Amid cries of discrimination: Peshawar church blast victims remembered

Participants decried govt apathy in protecting and helping minorities.

Muzaffar Mukhtar September 23, 2014

RAWALPINDI: We are still considered only sweepers and second-class citizens in this country despite having rendered so many sacrifices for Pakistan since the partition.

This was the sentiment shared by several people who protested under the banner of the Muslim Christians Unity Forum in front of the Rawalpindi Press Club on Monday during a candle light vigil to pay tribute to the martyrs of the September 22, 2013 bomb blast at the All Saints Church in Peshawar.

The forum’s chairman, Samuel Jacob, said minorities are still discriminated in this country despite the passage of 67 years, adding that Muslims in this country should understand the actual essence of Islam.

“Law-enforcement agencies also do not provide us security because perhaps they think there is no need to protect the minorities,” said Samuel. He said they had to arrange security for their religious places on their own, which is very unfortunate.

Lamenting the lack of response of the federal government for the blast victims, he said compensations were yet to be paid to the victims.

Basharat Khokhar, a social worker, told The Express Tribune that the sacrifices rendered by the minorities since partition should be included in our school courses so the young generation could know about the struggle of the minorities for the creation of this country.

He added that people sitting in the assemblies to represent the minorities are not true representative but are pawns of political parties. “These pseudo representatives never tried to raise their voice for the genuine issues of the minorities”, Khokar claimed.

The political leaders hold large rallies for various topics but never dare talk about the rights of minorities, he lamented.

“We want equal rights for the minorities as promised by Quaid-i-Azam”, demanded Khokhar.

Nabeel Bhatti, a Christian resident of Pindora Chungi, Rawalpindi, told The Express Tribune that there is discrimination at every level in this country for minorities. “I am standing with my community because we have been denied our rights in this country and we need unity in such an environment,” said Bhatti. Five percent quota is fixed for the jobs of minorities but we are denied this right through various ways, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2014.


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