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ICC Note:
In this article Riaz Anjum, the Chairman of the Pakistan Christian Movement, explains how Pakistan’s history of extremism can be traced back to the nations founding. Today conditions in Pakistan are extremely difficult for Christians. Human rights workers that advocate on their behalf regularly receive death threats. Shahbaz Bhatti, a prominent Christian voice against Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and at the time the only Christian member of Pakistan’s cabinet, was assassinated by Islamic radicals in 2011.
07/15/2013 Pakistan (CIC) -Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is known as the founder of Pakistan, was a lawyer, politicians, and beloved leader, revered in my country as Quaid-i-Azam [Great Leader] and Baba-i-Qaum [Father of the Nation).

But the Pakistan that Jinnah envisaged, is nothing like he was hoping for and sadly has become a hotbed or extremism and his dream as opportunity for all – including the minorities, for my country has been commandeered.
Sadly, various religious groups and parties have opposed Jinnah’s vision and after his death, they came to Pakistan with a design to convert it into an Islamic state of their own vision and binding.

Almost no social change has come even after the dictatorial tenure of Zia. Extremism and terrorism, which Pakistan is facing today, are the outcome of the self-centered policies of General Zia.
Largely, the regime of General Pervez Musharraf, a retired four-star general and a politician who was brought to power through a military coup d’état in 1999 and served as the tenth President of Pakistan from 2001 until 2008, was considered a enlightened and modern because he pretended himself a modern and liberal person at national and international level, but in my view, the real situation was different from general perception.
He did not make any effort to repeal or amend most controversial blasphemy laws of Pakistan, which are always misused against Pakistani Christians. In his regime, his “rubber stamp parliament” did not table the “amended bill of blasphemy laws 2007” which was presented by M P Bhindara, a non-Muslim member of parliament.
Now extremist elements dominate almost all the fields and departments of life here in Pakistan, including the print and electronic media. It has become very difficult for human rights activists, especially Christian human rights defenders to work for human rights and persecuted Christians.
Kaleem Ullah, a well-known Christian social worker who opened many schools for Christians and other deserving students and Francis George Gill, a respected Christian journalist, have now left Pakistan due to continuous life threats from extremist elements.
Now Napoleon Qayyum, another human rights defender who has been working for persecuted Christians under banner of American Center for Law and justice (ACLJ) and the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ) has been receiving continuous life threats from these elements.
The Pakistani Government, security agencies, and the establishment, should take immediate steps to provide protection to Christian human rights defenders.
If we wish to develop our country and make Pakistan great and prosperous, we all should condemn extremism and terrorism, but also adopt tolerance rather than extremism. The country’s establishment should encourage open-minded and secular people, because these people have contributed much to Pakistan, and they can develop and make Pakistan great and prosperous, something we would like to see happen.

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