt with when Muslims are the victims are becoming obvious. After the death of two men, the media and everyone else conveniently forgot the dozens of victims from the Christian community, and the threat that looms over their heads because of the actions of a few individuals. Though Christians have repeatedly condemned the unfortunate incident from various platforms but the electronic media has shied away from airing other side of the story. No one talked about the people died saving lives. No one was talking about the victims or the survivors. There should be a balanced approach to the situation from our media friends.

After the incident the mob was like an unguided missile… when they reacted no one was there to handle them neither police nor Christian leadership. The situation could have been controlled if the mob had been dispersed by bringing the leadership in, but leaderships were not seen on the ground. Any community has two leaderships, one is the political and the other is the top clergy. It is very unfortunate that our both leaders have had no statement of purpose or plan of action to deal with such situations. Unfortunately politicians have lost their trustworthiness and clergy is busy in selling church properties etc. missionary work has turned to business instead service. Clergy is not serving the nation but busy in making money. Educational institutions established under church based organization meant to serve the nation are not taking Christian students in. Big churches have ample development funds if it spends some percentage for the betterment of the community there is no doubt that Christian community will track on prosperity. There are many small churches but bigger refuse to coordinate with them. NGO sector run by Christian management is working for their vested interests. Thus the poor Christian community is seen in this meager condition.

There is routine discrimination/persecution seen around but there are number of major incidents happened like Shantinager, Sangla Hill, Gojra, Joseph colony, youhanabad etc. Even after these many incidents, I don’t see the Christian leadership neither clergy nor political showing seriousness that is expected of them. What ever happened cannot be undone but the people that are left need to be protected. Unless we are united we can’t build pressure for our rights, we won’t count for anything, and we can’t mould the government or do any opinion building. I am sure if we put our house in order, we all will lead happier life.

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