A disappointed Pakistani Christian

Published: March 30, 2012

You call me a kafir and you think eating with me is haraam. So, my dear Pakistan, tell me, where shall I go?

Dear Pakistani Muslims,

Pakistan has been hell for my family and I.

Yes, we get Christmas and have a few churches here and there and attend the same schools as the rest of you, but life as Christian minorities has been torture for us.

I had to carpool  in a public van to a convent school that had the richest and most influential of Pakistani Muslims in attendance. I shared class rooms with the most spoilt and unforgiving spawn of business tycoons, politicians, smugglers and architects who called me a “karanti”.

A karanti is a derogatory, slang term for dark Christians, because of course being born as a “darkie” in Pakistan automatically makes you ugly and unimportant with horrible marriage prospects – if any at all. They also degraded my father because he could not afford to drive me to school in a tinted, bullet proof Land Cruiser.

My father’s ‘shameful’ salary as an accounts teacher was not substantial enough for us to mingle with the creme de la creme of Defense; a dingy apartment in Nazimabad and a sputtering motor bike was all we could afford.

Many of the Muslim kids refused to share food with me, nor would they take a bite or sip from anything I may have consumed. I have had girls tell me point blank that their parents have instructed them never to sit and eat with people of other faiths because it’s haraam (forbidden). I will tell you what’s haraam; teaching your children to hate instead of love…that’s what’s haraam.

I will never forget an incident in school during a physical education class when, as I was passing the volley ball to a Muslim girl, her eyes suddenly shot daggers at me and she screeched:

Why do you wear that cross with an idol on it?

“This is my prophet…Jesus”, I said in a hoarse whisper because mother had always told me never to argue with people about religion.

“Just like you wear that Allah around your neck, I wear the cross.”

“Idol worshipping is haraam, and the Prophet hated idol worshippers. You are a kafir (disbeliever)”

The word kafir has resonated within me forever. I was marked, stamped and stained for life as if a member of the kachra class in India.

Gradually, my cousins, aunts and uncles began migrating. My father was offered a sponsorship visa but he refused, saying his duty was to serve and protect Pakistan no matter how many Christians were killed, executed for false blasphemy cases, paraded naked in village streets and discriminated against in every way.

My mother and I begged him to reconsider.

We asked him to think about the worsening situation of fanaticism in the country and what it could mean for us one day, however he was resilient in his patriotic thinking, putting his service into educating Pakistani children before anything else -even his own family.

I have always felt emotionally and mentally restricted in this country, unable to voice an opinion on anything remotely related to politics or religion, while many of my cousins and relatives continue to live freely in the West.

What I find strange is that I have done my Islamic research because I wanted to know the reason behind the rising hatred toward anyone remotely non-Muslim, and contrary to popular belief Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was generous and kind to members of various faiths. It is after reading much of his work that I have concluded that it is not Islam that is the problem at all, it is the wretched people who claim to be Muslims but have hatred, racism and religious stigma engrained in their core.

No matter how many Taseers are born, there will always be a Mumtaz Qadri in almost every strata of Pakistani society ready to kill, and many will defend this action even at the highest political levels.

So, my dear Pakistan, tell me – where shall I go?

Is it fair that we are practicing our religion in a phobic way? Is it fair that I no longer wear my cross because someone may take offence to it?

Jinnah wanted to create a state that would encourage freedom of religion. Today, not only have you all failed Jinnah but you have taken a religion of peace and manipulated it to terrorise us. We cannot be silenced for long.

As Abraham Lincoln said:

If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify a revolution.

Yours sincerely,

A disappointed Pakistani Christian

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In your opinion, are religious minorities allowed to practice their faith freely in Pakistan?

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Cynthia Roberto

Cynthia Roberto

A Pakistani Christian piano teacher who campaigns for the rights of all Pakistani religious minorities and is greatly inspired by Salmaan Taseer.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.sociality360.com Chief Marketing Officer @ Sociality360

    Even within Muslim communities, there is hatred of equal or greater level. You have to give respect to get it. There will always be people who will tell you who you are and what you’re capable. The choice to listen to them or become the person you believe you are, is entirely up to you. Get proactive, today.Recommend

  • @mariumarif

    @Cynthia Roberto

    I know what you have gone through is torturous, but also allow me to ask that did Every Muslim child in that school with you treat the same way?
    I did my O levels from an elite convent school from Karachi, & I too had many christian class fellows both male & female who still are few of my really good friends.

    The different here lies not in being a Muslim or a christian but in the way we have been brought up by our families. These basic foundations of humanitarianism unfortunately have died down in every strata, caste, creed, religion and class across Pakistan.

    When I was getting my elementary education in the US, as a Muslim I too was spited upon, but then not all American class fellows treated us that way & to this day, some of those people are still in regular touch with me.

    All im trying to say is, not everyone is alike. I’m sorry for what you’ve been going through, Truly; but give the rest of us a chance as well. :)Recommend

  • http://www.elucidations.org Abu Bakr

    Sorry :’( I promise to personally change as much as i can. Hopefully the nation will follow.Recommend

  • Saad

    You have raised some valid points here. Well I guess the situation is going to be much more better in future because of the multicultural environment children of next generations are living in. These things take time to sink in and show their effects. I can assure you, the children who told you what is haram and kaafir wouldnt even know the meaning of these words though I do understand how hurtful it would have been for you.

    It is about time we grow out of the whole “Mulla” culture and start exception reality. Muslims are not better than any other way than other people in the world. If they were, they wouldnt be the most ridiculed race right now.

    Some of my best friends are Christians, Hindus and even Atheists. But I have never let that compromise our friendship. Recommend

  • Khurram Khan

    My Dear,

    This is Our Pakistan, we have to do more struggle to change the mind set of this Fatwa Group… even Muslims like us facing the same issues..Recommend

  • Ali

    Could not understand the poll question. Is it mean the current prevalent treatment or what should be according to principls?Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense

    I eat with Christians in my office off the same plate. A Hindu is in a senior position in my company. One of childhood friends is a Hindu and he graduated from AKU and is a renowned doctor. In interior Sindh Hindus are doing very well for themselves as most businesses are owned by them. Ismailis (terming them as a minority here as they too face discrimination) pretty much have a cozy life here in Karachi, I live in a posh apartment building and its inhabited mostly by Ismailis and Im glad to have such well behaved neighbors. Point being there are many like me who dont care if you are a Hindu, Christian, or worship some crazy one legged ninja. Intolerance is everywhere you just have to suck it up like we muslims are doing when we are pointed out in airports and looked with fear in airplanes. Recommend

  • Sane

    A baseless write, over exaggerated & far way from facts.. Christians and other communities live in harmony in all cities including Karachi. There are lot of Christians working in offices and quite comfortably mingle with their Muslim colleagues. If you are mentioning brutalities and discrimination in rural areas then this is due to lack of education. Not Christians alone even Muslims are sufferers in these areas by Waderas, Chaudhris.and many other criminal elements. Please find brutal acts including gang rapes done with Muslim women just in last five years. You will come to know about amazing facts. How many were Christians among them?Recommend

  • Rizwan Jamil

    I guess I am the first one here to comment on your piece which is written with emotions. let me tell you who ever you are my name is Rizwan and I am a muslim. I am offering you a friendship hand not because you had a pathetic life and fate that was given to you, but because you are a human and level to what and where I stand today. Don’t think or worry that you are alone. Besides so many people with you you have God with you. And now a friend too. [email protected] is where you can connect with me. Take care may God Bless You always and dont underestimate your self .. after all its not what people think of you but what you think of yourself. Recommend

  • Sane

    You are addressing and challenging all Muslims with a threatening tone of ‘Revolution’. Amazing and Amusing too.Recommend

  • Sana

    Not a christian, but from another faith I can totally understand your delimma. Muslims in Pakistan are living in a world of their own where they believe they are superior and everyone else is kafir or doomed. We can only pray that God gives them wisdom. As for you, well if your father didn’t want to leave it was his chocie, but my advise to you is to pack your bags and leave. It is almost impossible to undo their arrogance. Recommend

  • abdul moeez

    Sister you are a Pakistani and you have all the rights of a Pakistani as stated in the constitution. As far as Islamic values are concerned I personally will eat with you from same dish that you are eating because you are book of Allah and you belive in same Allah as I do. This is what Islam taught me.Recommend

  • Another Victim

    Worse is the case with us – The Ahmadi Muslims.

    Allah, Holy Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, Kalma, Namaz, Islam and etc seem to be REGISTERED TRADE MARKS in this country. Latestly, the right to life has also being privatised among SELF AUTHENTICISED THEKAYDAARS of Islam. Recommend

  • Imtiaz

    Discriminating people on the basis of faith is totally unacceptable.Recommend

  • blah

    truly ashamed :( but trust me there are people who have grown up with Christians and other faiths, have eaten from the same plate, played together, slept over, hugged, gossiped and have become best of friends. Alas, all these signs are that of a failed nation :( Recommend

  • Imtiaz

    Discriminating people on the basis of fath is totally unacceptable.Recommend

  • Ali Raza

    Dear Pakistani,
    Let the time come,this majority will eventually face all the curses upon them for the crime of silence. As this silence will eventually put them to hell fire on this pure-land…
    khudaa ki laaathi baiawaaz hai…Recommend

  • Lubna Jerar Naqvi

    The article makes me shameful because that is what I see people doing to others in the name of religious, class, status…how is anyone allowed to hate someone else from childhood, and then we wonder why we have so many suicide bombers willing to blow up those they are taught to hate…..if it makes any difference I apologise for what the majority – in Pakistan the Muslim majority and others in the world – do to hurt others… I agree that we should not teach hatred to our children, we can tell them the difference between religions and other points of view, but killing or hating someone for this is as you say ‘haram’ or it should be.. I m glad Cynthia that you didn’t let all this poison your point of view and you opted to study Islam… and I am proud of your father who stayed in his country when others would have fled…. Recommend

  • Saleem

    A country where even majority is deprived of basic needs, what do u expect? …………….. You are not facing difficulties (written in your blog) just because of Christian, almost all those difficulties even muslims too facing in this country.

    This type of blog need to write if all muslim in this country have good health & wealth.

    Very emotional blog you have written.Recommend

  • Abdur Rahman

    Its very unfortunate that you had to go through all this. And I am deeply saddened at some of the incidents in Pakistan like the Gojra incident, just like how we got news of churches being burned in India, it was saddening to see the same happening here. Anyway since no body seems to bring up any good thing about Pakistan these days I would like to share a bit of my experience:

    I studied in A Christian School in Lahore for 11 years (btw I am a Muslim). We celebrated Christmas each year. The Muslims and Christians decorated the class and there was a competition about the best decorated class. The Muslims students (together with the Christians) participated in the annual drama of Christmas. I remember a very fair Muslim girl who was always played the angel:)
    The Parents of the Muslims themselves attended the annual Christmas drama, and got their children ready for it. We had parties together and we ate from each others’ plates. Sometimes during Ramazan some of the Christian friends would trick their Muslim friends into eating something or jokingly offered them a “treat” from their side.
    Once, For Pakistan day our school shot a national song (for PTV) and we (the Muslims and Christians) did the recording of that in A Church ( I mean the video recording).
    The Muslim Students paid double the fee than the Christians, we only once celebrated Eid, when I was studying (i’ve heard they do that regularly now). Most of our teachers were Christian of course and I still respect them and meet some of them and I owe a lot to them.
    The college I did my inter from was also a Christian colledge. We had some Christians in our class and we were friendly with them. Though at that place it was not as liberal an environment as in our school but still we never had issues about not eating together or fighting amongst each other. There was a Christian who was quite friends with the Muslims and his friends were always joking with him to become a Muslim..but he never got angry nor his friends upon his refusal.
    Recommend

  • Ahmed Ayaz

    Your blog is quite juvenile. I am sorry.. how old are you? I mean is it alright to be judgemental about people who have judged you in the basis of their presumptions?Recommend

  • J.k

    Hey. I am sorry for what happened to you. It is high time to end this discrimination and eliminate the opinions. I truly admire you:)Recommend

  • Stewie Griffin

    It’s really disappointing that non-Muslims are treated like that in Pakistan, I think we should be a Secular state and give everybody equal rights, but I disagree with the fact nobody hangs out with Christians or befriends them.

    In my school, I know many Christians, and we hang out with them, I think you’re exaggerating a little bit.

    There are many Christians living in Defense, the only reason some Christians don’t live here is the same reason why many Muslims don’t live here either — expensive housing.

    Many Christians also study at K.G.S and many other good schools.

    I don’t mind eating out with a non-Muslim either.

    I do think that we should introduce Affirmative action in Pakistan and give under-represented minorities a better chance in employment.

    As far as immigrating is concerned, many Pakistanis regardless of their religious beliefs are leaving Pakistan for greener pastures, so it would be stupid for somebody to pass up a chance of getting out here if they aren’t doing well.

    I feel sorry for the way minorities are treated in Pakistan, especially the rural areas, but it’s not as bad in Karachi as you make it out to be .Recommend

  • abc

    I am actually very sorry for what you have to go through.

    But trust me on this one, not everyone is like that. We are losing Pakistan to the extremists and we are teaching our kids to discriminate. I honestly feel education is the solution we are looking for, for it opens the minds.

    At one point or another we will all have an opportunity to flee this country, but I plan to stay here and work on things in my little way for as long as I can. I hope you do too and try to educate people around you. Today, you made me shameful of being a majority in this country.Recommend

  • Khan

    Which elitist school is this where kids don’t eat with Christians, those kids would have a tough time later, seeing that the majority would go abroad to study and have no issues hanging with “kafirs” there. This is not common amongst elitist lots who are known not to be conservative or religios (good or bad aside.)
    There is an element of truth to minority complaints, there’s no denying that, but it sounds like this particular lady’s persecution complex is due to less of a sectarian thing and more of a social divide, and possibly an inferiority complex.
    Neither divide is OK of course but this chick seems bitter for a whole lot of reasons, not just discriminating (“wretched”) Muslims, look at how she presents her father, his assets and his opinion, look how she trivialises the death of Salman Taseer.
    She clearly doesn’t respect much and is probably a perpetual whinger who complains about everything.
    She won’t be happy even if she does manage to migrate to Canada, my guess is she hasn’t strengthened her skills enough to be able to get a visa and do so.
    There are derogatory terms for minorities wherever you go, whether it’s Prince Harry calling muslims “rag-heads” or the brits calling desi folks “Pakis” – it is unfortunate and unacceptable, but certainly not unusual. It isn’t specific to your lot.
    There are those here in Pakistan who are wretched and there are those here who have incredibly big hearts, this blog is completely unbalanced and unfair to the people at large, does Express Tribune think they’re going to bring about change by publishing bitter and unbalanced accounts and antagonising communities against each other? Please rethink your strategy,Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    @ sick of this nonsense,

    And you think your workplace and neighbourhood is a perfect microcosm of all Pakistan. That just because you haven’t personally witnessed a hate-crime or discrimination against a minority member means that there is no discrimination, or at least, it is not prevalent?

    I’m was part of a minority in Pakistan and a minority here in America as well. But the way I’m being treated here is far better than what I had to suffer through in my “home” country. Try being in a Pakistani Christian’s, Hindu’s or atheist’s shoes for a day, and I would love to hear about it from you.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Sana
    Great wisdom you show advising to pack the bag and leave. Following your ‘wisdom’ all Muslims in India will pack their bags to leave.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    All those who think the author is exaggerating or lying, are complicit in the mistreatment of minorities. Know that denying discrimination despite evidence is itself a form of discrimination.Recommend

  • A disappointed Pakistani Muslim

    On behalf of many others, i bow my head in shame, and pray with hope in my heart that you and I will one day be there when we live in the prosperous progressive pakistan, the original dream of Jinnah! Recommend

  • Sane

    @Stewie Griffin
    @Abdul Rahman
    Your comments are rational and realistic. Muslims here even participate in Christmas, Halloween, Fathers day, Mothers day and other Christian religious rituals.Recommend

  • Sana Eric

    I am a christian and married to a muslim man who loves me more than anything in this whole world…I have studied in convent school too but never have I faced anything like this… All my girl and boy friends since childhood till now were muslims, I only had one christian girl friend in my entire life… You are just being judgemental, if something happened to you that does not mean that all christians in Pakistan are treated badly…yes there are blasphemy cases against christians but you should vasten you gaze and see how many muslims have also been charged with 295-b/c/a…. the thing is christians when they are charged they highlighted more… just like if there is a fight in the streets and a muslim boy beats a chrisitian boy beside other muslim boys, the story will be depcited as the Christain boy was beaten by several muslim boys, not as ‘boys fought’….
    if a christian in dark in complexion, thats not a big deal, the whole world is full of GORA CHRISTIANS too just look around… arabs are not goras, sudanis are not goras, and in your city karachi numerous muslims are darker than anyone else… You can change your style and carry your complexion with style, just like all the models and actresses in Pak and India do…. Not everyone is as fair as Reema or Kareena….
    if christians were killed few years ago, you should look at the amount of people who die all around the world, or in pakistan in bomb blasts and target killings, when they die they just die no religion is mentioned… look at drone attacks, who is killing all those poor people in the north of our country and for what reason… you can say that US led drone attacks killed thousands of Pakistanis OR you can say Christian Led drone attacks killed thousands of Mulsims and Parsis and Hindus etc….
    What matters is How You think and How You See the world…. You should change your view point Girl…Recommend

  • Genius

    Mother of a girl studying in elitist school, coming from defence, daughter of a tycoon told her not to talk with a Kafir….Unbeleivebale. You have penned down your fantacy dear. This does not happen even in Government Schools !Recommend

  • A Raaf

    Discrimination, bullying, and racism is always been a part of this society, its in our veins specially in people from karachi. It was easy for me to digests all that because I am a muslim although not born here in Pakistan.

    Basically its a chain of hateism, let me give you an example here, Husband came back from work tired frustrated cause could be any but lets just say cause of traffic, he take his frustration out on his wife and wife takes it out on the kids now kids got nothing to take it out on so the next day when they go to school they bully their mates to get that exhaustion out. Now the kids who eventually grows up in such societies have a very discriminating mentality just like all of us Pakistanis have.

    I completely understand that it must be very hard specially for a Christian girl like you cause religion is the only topic that what the person don’t tolerate to be discriminated at. I hope you understand that this is not only cause of you being Christian its just the fact that people are like that here and they enjoy hurting others. Be strong and fight don’t let anyone bully you and don’t think you are alone.Recommend

  • Seed

    Stop complaining if you don’t like how things are. Take control, decide how YOU are going to change it, think positive, get rid of the drama, MOVE FORWARD!Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/xafrii Muzaffar

    Reminds me of my first in NUST hostel, yes one of the top universities where the students are so called educated people. I went to mess to have lunch sat on the table as other guyz, two of them left with their plates and sat on another table,,, it was haram to eat with me on the same table, they said….

    any guesses, possible reasons,,,, they knew I am an AHMADI…Recommend

  • blaaah

    oh behalf of the SANE muslims out there, I apologize for all the hatred that’s been showered towards you. Have faith in Pakistan, its we who are going to make the change.Recommend

  • http://ottawa andleeb

    I disagree with this article. Islam is the most tolerant religion and Muslims all over the world have set an example of living peacefully with other religions. If Ahmedias and Christians were truly being persecuted, how come they are still sitting in Pakistan and have not left for India? Except for some isolated incidences, these minorities enjoy equal status in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ali Nasir

    I always eat the lunch of my office colleague and he is a christian ( he always says “Phir kha gaya sara”) I think you need to change your friends circle. Recommend

  • Mobashir

    Totally disagree with the writer. I went to St. Patrick’s, which is a christian school. A lot of my friends were non-muslim – mostly Christians (and mind it St. Pat’s isn’t expensive and for the privileged one – people from all classes attend the school). However, St. Pat’s being a catholic school always preferred Christians over muslims, as far as admissions were and are considered. During those days and currently as well there weren’t such thing as mentioned by the writer here. What I am trying to say is that exceptions are there in every society and one must not link them to the overall society’s trait. THINK!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/242/nicholas-sharaf/ Nicholas Sharaf

    @sick of this nonsense.

    Here is where lies your ignorance which eventually leads to the situation minorities find themselves in. People are not made to stand in separate lines at Airports because of their religion. They are made to respective of their nationality. My Pakistani passport differentiates me from everyone else due to which most security personnel take me to the side. Same is with Iranians.

    Unfortunately the tragedy is that people like you are stubborn to accept nationality as the cause of the problem and rather blame religion instead.

    Our biggest misfortune is that Pakistanis mostly like to identify themselves as muslims and not as Pakistanis. That is where the root of the problem lies. Recommend

  • AIN

    @Ali Raza:
    Very true!!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/242/nicholas-sharaf/ Nicholas Sharaf

    @sane,

    How is Father’s Day, Mother’s Day or Halloween Christian festivals? =|

    And I do not agree with the argument that since people die due to other reasons as well, we should not consider the topic of sectarian violence. Converting everything into numbers is a dangerous road to take and eventually leads to mass genocide. That was all very evident in Rwanda.

    Let’s make it clear. The question is not how many people end up discriminated or killed due to sectarian violence but the fact that why does this hate exist in society?Recommend

  • Ozymandias

    I’ve broken bread with Hindus, Parsis and Christians alike. I have rejoiced with them at weddings and mourned with them at funerals. Yes, there will always be bigots and fanatics, but please don’t lump us in with all the rest else you’re being as close-minded as the ones who hurt you.Recommend

  • deedee

    just heartbreaking! :(Recommend

  • Anonymous

    Dear Cynthia Roberto,

    well, you concern should be directed to all pakistanis rather than pakistani muslims; i can tell you this because last few years have been transformational for me (from a party boy to a bearded guy, from playboy to five time prayer offerer, etc. ) and i have experienced people’s attitudes change towards me ; suddenly people think that i am an extremist, and etc. etc. i can go on and on about the difficulties being a muslim i am facing while trying to become a better muslim and my conclusion would be : we are a society where our real islamic heritage has been overshadowed by western (mix of capitalism, hip-hop, consumerism, etc.) and sub-continental culture (neither muslim or hindu culture) and we as a society has actually brought religion/Islam in our lives to a very minute extent. So my two advise(s) to you would be :

    1) Do not blame it on Muslims/Islam , blame it on people who happen to be Muslims but not true Muslims. Every society has its stereotyping; in US, first it were blacks who were stereotyped then immigrants and now Muslims and God know who will be next. In our society, people like you and I are stereotyped who actually don’t fit in with the prevailing culture but with the passage of time things can get better and people like you and i have to educate people with our positive attitude.

    2) Life is unfair , so deal with it :) .. Life is unfair. Deal with it :) …

    Yours truly,
    Anonymous Recommend

  • AIN

    @Muzaffar:
    I can understand the situation. Same happened in UET with us. I personally think that Pakistan will reap one day what is being sow now ..Just wait and watch !!!Recommend

  • Bushra

    Muslims have undying hatred among themselves what to talk about other minorities. However sensible people will always respect u no matter what caste or creed u r from.those who dont they dont matter.Recommend

  • http://www.pakistanchristiancongress.org Nazir S Bhatti

    I am sad to read it but its true if it is experienced after 1970,s by this Christian. I must quote one incident of Kasur city in Punjab: One Christian Member of National Assembly of Pakistan in 1980,s stoped his vehicle near a “Faluda” vendor on roadside with his local friends on his way back to Lahore: The vendor served them but when they were enjoying Faluda, they were discussing about their meeting about issues of Christians; When they finished, the vendor gave them a big bill which was more than price: The Muslim vendor said “The price of plates and spoons is included in it’ so, pay and take plate with you also as they are pollouted after non-Muslim eat in it. The Christian MNA moved a preveliged motion in House but no legislation was done against religious hatrate; It was behaviour of an uneducated Muslim but non can forget attitude of Muslim lawmakers when motion to offer prayers”Fateha” to Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti, who was federal minorities minister was bloked by Muslim members of National Assembly in 2011. There was call not join funeral prayers of governor Salman Taseer in Lahore as he spoke to amend controversial blasphemy laws. Both, Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were high rankings in ruling Pakistan Peopls Party but no bill came in house to end hate crimes in Pakistan. Our honorable Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan have take lot of Suo-Mottu noticses but remains silent to rule against blasphemy laws and violence against Christians, Hindus and Ahmadi,s. If any legislation is not made against such laws then hate among religion will rise more and more: Recommend

  • A Shia

    I’m a Shia, unfortunately, I’m the only Shia in my class of 100 Students, Where I feel scared from specially, Deobandi Students and Teachers, who don’t know anything just to attack other’s believes….

    May Allah curse those, who kill the innocent humanity of Allah.Recommend

  • mujeeb

    my dear Pakistan an we pakistani are not like u people in usa or uk or israil … 1st see ur self and then point out us all u people want is to point but u people are lire go an see in India what they with do with u … its very easy to point on other but very hard see ur self in mirror so see ur self 1st and then point on us ……………Recommend

  • Karim

    I actually cried after reading this article. I really feel bad for you. I think its in the mentality of people to be racist, and this all comes from families. I parents always taught me to see everyone as equal, and fortunately, my friends’ parents’ also gave them the same teachings.
    I do agree there is a lot of racism against Christians and Hindus in Pakistan, and this must be stopped.

    Jinnah did not create Pakistan for muslims, he created it for those who could live with freedom. Racists should be ashamed of themselves. Recommend

  • Shamy

    Dont really know which school you went to mate ! i am a muslim, studied in Saint Patricks and trust me ive made Amazing Christian friends…and never treated them the way you just wrote in this article…maybe an analysis of the self is needed here…Recommend

  • Saad Aziz

    why has’nt zaid hamid commented here yet?Recommend

  • Abbas from the US

    My heart goes out to you child.

    I can tell you Pakistan was a different place five decades ago, and we instinctively felt the need to demonstrate a sense of thankfulness for the Christian school and its administrators that allowed us to get a better education.

    All I can say is don’t give up, it is against the teachings of the carpenter who changed the world. You will see better days and find solace in his teaching that apply to all humanityRecommend

  • Ali

    Hate begets hate….we started with calling Ahmedis a non muslim and now every other muslim is a non muslim for other….. this is what happens when religion becomes a business of state. State should have no religion, if it has a religion then it surely will follow a particular sect, then it’s a recipe for disaster as all the citizens not belonging to that particular state religion and sect automatically becomes a second class citizen, and second class citizens are discriminated, thus causing all the problems we are facing today. We are hypocrites if we say that a Muslim State will have no discrimination against its minorities and every thing is ok and cool. Recommend

  • Mir nawaz

    So sorry for the family who is being tortured by so called Muslims, this shows how minorities are being forced either to leave this country or forced to accept Islam.Islam is a religion of peace, brotherhood, unity and love but unfortunately it has been interpreted in wrong ways.
    Minorities have the same right to practice their religion and live their lives according to there will as Muslims do. Recommend

  • Waqas

    Things are not same in real. I;ve employed a christian worker as well and i;ve seen they can do anything freely in Pakistan. Recommend

  • shahid

    i must say that i have spent time with christian students but never heard of these things, we shared meals in one plate, infact those guys were our best buddies. there were so many christains girls and guys but i havent seen a single girl ever discriminated. i dont about this christian girl but there is a possibility. non muslims are enjoying a good life in pakistan, they have the right and they are practicing their religion openly.Recommend

  • http://www.aliani4u.livejournal.com Elie Khan

    this is horrible, like based on your personal experience with a few people you call it a day??
    i have been in missionary schools and colleges, being a muslim i have never felt shame or any ebarasement sharing food, or dining on the same table or anything..

    before giveing your opinion u must know what the Religion of Islam says is what our Pakistani Muslims in particular have nothing to do, like we have our own version of islam here which has made Islam look like a monster, it is not.. which religion allowed intermingling, and start of relationship with other religions??
    it was islam going in a pact with Jews, recognizing marriages with Christian and jewish women, what does that signify??Recommend

  • Hussein Ansari

    I would like to apologise to the writer on behalf of all the Pakistani’s for all kinds of discrimination that she has encountered growing up and living in our Country.

    I am more of a reader then a comment writer but your blog moved me and I had to let you know that Pakistan is as much yours as it is of any Muslim who lives here. Pakistan’s strength lies in its diversity. There is much that the Christian community adds to our nation.

    We need for our people to learn to respect one and another. Insha Allah a time will come when we can all peacefully co-exist and prosper.

    What surprises me is how little us Muslims of Pakistan know of the culture of the Christians that reside in our country. The time has come for us to be rid of stereotypes and educate our Children that Pakistan is a country of great diversity and this is something we all can be proud of. Recommend

  • boondh

    I have many Christian friends. I have never treated them any differently neither did I ever see them being treated differently in my school. In fact one is my closest friend. I am sorry that your experiences were not good. But I want you to know that there are people here who respect you and will stand up for you and your rights.Recommend

  • Shabbir

    @author: “kachra class in India.” Really? You need to broaden your mind. If you choose to associate with such discrimination … how do you think the intolerance you are facing germinates?Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Dear Cynthia

    Everyone faces problems in Pakistan because no place is without problems. The most heartwarming part is that you acknowledged the generosity of the Holy Prophet and Islam’s great contributions to bringing peace and justice to everywhere. The rest will fall in place over time as you keep faith in Pakistan and be a good Pakistani.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Sana Eric

    Bravo! Wish more Pakistani Christians were like you! Positivity and love like yours, not blind hatred like Cynthia’s, is the need of the hour.Recommend

  • https://ofbeinghumane.wordpress.com/ Rukhsana Shama

    Thanks for speaking up. We are with you, yes lunatics and insanes are running around free, trying to control every inch of our lives, but the struggle must go on for individual rights.Recommend

  • munchkin bob

    remembering the ‘charter of privileges’ by Prophet Muhammad PBUH …Recommend

  • Saira Bano

    I apologize on behalf of all muslims. I strongly believe that all minorities have the same right to practice their religion as I do. This is not mine but ours country.Recommend

  • Love

    @Sana Eric: how insolent sana !! Firstly tell me whether your loving husband asked you to “convert”? Secondly, why shouldn’t the minority get representation in Media? Minority population has decreased from 10% to 2% since independence. Countrys tolerance can be measured by how it treats it minorities. So its a wake up call from everyone in Pakistan to get their house in order. What you are suggesting is asking everyone to ignore the problems and sweep it under the carpet.

    Hindus, Christians are systematically targeted, discriminated in Pakistan and people should be more human in their dealing. If they had actually followed true islam then this day would not have come. Proph. Mohammed is a perfect example. Recommend

  • Simantob

    Why should a Muslim country like Pakistan treat non-muslims any different than the rest of the Muslim world? Is there any Muslim country that non-Muslims, be they Christians, Jews, Bahais, Hindus, Zorastarians, have equal rights with Muslims? One just has to look a the tremendous decrease in the numbers of Jews, Christians and others in the Muslim world, from Morrocco to Pakistan, from Afghanistan to Yemen to realize the utter hatred that exists among most Muslims for other religions. If you don’t believe me, try taking a Christian bible to pray in Saudi Arabia and see what happens!Recommend

  • Rawasia

    Such a shame that We youth would be realizing this after few reads on the blogs
    Cynthia, from all of my pakistani brothers and sisters We are sorry that you are being treated this way just on the base of religion yet you are are right its not the Muslim its the people. Now here I am not going to say anything to our nation but I wana be first in the line as a Muslim brother, to wish you Merry Christmas this year.
    I have got few friends who are christian when they want to join me for Eid and wishes me why wont I join in their happy moments?
    People who said that eating with Christian is haram they are wrong.
    Christians are also AHL-E-KITAB and allowed to dine with.
    Anyways hope things may get better for You and for ALl of us.Recommend

  • Rana

    I’m a Muslim…Pakistani-descent living in America.

    And let me tell you, I’ve gone through the same things that you have gone through from the Christian majority. People have called me all sorts of horrible things: terrorist, towel-heads, camel-jockey, you name it. I was never bullied; rather, I was popular in my school, but many of the Christians here were rather two-faced. Although many were openly rude and racist, others would only pretend to treat us with respect, and I would find out later they spoke derogatorily about us, our religion, and our Prophet. I’m not trying to justify what Muslims do to Christians in Pakistan, but I’m trying to say that America isn’t the beacon of tolerance as many people seem to think it is. I was born and raised in America, but I have always felt like an outsider here because of how people stare at me in grocery stores and how they treat me in school (I live in a small town in the South).

    Also, I think you’re exaggerating a bit. Whenever I go to Pakistan, I’ve seen a lot of Christians and they seem very happy with themselves. You’re painting a picture on a country full of 190 million Muslims and acting like they’re all bad. And also, Pakistan is your country. Not anywhere else. You were born here and raised here whether or not you would like to admit that. It’s because of people like you that Pakistan is getting so horrible; when minorities, rather than standing up for their rights like the Black people did in America in the 1960s, you guys just automatically think about running away. How will that help your fellow Christians? You’ll leave them behind, and racist Muslims will think that if they continue what they do, you all will eventually just leave.

    I’ll tell you where you should go. You should STAY IN PAKISTAN and work hard to fight for your rights. Don’t take that kind of behavior from a HANDFUL of people (because I know most Pakistanis are not like that). Rather than being a coward and trying to leave, keep fighting. Pakistan will only get worse if people continue to just leave after every single little thing starts bothering them.

    Look at the Blacks in America. They were enslaved by the White people, and then, they were discriminated against. They weren’t allowed to drink from the same water fountains or even go to the same movie theaters. They had to sit at the back of the bus and give up their seats to White people. And in 1960s, they were tired of it and stood up for their rights; many Blacks died from White extremists, but because they persisted, all of those discriminatory laws were repealed in America, and Blacks are treated equally. There still is some discrimination and racism, but rather than fleeing back to Africa where their ancestors came from, they stayed behind and progressed themselves. And THAT is EXACTLY what people like you should do rather than taking the easy route and running away. Because if you do, you hurt not only Pakistan, but your fellow minorities. Recommend

  • Love

    @andleeb: do you live in fairy land?? The population of minorities in Pak has reduced from 10-12% in 1947 to 2% today. The people are already running away either to US,UK,Australia,etc or to India. http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/06/pakistani-hindus-seek-safety-in-india.html … Not even Muslims want to stay in Pakistan !

    Hindu and christian girls are regularly abducted and forcefully converted. Trader are abducted for extortion. They are subjugated by police, blasphemy laws and now even by common people who think they are kafirs. This is not what Jinnah visioned for Pakistan !

    So please follow your own prophet and his teaching. He was champion of unity of people from different faith. So why not start with yourself and your family !Recommend

  • Abdur Rahman

    Its good to see that some Christians and Many Muslims here have also shared their good experiences with their Christian friends.

    I didn’t mention my school and college name in my previous comment, where I shared my experience with the “Christian friends/class-mates and teachers”. My college was Forman Christian College Lahore and my school was “St. Anthony’s High School Faisal Town Lahore”…i love my school still:)Recommend

  • Umer

    My father was offered a sponsorship
    visa but he refused, saying his duty
    was to serve and protect Pakistan no
    matter how many Christians were
    killed, executed for false blasphemy
    cases, paraded naked in village
    streets and discriminated against in
    every way.

    Big mistake and now you are paying for it.Recommend

  • Love

    @mujeeb: dude, don’t get me wrong but India is far better than Pakistan in all respect. Muslim population in India has grown from 9% to 17% today. This is a clear indication that they are doing pretty well. Muslim in India has been to all the top positions in society whether it’s presidentship (3 muslim presidents), chief justice of India, chief election commissioner, bollywood stars, scientists etc etc etc. If they were discriminated (like in pakistan) their population would not have been 17% compared to 2% in Pakistan. You have “systematically” killed/converted your minorities. There are no blasphemy laws in India. Ahmadiyya are also treated as Muslim. Not all is good but we always learn from mistakes like godhra, etc. But whats happening in Pakistan is that people have turned blind eyes to such problems in society and blame “others” for all of it. Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Shafaq

    DEAR CHRISTIAN PAKISTANI
    i remember sharing my lunch with my 2 muslim friends and a christian friend. i believe i had been asking her questions about her religion and answering her questions about mine. Be strong. Muslims in america were treated badly after 9/11. they still are. Hindu minor castes are mistreated in their own country by their religion mates. Shia and sunni issue is an everlasting issue in Pakistan. some things are bad every where you go. People are misunderstood. Raciasm exists, almost everywhere. Sects discussion occur bluntly. This is human nature, and you will have to face it where ever you go. i think your father is stronger than you are. Recommend

  • Umer

    @shahid:

    non muslims are enjoying a good life
    in pakistan, they have the right and
    they are practicing their religion
    openly.

    Explain that to the dead victims of Gojra and Shanti Nagar and the countless victims of Blasphemy laws.Recommend

  • FAZAL AKBAR

    *On behalf of all Muslim I am really very sorry for that act.
    Actually Islam did not teach us to hat other religions, Quran Saying that Repsect the temples and churchs and All other religion’s people. Islam did not forbid to eat with non muslims. Even Islam did not forbid to set with the non muslim. Ullama saying that Marrying with Christian are not forbidden. I don’t know who teach these bad things to Muslim. Islam is the religion of Peace, Love and brotherhood.
    Again I am sorry for that.
    Fazal AKBAR
    United Kingdom
    *
    Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    An excellent blog Cynthia, and I encourage you to keep raising awareness about this.

    While it’s true that everybody in Pakistan is facing financial or social problems, there’s a mass delusion that all are suffering equally. That there’s nothing unique about the grievances of the minorities. This is because it’s difficult for the privileged class of the society to understand and acknowledge the woes of the underprivileged.

    This jingoistic, knee-jerk denial of the fact that minorities are being abused, forcefully converted, routinely dragged to court on false blasphemy charges, discriminated against by government and public alike, and facing social injustices everyday, is a hate-crime in itself!Recommend

  • Adeel Salman

    @Chief Marketing Officer @ Sociality360:
    Seriously that is your smart response to this… Clearly you have no idea what it feels to be a minority… so please abstain from making remarks that dont make sense in the context… she does not need pep talk… she needs to be understood !Recommend

  • Adeel Salman

    @@mariumarif:
    Totally wrong… the difference lies in being a minority and majorit… please stop being defensive and for once admit that there is wrong with the bulk of muslims because they are muslims…. there is nothing wrong in becoming a better human being… and that can start by you people admitting that they are wrong…
    Muslims are born and bred with such ideas… and i am not talking about exceptions… so please dont quote exceptions (the fact that you went to an elite school) … let me tell you something very simple and i hope you can figure the rest…
    Muslims- Rich
    Christians- Poor
    Muslims- white skinned
    Christians- dark skinned
    Muslims- MAJORITY
    Christains- Minority

    do the math

    If you think its only because of a few muslims then there would not have been a clause in the consitutuion of Pakistan accodring to which no non muslim can become the president or the primie minister…that is how insecure and fundamentalist the minority faction is in Pakistan.

    So at the end of the day it really does boil down to the fact that who is muslim and who is a minority!Recommend

  • Adeel Salman

    @Sane:
    first off.. SANE… seriously! get a new id… dont go pseudo if you are so sure of what you are saying.
    Second you are worng.. and by that i mean entirely wrong…
    Christains do not live in harmony with the muslims… and that is because they are not allowed to…. either you perception of harmony is messed up or you live in a magic land somewhere deep inside you brain…
    Aasia bibi… is that an example of harmony… Shabaz Bhatti… is that an example of co existance…
    So dont start with your childish remarks when clearly you have no idea regard or respect for the sensitivity of the situation…
    Christians and other minorities in Pakistan are being PERSECUTED… in some cases it might even be the poor muslims as well… but for the most part it is the minorities because they are not financially powerful, socially stable or educationally proficient…
    there are around 30,00,000 christians in Pakistan… and maybe even more… and incidents like gojra town are not an isolated event… so please doe your reasearch before you start replying with your baseless arguments…!Recommend

  • Adeel Salman

    @Sane:
    you seriusly need help if you find this amusing! anf FYI lose the ‘Sane’…Recommend

  • Adeel Salman

    @Ahmed Ayaz:
    Your reply is quiet childish.. i am sorry how old are yo… or wait did you ask someone to write this for you… i have a feeling you arent old enough to use the computer…
    See thats how it feels when you throw words that are abrrasive!
    take writing classes might help you!Recommend

  • Omar

    What the christian girl suffered is not a sorrow story restricted to Christians but as a whole to every 1 poor in Pakistan. Have this girl been rich nobody would have cared that whether she was a muslim or not and would have been Good to her ! So signifying Christianity as the cause of this treatment is vague. Its our Pakistani culture which needs to be changed ! And i have many non muslim friends and teachers and i respected them equally as my muslim brothers. Bad treatment in any 1 specific area against non muslims doesnt reflects the whole of PAKISTAN !Recommend

  • http://Islamabad Awais Ch

    Nope………. its all about Wealth and riches, if you are Influential you are respected here in Pakistan otherwise not!!! Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Rana

    Well said. Muslims face far worse problems and greater discrimination in the United States. Still, they don’t write write such one-sided articles. Pakistan needs positivity. Anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan forces are busy spreading negativity. How fair is it to give the nation a bad name when some bad apples exist everywhere?

    P,S,: Kafirs and Karanti are just names. They don’t mean anything bad. The author herself carries negative feelings that she mistakenly sees in others.Recommend

  • Allah

    @kaalchakra:

    Just because Muslims face far worse in other places does not give Muslims the right to treat minorities in their countries that way. And kafir and karanti may be just names to you but then you’re writing from a position of power. If you had to deal with being called names that demean something so fundamental about you like your faith you may fee otherwise. Just sayin… :/Recommend

  • Abdur Rahman

    @ to many here:

    Well some people will jut keep on trying their best to make things look worse. Its good the blog got the attention of a lot of people who had attended Christian missionary schools–to add a lot into the picture…

    Of course every Pakistani is saddened at incidents like Gojjra, which made us feel as if our country was no different from India where a large number of Christians were being prosecuted. And even as if we were like the hindus who burned the Muslims in Gujrat..it was sad and shameful…But if you look at the bigger picture there is a lot of friendhip and peace between COMMON Muslims and Christians in most of Pakistan.

    And the Missionary Schools are a gr8 example of that. As I said earlier the Muslims and Christians celebrate Christmas together eat and drink together, Muslims participate in Christmas plays and even in the choir!!Recommend

  • far

    i have studied in parsi and christian school never seen discrimnation…there is always a black sheep in society you cant blame all for that Recommend

  • umer

    its not haram to eat with a christian or jew. only hindusRecommend

  • Parvez

    First I salute your father, for he is a principled man and further I empathise and agree with the sentiments expressed by you. Religious intolerance is spreading fast in Pakistan as it is being used as a ‘weapon’ for political ends with little regard for the disastrous consequence this is having. The apathy displayed by the State in this regards can only be termed as criminal. One has to wonders as to why we have a Ministry for Religious Affairs.Recommend

  • umer

    by the way ET, how do you know of the authenticity of the author, there have been a lot of cases of indians etc posing as pakistani spreading false information. just asking.Recommend

  • Abdur Rahman

    And I would also like to share another incident from my Christian school in Lahore which happened a few years back (I got to know about it through my little brother, who still studies there).

    By mentioning this incident I only want to show that there is some bitterness shown by both sides (Muslims and Christians) sometimes but the BIGGER PICTURE is different.

    There was a little Muslim boy of about 6 or 7 years. He, according to what I perceive, did a childish act (he was a child anyway) of asking his 2 Christians friends to say the “Kalima” (the Islamic proclamation of the Oneness of God)…After that he told his friends that now you two are Muslim and you will not eat certain things from the canteen because they are haram..
    Now this act was childish, (and even funny) and the child did it unknowingly, unaware of his doing. But the Teacher (who is a Christian) got to know of that and called that Muslim boy and slapped him in front of the class. The parents of the Christian boys came to school and scolded the boy too. Even though Jesus pbuh taught to let the enemies slap you and even present the other cheek, this was clearly not a display of true Christian morality. His parents were called and the Principal protested in front of them asking them the source of such an idea?…Anyway both the parents apologized and did not protest on why their child was slapped, even though he was just a child and the matter was settled.

    Now all this happened in PAKISTAN TOO!—- The writer has written about some similar stuff, but we can’t say that all over Pakistan Christians are being looked down upon and maltreated. All those who say that don’t even LIVE IN PAKISTAN!!!! And they have never even attended a missionary school/college!Recommend

  • fus

    Rather than blaming the author or giving examples of your treatment with non-muslims friends, why don’t we accept that this is an issue, whether discrimination against ppl of other religion or muslims of other sects or even on basis of ethnicity. Don’t give your examples but look at the over all population and society. Make a promise to yourself that you will judge other perosn as a human first. We should strop thinking that we are superior just because we have a divine religion or sect. and please be Pakistani first. You are Muslim, Hindu or Christian, good for you, that is b/w you and Allah (swt), but every Pakistani should have same rights irrespective you are Hindu or Muslims. We need to raise voice againts people who are creating this atmosphere of discrimination.

    If we are true muslim how can we let an illiterate Mullah preach hatred and hijack our religion. Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Cynthia.

    Keep it up and tell your story and experience to the press. What you are experiencing is not discrimination but a caste system divide! Remember, most of the so called muslims of Pakistan are of non muslim heritage, the ancient India which was ravaged with tribalism and traditions where the status of an individual qnd his profession was determined at the time of birth.

    My tip would be to ignore those who disrespect you and show your back on them. I can assure you this phenomina shall dosappear as soon as you ignore them. I know it is very difficult and can only imagine how it must be for you facing this situation on the campus? What do the teachers say about their pupilsß

    Rana,

    There is no need for your wise cracks! One person’s suffering is enough to move havens to wash away the entire population of the land. I know that this is not the majority- they are completely ignorant anyway, those who go to such schools must be the spoilt on of the elites of Pakistan?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • kaalchakra

    “There was a little Muslim boy of about 6 or 7 years. He, according to what I perceive, did a childish act (he was a child anyway) of asking his 2 Christians friends to say the “Kalima” (the Islamic proclamation of the Oneness of God)…After that he told his friends that now you two are Muslim and you will not eat certain things from the canteen because they are haram..”

    Wow! This is not funny, it is inspirational for all of us. Boys of 6 or 7 can play such roles and display such awareness, commitment and initiative! Hopefully, the little Christan friends will find the right path on their own ! Shocking that Christian parents or the teacher will take offense, or even perpetrate violence against an innocent Muslim boy. Someone should lodge a protest.Recommend

  • Imran Samuel

    @Abu Bakr: Thank You so much. It means a lot.Recommend

  • Naresh

    @@mariumarif:
    .
    You stated :
    .
    “When I was getting my elementary education in the US, as a Muslim I too was spited upon, but then not all American class fellows treated us that way & to this day, some of those people are still in regular touch with me.”
    .
    In your case you suffered as a Foreigner in the USA. In the case of A disappointed Pakistani Christian – the Article Posted by Cynthia Roberto the Disappointed Pakistan is a Citizen of Pakistan suffering discrimination in the Country of her Birth, Origin and Citizenship.
    .
    Therein lies the difference!
    .
    CheersRecommend

  • Ash

    Dear Author,
    I respectfully disagree with most of your article, especially most ivy leagues schools are run by Christians I’m a christian grew up in Lahore and went to a Catholic school. Yes I did have rich, spoil brats around me, but no one cared what religion we were. I had many Muslim and Christian friends we did everything together: all I have is fond memories of my schools years.Yes kids did pick on each other based on skin color, or being too skinny or fat but never on bases of religion.
    I’m sorry you were treated this way,but I praise your father for staying home to give back to his community. As far as the world falling apart, when was the last time it wasn’t falling apart. Racism will always be there, One last note Be the change you want to see. Its not what your country can do for you, its what you can do your country.

    Regards,
    -AshRecommend