Christians Fight to Maintain Rights of Religious Minorities in Pakistan

Pakistani Christian woman defending rights of minorities

ICC Note:

In 1997 a Christian village was attacked by zealots. “Thirteen churches were ransacked and hundreds of homes destroyed by the arsonists. 75 to 80 percent of houses in Shanti Nagar were destroyed and 2500 people were affected.” Since then many Christians have worked to defend the often infringed upon rights of Christian minorities. This article goes into greater detail of how they are doing this.

11/24/2012 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post)- Shanti Nagar (a Christian village in the province of Punjab) Pakistan, when fifty to sixty thousands zealots stormed this abode on the 6th of February, 1997. The storm started from Khanewal, which is a stronghold of the militants. Thirteen churches were ransacked and hundreds of homes destroyed by the arsonists. 75 to 80 percent of houses in Shanti Nagar were destroyed and 2500 people were affected.

After the riots in Shanti Nagar, many Christians have taken the leadership in defending the rights of religious minorities and the promotion of inter-religious harmony, one is Romana Bashir, the other is Arif Gill, but both share the same mission.

Romana Bashir started as a social activist, in early 1998. She started working at grass root level, and had developed the idea of nationalism; working with community members she promoted interfaith harmony. She joined Christian Study Centre, as a trainee. She worked to promote freedom of expression, dignity, justice and fairness, and equality.

Working hard since then, in 2009, she was appointed as head of the program in “Christian Study Centre”, a well-known Ecumenical Study Centre in Rawalpindi, which had prematurely lost the previous director, Francis Mehboob Sada. She is conducting various activities and programs, meeting with Muslims, tribal and civil society leaders, to develop- a culture of dialogue and harmony for the common good.

She is working in the field of education, particularly the education of women, in the main way to change the mentality and culture of the country. It is needed to train people with new approach, based on equality and rights, which could influence the opinion leaders at a national and international level. This is what Romana says in an interview with free-lance journalist, Shamim Masih.

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