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Fair play for Pakistani Christians petition presented: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 21, 2011 p 1. January 25, 2011

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

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali, Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hasan and Andy Dipper of Release International speaking to the press outside the Pakistani High Commission in London. Photo: Release International

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A petition bearing 51,000 signatures has been presented to the Pakistan High Commissioner calling for fair treatment for the country’s religious minorities.

On Jan 13, the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali, and the CEO of Release International, Andy Dipper met with Mr. Wajid Shamsul Hasan in London urging his government to protect the country’s embattled Christian minority.

The hand over came as Christians gathered outside of the High Commission in Lowndes Square in Knightsbridge to pray for the Pakistani government and for jailed Christians—including Asia Bibi, a mother of five sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Release International reported the High Commissioner came out of the embassy to welcome those taking part in the vigil.  ‘We share your concerns, and we will do our utmost in the best possible way to provide security for the minorities and to alleviate their sufferings,” Mr. Hasan said.

The High Commissioner denounced the recent murder of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, saying he had been killed for “defending the right of a member of the minority. We will not surrender to such blackmail, we will fight them and we will eliminate them.”

Pakistan was in the “forefront of the war against terrorism,” the high commissioner said.

“It’s a war against those who abuse Islam, who declare themselves Muslims but are not. They are in my personal view more or less pagans, who have no consideration for human life,” Mr. Hasan said.

Bishop Nazir Ali stated that in addition to handing over the petition, he and Mr. Dipper had an “in-depth discussion of the legal and social situation in Pakistan” with Mr. Hasan.

They discussed “what can be done to ease the lot, not only of minorities, but of other people from the majority community who are in danger from some of these discriminatory laws,” the bishop said.

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