Harsh Realities for Christian Minorities Living in Pakistan

ICC Note: Pakistani minorities, especially religious minorities face many hardships, in the Islamic state. Where 98% of people in Pakistan are Muslim those who are not find life particularly challenging. In the case of Atif Mian, a Princeton University Professor he was made senior economic advisor, until his Muslim co-workers had him fired a few days later in light of all the backlash.

 

09/20/2018 Pakistan (UCA NEWS) – A network of Pakistani immigrants in the United States asked me to draft an online appeal requesting that the new government of Prime Minister Imran Khan appoint Christians to top positions. Their sense of optimism rose with the announcement that Atif Mian a Princeton University professor and a member of the minority Ahmadi faith, was being made a senior economic adviser.For Ahmadis, not accepted by many fellow Muslims in Pakistan because of their belief in a prophet after Mohammad, it was particularly welcome given past prejudice and persecution.

But the hype of harmony was short lived. The Ahmadi professor was fired a few days later amid a backlash from right-wing political parties and Islamist groups. Because of the controversy, two others resigned from the government’s top economic advisory body.This constituted a loss for Pakistan.

The Catholic Church congratulated the new government on its appointment in a Sept. 6 media statement. Archbishop Joseph Arshad of Islamabad/Rawalpindi, who is president of Pakistan’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference, urged the government to give roles to people from minority communities.

Father Francis Nadeem, executive secretary of National Commission for Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism, criticized the government’s early performance on minority issues. “In his inaugural speech, Khan did not focus much on minorities who have to struggle even for low-paid jobs in the public sector,” Nadeem told me. He said it was the first time that no member of a minority group been appointed to the federal cabinet. The same thing happened in relation to one provincial cabinet. Many non-Muslims and members of minority Muslim sects had believed in Khan’s election promise to build a ‘Naya’, or new, Pakistan. Failure to put this undertaking into practice has already resulted in disappointment. 

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.

 

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