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Remission ‘Inside’ Demanded for Pakistani Christian Prisoners

By Sheraz Khurram Khan
Special Correspondent for ASSIST News Service in Pakistan

8/24/08 LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) – Sohail Johnson, the chief coordinator of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan (SLMP) has called for remission on the time they spend in jail for Pakistani Christian prisoners on passing Bible study courses.

Johnson said that according to rule no. 215 of the jail manual Muslim prisoners are entitled to get remission on their time inside on passing Islamic studies examinations.

The Christian prisoners, he regretted, are denied this privilege of earning remission on passing Biblical courses in Punjab province.

He called for amendment in the jail rule so that the Christian prisoners could also get remission on passing Bible courses.

ANS has learnt that the Christian prisoners can get remission on passing Bible courses in Sindh province, but passing of Bible courses does not entitle any remission to Christian prisoners languishing in the jails in Punjab.

The SLMP had launched Bible courses for Christian prisoners in 2007 with the help of some friends in UK.

Enlisting objectives behind offering “Basic Bible course” to Christian prisoners, Johnson said that the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan is convinced that the course makes difference in prisoners’ spiritual life.

“We advocate equal rights for all prisoners and the SLMP’s Bible course for prisoners would help us win remission for Christian prisoners,” said Johnson.
“We will use the course as a basis for winning remission for Christian prisoners during our talks with authorities,” he added.

Sohail told ANS he had apprised the provincial minister for human rights and minorities affairs, Kamran Michael, of the problems of the Christians prisoners during a visit to Lahore Central Jail last month.

Sohail said that the minister promised that he would table a bill for remission of Christian prisoners in the provincial assembly of Punjab.

The minister, he said, urged prisoners to do “Basic Bible Course” arranged by the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan so that he could fight for their remission in provincial assembly.