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Concerns of persecuted Pak-Christians brought to light with Australian MP

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Pictured from R-L Wilson Chowdhry, Chris Crewther, Lara Hall and Martin Iles

AUSTRALIA:  On the 26th of November, the British Pakistani Christians Association (BPCA) met with Chris Crewther MP, Member for Dunkley. A number of pertinent issues were discussed in the meeting pertaining to the plight of persecuted Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

Firstly, MP Crewther, who advocated on behalf of Asia Bibi, confirmed that the Australian government has made an offer of asylum to Asia Bibi and her family if Canadian diplomatic processes fail. We commended MP Crewther on his advocacy efforts in relation to Asia and we also thanked the Australian government generally for its offer of asylum. We hope that other governments can also come to the table and make similar offers in a show of solidarity to the family and to also unequivocally demonstrate that the West does not capitulate to terrorists and extremists. BCPA praises Australia's incredible show of solidarity with the other democracies taking  a stand for Asia Bibi.

The increased pressure on Pakistan from the West is already compelling positive change in Pakistan, as demonstrated through the arrests of Khadim Hussain Rizvi, leader of extremist Islamist party, Tehreek- e Labbaik (TLP), and thousands of his followers over the preceding days. There is a pronounced need to suspend foreign aid that is not achieving deliverable measures in improving human rights.

The West must continue to place pressure on Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to continue his crackdown on the rioters and extremists in Pakistan. Extremist ideology can no longer be tolerated or entertained. The West and other nations must adopt an audacious zero tolerance policy.

In the meeting with MP Crewther we also asked him to advocate for a re-assessment of BPCA's Approved Partner Organisation (APO) submission pursuant to the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative. BPCA submitted an application last year but we were unfortunately unsuccessful. We believe that it is important that we obtain APO status so that we can continue to ameliorate the refugee crisis and facilitate the safe asylum of persecuted minorities. He asked us to submit a proposal with respect to re-assessment of our APO status.

BPCA canvassed with MP Crewther our concern that family members of some asylum seekers have trouble visiting them. BPCA would like the Australian government to enact an improved visitation process that would enable family members easier visitation rights. MP Crewther requested that BPCA make a submission to him on this issue.

BPCA also raised our concerns that Christian persecution is not properly understood or recognised by the Australian government. BPCA will submit a report to MP Crewther which demonstrates avid Christian persecution in Pakistan and which will therein enable a more accurate, improved and comprehensive risk assessment of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers.

Overall, the meeting with MP Crewther was incredibly encouraging and we are optimistic that the Australian government will embrace many of our initiatives and be willing to work with us to remediate our concerns.




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