Evangelical Christians call on Westminster to take action against Pakistan for summary execution of Pakistani Christians
Describing the burning to death of a young Christian man and his pregnant wife in a brick kiln in Pakistan as “barbaric”, the Evangelical Alliance wants all Christians to sign a petition and come out and support a rally outside 10 Downing Street.
On 4th November 2014, 26-year-old Shahzad Masih and his 24-year-old wife Shama Bibi who, was four months pregnant, were beaten, tortured and burned alive in the fiery furnace of a brick kiln while the local police stood by and watched.
Director of Advocacy Dr Dave Landrum says this latest incident is a clear misuse of the country’s blasphemy law to persecute Christians.
“This barbaric act represents the latest in a long line of brutal acts of religious intolerance against Christians in a country which is set to receive more than £400 million in aid from Christian taxpayers in the UK.
“The Evangelical Alliance, which represents two million evangelical Christians in the UK, call on the UK government to unequivocally condemn this execution of an innocent Christian couple and use its influence to persuade Pakistan to bring the full weight of the law against the perpetrators. There needs to be an acknowledgement that such barbarous attacks which are no different in seriousness than the barbarous attacks of IS in the name of Islam. The world is watching and waiting for the Pakistani government to act fast and decisively to halt this persecution.”
He added that consideration should be given to Pakistan’s continued membership of the Commonwealth because it has failed to reform or repeal its biased blasphemy laws that have been used as a tool for discrimination against minorities, for the settling of personal vendettas or to steal possessions.
Head of the South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance, Manoj Raithatha, has called on all Christians in the UK to sign a petition, by the British Pakistani Christian Association, calling on the UK government to exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.
“We need 100,000 signatures on this petition which calls on the UK and other western governments to condemn and do something tangible to ensure that there can be no business as usual in Pakistan in relation to the murder of Christians under the pretence of its biased blasphemy law. It was shocking and horrifying that policemen stood by and watched the summary execution and did nothing to stop it. Pakistan needs to ensure that the impunity for hate attacks against minorities is stopped! And they can do this by guaranteeing that perpetrators are convicted rather than released after a short period of remand as in previous similar incidents.”
The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) is organising a rally outside 10 Downing Street on 22 November from 11:00 am to 1:00pm and is calling on Christians to come out in support.
“We are calling people of good conscience from any faith or no faith to join us and honour the lives of Shahzad and Shama, while calling for Britain to lever change in Pakistan through dialogue and engagement,” Chairman Wilson Chowdhry.
A one hour Christian memorial service will take place at the beginning of the protest and will include a dance for Blasphemy Law victim Asia Bibi, by Catholic British National Dancer Latasha Sinclair. Catholic band Ooberfuse will perform a live re-mix version of their Free Asia Bibi song, the original song video gained over 105,000 views on You Tube.
The BPCA have lodged an additional complaint with the High Commissioner of Pakistan over the use of Mosque loudspeakers that once again are blamed for the mass frenzied hatred towards the victims.
Chowdhry said “It would be a travesty of justice and would send out mixed messages, if the Imams involved in the preaching of hatred were not prosecuted. However, I would not be surprised if once again all they receive is a slap on the wrist. This attack proves in no uncertain terms, that it is not safe for Christians to live in Pakistan.”
In 2011 then Pakistan High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, told Release International, protesting outside the diplomatic mission, that he will do all in his power to protect the rights of Christians at risk in his country.
The petition can be accessed (here)
The BPCA has initiated a permanent benevolent fund for the family of Shahzad and Shama. Our desire is to free them from their bonded labour status and we will work towards providing a new safer environment for this family, who have suffered the loss of loved ones in a hellishly brutal and savage manner. This family have been left with serious emotional and psychological scarring and are receiving counselling. The orphaned children are being cared for by Shahzad’s family and your donations will help support them bring these children up. If you would like to contribute to our appeal our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90 Account number: 63468976 Bank: Barclays
Ref: Love for Shahzad and Shama (regular standing orders must use this reference).
Alternatively if you would like to send an immediate donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the BPCA to our address; 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.