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Future ‘grim’ for Pakistani Christians, says Bishop: CEN 1.18.08 p January 20, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Civil Rights, Persecution.

samuel-azariah.gifPAKISTAN has entered a ‘spiral of violence’, reports the Bishop of Raiwind and the short-term prospects for the country’s Christian minority are grim.

Bishop Samuel Azariah told The Church of England Newspaper on Monday that his country was in the midst of a political and economic meltdown, and urged the government of President Pervez Musharraf to restore the democracy and the rule of law.

In 2007, 50 suicide bombings killed 770 people, and civil unrest has left almost 3,500 dead. “The common belief amongst the people is that the bombings are the work of either Islamic extremists, belonging to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, or rogue elements close to the military establishment,” he said.

“Whoever is responsible for these heinous crimes, the intent is clearly to subvert through terror the democratic process in order to negate the will of the people,” Bishop Azariah said. The Musharraf government was engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Waziristan, the North West Frontier and in Swat and ‘right or wrong people believe that this is an American war and the Pakistan army is killing its own people at the call of the Americans,’ he said.

The war on terror had led to ‘much anger and hatred against the West’ and paradoxically to America and Britain being blamed for the country’s social and political ills. “This of course has repercussions on the Christians and the Church in Pakistan as we are considered a legacy of the West because of our colonial heritage,” he said.

The resulting political instability has ‘had an adverse impact on the economy’ with essential foodstuffs and commodities like wheat flour, sugar, petroleum in short supply. All of this has led to the government losing ‘all credibility’ and becoming ‘virtually crippled.’

The mood among the country’s political elite was that the forthcoming ‘elections will not be free and fair,’ and opposition leaders have called for President Musharraf to step down and form a national unity government.

“This, however, is unlikely to happen because the US-led Coalition and the Pakistan military establishment continue to support Musharraf. The US Administration is of the view that Musharraf is indispensable to the war on terror and Pakistani Generals are not ready to share power with civilians because over the years they have accumulated huge economic, commercial and political interests,” Bishop Azariah said.

“Human life is a gift of God,” he said. “As such violence and acts of terrorism against innocent civilians are a sin against God and are contrary to his values of peace, love, forgiveness and compassion. As people of faith we are committed to universally condemn all forms of violence, particularly the type that inflicts indiscriminate death and injury on civilians,” he said.

Pakistan was ‘passing through a very difficult period in its history’. Bishop Azariah asked for prayers for his country and to ask God to ‘bring our people consolation and invest in them the hope and courage to face up to the challenge of healing and reconciliation.’


1. Arnold Ziffel - January 25, 2008

I couldn’t agree more. However, I wish to add that Musharraf’s recent reference to his alleged “brains”, reinforce my opinion that the U.S. should call his bluff and let him and his cohorts use these alleged brains without any more support from the U.S., either politically, or especially monetarily. It is obvious that Pakistan is on the verge of being a failed state. Let the chips fall where they may.

It won’t be much longer before the West will be going in to Waziristan to exterminate that nest of vipers.

2. Moderator of Pakistan « Lent & Beyond - January 16, 2009

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