Stories about Pakistani Christian

Unity, not uniformity

We tend to accept unity as one of the fundamental guiding principles of Pakistan, without questioning what it means. The oft repeated, and clichéd, political slogan is that we need to unify the country. We all need to come together for Pakistan, but come together to what? Unify to become what? The acceptance of the need for unity as a given truth, without questioning the very meaning of the word itself has led to a perverted understanding of the word. Unity seems to be understood to mean uniformity; a society where dissent is not accepted, any person holding an opinion ...

Read Full Post

Dear Aasia Bibi, today I have no apology for you

Dear Aasia, I have so much to tell you. I have so much to talk to you about. I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps the best way is to start off by saying that I would never dare say such a callous thing like I know what you must be going through. I don’t. I have no idea what is going on in your head. I can’t even imagine how disgusted you must be feeling with life right now. However, I do know that you have every reason to feel disgusted. Aasia, you need to understand a few things about the ...

Read Full Post

Don’t Christians in Pakistan deserve a church?

This Good Friday, on April 18, 2014, I met a wonderful Christian housewife named Seema, in Lassori. Christians make up 1.6% of Pakistan’s population, and have been serving in every profession. Seema explained that for the last 60 years, 58 Christians have been working as farm labourers in Lassori Tobatake Singh. She and her husband, Allah Ditta, work in the fields and own two goats and a cow. She explained that the entire street comprised of 40 houses on each side and that all the residents present were Christians. Her parents had migrated during the British colonial rule, when the latter allotted ...

Read Full Post

An old Christian lady and a suicide bomber…

“You have to make sure you press this little red button twice near your left pocket, not more than three feet away from the target. You know how much three feet is, don’t you?” This last point of the instructions came out of the so-called engineer’s mouth for the fourth time, along with bad breath and an unpleasant smell that emanated from his clothes which had specks of gun powder in several places. The boys didn’t know his real name but his reputation as ‘engineer’ was rock solid among the other members of the secret cell. No one ever questioned the logic of ...

Read Full Post

Hallelujah Band: Spreading a message of hope in Pakistan

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together” – Margaret Atwood Given the unending discrimination which the Christians of Pakistan live with, certainly no words or actions can pacify or comfort them completely. The community lives under constant threat of  persecution, attacks or the blasphemy law, fearing that any day something might happen that will shatter their lives forever. Despite all this, the Christian community remains steadfast in its faith. Soon after the twin suicide attacks inside the All Saints Church of Peshawar, I relentlessly began looking for ...

Read Full Post

Why should we remember Salmaan Taseer?

January 4 and 5 are two days that every PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) supporter will remember, but for two very different reasons. January 5 is the birthday of their enigmatic party founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. January 4, on the other hand, remains one of the darkest days in our history of political murders – a day that is, surprisingly, not spoken of enough. January 4, 2011, was the day when the serving Governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, was shot dead by his guard, because the guard was in disagreement with Taseer’s opposition to the blasphemy law. Salmaan Taseer’s assassin was a man ...

Read Full Post

The Christians of Pakistan mean nothing to the pope

The last Pope, Benedict XVI, elected at the age of 78, was the oldest person to have been elected as pope since 1730. In February 2013, he announced his retirement due to old age. The election of the new pope has been the talk of the town and the air is buzzing with excitement everywhere except in Pakistan. Pope Francis, baptised name Jorge Mario Bergoglio, took the position on March 13, 2013, just days before the holy week of Easter began. Amongst other things, Pope Francis is the first pope to have been a Jesuit (head of the Society of ...

Read Full Post

Whose Islam is it anyway?

Billa was his nick name. An uneducated Christian boy, who used to clean sewer lines, remove garbage, and on a good day, play cricket with us on the streets of Lahore. I fondly remember how he could hit the ball out of the park and make the team proud. But my life in Pakistan was rife with contradictions. At jumma prayers, the team heard Islamic stories of equal treatment of non-Muslims and a few hours later, despite taking a bath, Billa would dare not shake hands with us, let alone eat on the same dinner table. Thanks to cricket ...

Read Full Post

G-B massacre: When will Pakistan really win independence?

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) is a natural splendour which Pakistan boasts as a tourist attraction for foreigners and expats. This mountainous terrain is adorned with snow capped  peaks, lush valleys and rivers that could revitalise your very soul. This place was heaven on earth; this place exists no more. G-B, which once stood as the most appealing attraction for tourists now stands amongst one of the most neglected regions of the world. Eaten away by sectarianism, extremism and militancy, our lush valleys of the North are embedded with fear and vulnerability. The presence of militant factions and clashes between rival sects have become ...

Read Full Post

So, a Christian can’t ‘save’ Pakistan?

Recently, I have come across many status updates on my timeline that really hit me deep. It is very common for me to see the following opinions pop up on my news feed: Pakistan ko bachanay k liye humain acha Musalman ban’na pareyga. (To save Pakistan, we need to become good Muslims.) The only way to achieve a prosperous Pakistan is by being staunch Muslim These statuses have, many a times, left me pondering about the definition of a Pakistani. Thus, I decided to look up the definition of the word ‘citizen’ in the dictionary and see how far it applied to being a Pakistani ...

Read Full Post