Watering ‘well’ Christian communities in Pakistan

Image of community of Bikiwind around their first pump installation.

When we visited Jaranwala to provide assistance to Sherish and Farzana two Christian sisters who suffered a 12 hour gang-rape ordeal, after being kidnapped
at gunpoint whilst using a field as a toilet (click here), we
stumbled across a disturbing truth, that rural Christian communities across Pakistan have little or no access to clean water in a country that holds
them in pariah status.  

The story of Asia Bibi reminds us that in communities where there are existing wells, these utilities are prohibited for use by Christians as it is
believed that the mere touch of a Christian on the handle of a pump will in some way contaminate the water flowing through it. 

The BPCA at that point decided to install pumps for clean water in locations where we discovered Christian communities did not have them.  I report
back on some of these projects for you.

The first project I would like to highlight is the pump we installed in Wazirabad.  We visited the area to help Aftab Gill, a Christian man who
was forced to flee his home after being caught drinking water from a mosque tap, simply because their was no other fresh water source in his community
(click here).
 Pakistan is a nuclear nation with several atomic bombs having stolen the science from Britain and America. Yet despite swathes of funding in
billions of dollars from the two nations who they subjected to serious intellectual property theft, Pakistan’s government has failed to build the infrastructure
necessary to support civilian life.  Sadly what little infrastructure is available is often prevented to Christians and other minorities especially
in a minority context.  

After the incident Aftab Gill was advised by the local imam (religious leader comparable to a priest) to flee the city as community tensions were extremely
high. The imam did not stir up hatred but did his best to halt the opposition.  Working with the imam and the local community the BPCA were able
to encourage Aftab Gill to return to his family after a month, during a period when we supported them with food and other assistance.  We also
agreed to install a water pump at his house.

Our original project required the pump to be installed at Aftab’s home as mentioned above, however the family later cancelled this, fearing that installation
of a pump at their home would cause jealousy amongst local Muslims.  Their resistance and that of other local Christians caught up in the same
fear delayed the project somewhat, however after a month they suggested a relative’s house located 100 yards from their home. Our installation was
completed in November (despite what the plaque says) and serves approximately 30 Christian families living in the vicinity. 

Mehwish Bhatti our lead officer tries out the water pump for first time.

In November Pastor Stephen from Full Gospel Assemblies church called our senior officer Mehwish Bhatti and asked for our assistance.  Apparently
he had heard about our work across Pakistan and in his desperation to help 22 Christian families without clean water, asked if we could install a pump
within their community.  This is a turning point for our group as until this date only victims had called us for assistance or we had reacted to
reports of crimes gleaned from social media.  We told the pastor we would need to investigate first and travelled to the site to see how bad the
situation was.  

On visiting the location Mehwish met with families and got them to agree the installation at a central home, the local Pastor is monitoring the use
of the pump and accessibility to all families.  The home selected was also chosen for its ability to have a pump facility accessible without need
of access to the main home so the donor family is not to affected by other users. 

We went ahead and installed the pump in November which is being shared now by all the local families.  We have stayed in touch with the local
community and held a Christmas outreach in conjunction with Pastor Stephen (click here), that was extremely well attended.  

Christian builders install the pump at Sialkot home.

We visited the villagers of Bikiwind, Kasur after this year’s floods after a search across affected areas for suffering Christians.  As expected
we found the the Christian villagers located there had not been visited by the government or any charities.  We arrived so late having searched
the most aggressively hit areas first where we discovered that every Christian Community had been left unscathed, as if under the protection of God,
which is a very probable claim. However the villagers of Bikiwind were badly affected as seven homes had been washed away and many others damaged,
crops had been destroyed and several families suffering hunger had already sold themselves into slavery (click here)

We installed two pumps in the area which are now serving several local communities with an estimated 300 families being served. This community
has also benefited from our restoration work, which has included the rebuild of seven mud homes now in solid brick with deep foundations and a two
foot plinth to protect them from flooding. We have also held two outreaches for the local community one in September which included a medical camp 
(click here),
and one in December (click here)


Image of second Bikiwind pump

First Bikiwind pump in construction

Bikiwind pump used for the first time.

Home owner of pump at Waziarabad.

Completed Sialkot pump.

Some of the happy families viewing the new community pump at Silakot

Two more families of Sialkot

A community pump for young and old at Sialkot