One of the main leaders of Pakistani Christians in the United States has demanded a a separate province for Christians in the Punjab to end what he called political slavery of Christians in Pakistan.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC), in a statement Saturday said formation of separate Christian province was demanded by his party nearly a quarter century ago at a press conference in Karachi.
Dr. Bhatti’s statement comes in the wake of the demand by some Muslim political parties to create the formation of 20 to 37 provinces to replace the existing four provinces Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pashtunkhwa and Balochistan.
“Pakistan was not formed for Muslims only. Christians played a positive role in the Pakistan movement and Punjab province fell in the lot of Pakistan on the vote of Christians leaders of All India Christian Association before the Boundary Commission. At the time, Sikhs and Hindus population formed majority and Muslims were in a minority in Punjab,” Dr. Bhatti said. “Christians not only contributed towards making Punjab a part of Pakistan but also made formation of Pakistan possible in 1947, when they voted in favor of Pakistan at the Round Table Conferences from 1930-32 in London” he added.
Dr. Bhatti said the present system was carved out to suppress poor Muslims and Christians.
The PCC chair said Christians are treated as second class citizens, adding Christians are facing hatred at the hands of the Muslim majority, while legislation against them has snatched their basic human rights.
“A Christian wearing a cross in the neck cannot eat in any restaurant nor buy food from any road side vendor Being a Christian means one cannot work in the catering industry because Muslim do not like to eat meals prepared or served by Christians. They are not allowed to eat in same utensils used by Muslims,” Dr Bhatti lamented, adding, “The parliament of Pakistan has never attempted to legislate against prevailing discrimination and hatred against Christians.
He said Christian youth are denied due share in government jobs and admissions in professional and higher educational institutions, which has created massive unemployment and generational poverty among Christians.
On top of all that, Dr. Bhatti said Muslim political leaders have snatched Christian right to elect their parliamentarians with on reserved seats and are selecting Christian individuals of their choice in violation of Article 226 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which prohibits any selection in the parliament of Pakistan.
“The blasphemy laws and electoral laws have been designed in such a fashion so as to target Christians and other religious minorities and higher courts deny justice to victims.
“At a time when some Muslim political parties are demanding division of Pakistan in 20-37 provinces, ignoring the genuine demand of Pakistani Christians for formation of separate province is quite unfortunate. It is sad that Muslim leaders have not included formation of separate Christian province in their new demand,” Dr. Bhatti said.
In conclusion, he warned Muslim political parties if they ignored the demand of a separate Christian province by division of the Punjab, Christians will be forced to demand opening the borders for Christians so that they may leave Pakistan as they cannot live under oppression of Muslims as second class citizens and slaves for eternity.