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Christian Clergyman Receives Threatening Letter From Muslim Militants
They try to extort large amount of money from him

By Jawad Mazhar
04/20/2011 Pakistan (ANS)-A Pakistani Christian pastor has received a five-page threatening letter from an Islamic organization which not only threatened death, but also tried to extort a lot of money from this poor Christians leader.

The Rev. Ashraf Paul received the letter on March 30, 2011, telling him to stop his evangelical activites. It was claimed to be from Tehreek-e-Gazi Bin Shaheed (TGBS), an Islamic Organization in Pakistan, and signed by its leader.

Rev. Paul contacted CLAAS and informed that he, along with his family, were constantly receiving these severe death threats which told him to stophis religious activities through his church and the publishing of religious books for Christians.

They also demanding pastor to pay the equivalent of US $119,79USD, as a “poll-tax” otherwise they said they will kill him and his family.

His family is now in hiding with one of the family friends.

Pastor Paul, aged 55, has been running Hope Fellowship Evangelical Ministry at Hamza Town, near Youhanabad, Lahore. He was converted to Christianity in 1970 and went to seminary some ten years later where he got three years of pastoral training and then in 1983, he was deputed as principle at Good News Center at Dera Ghazi Khan.

In 1998 he was appointed as assistant director at the Eye Hospital at Gillgit. In 1999 he shifted in Lahore and joined Pakistan Bible Society for proof reading of the Bibles for printing on very small salary.

Pastor Ashraf was a very famous writer as well as a poet and used to write religious poetry and religious books for the encouragement of the young Christians of Pakistan to make them strong in belief and faith, in this way he was earning some money for his family.

Pastor Ashraf and his family have lived a very poor life and were hand to mouth. In 2005 Pastor Ashraf and his wife Mrs. Rubina Ashraf aged 45, approached CLAAS and asked for some financial help, Mr. Joseph Francis, its chairman, gave them a suggestion to start a High School for young Christian girls and boys in Hamza Town to provide free education to poor Christian children and offer them for some help in this regard.

Therefore Mrs. Rubina Ashraf started a school for Christian children in-collaboration with CLAAS and also a small church with the congregation of 18 – 20 families. They were providing free education to poor, needy and street children. With the passage of time and encouragement, Pastor Ashraf started a primary education school for Christian children in Sadiqabad and 4 stitching centers for Christian women to give them skills of stitching and embroidery.

At the moment Pastor Ashraf and his wife is serving to the Christian community in Pakistan as pastor at Kashmore, Sadiq Abad and Lahore, through writing books and through education.

God has blessed them with four educated sons. They have a big congregation in Kashmore and Sadiq Abad but in Lahore they have very small congregation and a small church. They have become better in financial position and have started the construction of another building for High School for Christian Boy’s in Hamza Town Lahore.

After the incident of a Koran burning in Florida, he is one of many Christians in Pakistan and other Islamic countries, who now face a critical situation with all kinds of death threats and where Christian churches and other properties.

CLAAS requested all readers to pray for Christian community in Pakistan especially Christian religious leaders as well as political leaders.