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World Evangelical Alliance goodwill ambassador visits Pakistan

By Michael Ireland

10/3/07 PAKISTAN (ANS) — A delegation of Christian leaders has just returned from a one-week fact-finding trip to Pakistan .

Rev. Johan Candelin, from Finland who is the global coordinator for the International Day of Prayer, and a goodwill ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, which is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations, led the tour.

The delegation spent one full day with the Christian minority and had personal meetings with victims of rape and women who were facing blasphemy charges and had to hide.

Several television stations had interviews with the delegation and parts of their presentation to the diplomats were also on television.

The program was planned by Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, a Pakistani politician who became the first woman to lead a post-colonial Muslim state. Bhutto was the twice-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, being sworn-in for the first time in 1988.

The delegation had talks with leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which was launched at its founding convention held in Lahore on November 30 – December 01, 1967. They also met with other political party leaders like the Muslim League.

The group spent time in meetings in the Senate and with some 20 Members of Parliament. The delegation spoke to some 40 diplomats about religious freedom and democracy at a dinner and met with among others the Ambassadors of Afghanistan, France, Canada , Austria , Sweden , Norway and Finland .

Candelin said, “The only thing one can say for sure about the political situation in Pakistan now is that you cannot say anything for sure about the political situation in Pakistan . But we now have very good links for future co-operation with the leaders of the nation.”

He added: “We are focusing on several things: protection of all minorities (including the Christian), the Sharia law, democracy and the protection of women. What happens in Pakistan has a major effect on the region and that is why we are committed to use all our networks to strengthen religious liberty and democracy in Pakistan .”

Candelin’s delegation to Pakistan included Mrs. Eija-Riitta Korhola, Finland , European Parliament, Mr. James Reimer, Canada , Global Investment expert and Mr. Tim Dean , UK , World Media Trust. The delegation visited Pakistan representing the First Step Forum.

The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.

Further information, contact: Rev. Johan Candelin, [email protected]