Mehwish Bhatti our latest executive member who resides in Pakistan, describes her torturous experiences at University:
Being a Pakistani girl and being Christian Pakistani girl is not an easy deal – trust me!
Why is there such a price to pay, simply for a choice of belief? I find it derisory that a state counts the protection of humanity for little or nothing, a state which is so frightened by Christians – a tiny minority who may seem funny or odd but who never pose any threat or give any genuine offence to anyone.
My excitement of enrolling as a university student ended with the reality of life on campus: constant questions and the slow realisation that I count for nothing in my own society. I sometimes wonder why I ever came. It baffles me how a society can be so brutal as to impose such harshness on someone who does not want to fight. I believe no one can call themselves educated who does not respect that which belongs to others. Yet, I cannot express even these sentiments without fear of reprisal.
Facing open criticism from university lecturers and daily taunts from every level was not easy. Carefully constructed, trick questions, at first, forced me to question my very identity. I remained quiet and prayed that silence and peace would surround me.
On my first day as an undergraduate, it was somewhat akin to entering a war zone alone and unarmed. I had to be seen to agree with everything everyone said. I considered adopting a policy of isolation, avoiding friendships and simply attending classes to learn. Things were tough day by day and there were certain people who with the beginning of a frank discussion finally asking me with “Why don’t you want to be a right person? Why don’t you want to go to heaven?” Well, I felt like telling them, if heaven is to be got at this cost then I would simply prefer hell.
In reality, I had no words to respond to them or tell them the truth because, in their eyes, it’s the greatest sin that I exist as a Christian at all so even a word from me at all would count as blasphemy. I realised then and there why so many young people hide their identity, terrified of the blasphemy law. Yet, paradoxically, every year, many Pakistanis leave for tertiary education in foreign countries without any fear of discrimination or harassment. So, then, why should any Pakistani girl – but particularly a Christian one – suffer to be educated here in Pakistan?
Recently, one my close friends formed a group with others and came to me asking me to read the Quran and be a Muslim so that they could “trust me to be their friend”. In the light of the blasphemy law, it is hard to know how to respond.
During all such incidents, I continually pray and ask for God’s mercy on them because they know not what they are doing.I thank God for His grace! I encourage my Christian brothers and sisters to be wise and not to be afraid. Death is coming for us all one day so let them know who we are following by letting your identity reflect His grace and therefore, being a light to others.
Let’s stand together for we are one! #BPCA