At this time of national crisis and emergency, the Pakistani minorities stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the country, as a solid shield in defence of Pakistan and particularly Kashmir; where the dangers of genocide and ethnic cleansing by Modi regime are very clear.   The caged Kashmiris face the full brutal onslaught of a modern army, and to their eternal credit, they have defied the barricades and the batons to express their cries for freedom.

All over the world the protests have been held against the collective punishments, communication blackout, dehumanization, persecutions and genocide of a whole nation. While the Modi government’s annexation of Kashmir has outraged the international community, it has failed to wake up the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) from its deep slumbers. Instead, one of the key members the UAE is decorating Modi with its highest award. And Saudi Arabia also decided to invest billions of dollars in India.

As if this criminal indifference of the Muslim countries was not enough for Kashmiri Muslims to grudge about, France’s decision to invite Modi to G-7 meeting while neither India is a member nor has any credentials in qualitative sense. The western countries that champion the cause of human rights, have actually encouraged the butcher of Gujarat to carry on with crimes against humanity. G-7 members are least pushed about the persecution of Christians in India. Thousands of incidents of violence against Christian minority are candidly documented in the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Report 2018 on Persecution of Indian Christians minorities. What moral high ground would these G-7 human rights defenders hold against any other violator of human and religious rights?

Modi’s India is much more dangerous not only for the minorities including Muslims, Christians and  Sikhs who have all felt the racist and hegemonic iron hands of the BJP’s goons, obviously in Kashmir, but in majority Christian areas as in Naga land as well. The Prime Minister Imran Khan rightly identified the annexation of Kashmir by Modi in the context of his communalist agenda and fascist streak against the minorities. The message has gone far and wide that the secular, liberal and republican India, admired by many around the world is no more. This fascist India will prove to be fatal not only for the minorities but eventually for the soul of India itself as well.

In this critical year 2019, when the Indian government has taken an aggressive step in Kashmir, ignoring all the UN resolutions, and violated the special status of Kashmir, which was originally proposed by the Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru himself in 1948, it is well to contrast this with the plans and attitude of the Quaid-e-Azam towards the minorities, in 1940’s.

Quaid-e-Azam, reminded again and again that Pakistan had been created for the Muslim minority in India, and as such, it understood the pains and sufferings of minorities, and that it will treat its own minorities with justice, equality and respect, and will not only be accommodating but even generous towards all its own minorities.  Pakistan was the first country in the world to reassure its minorities about their future rights by specifically allocating a portion of the national flag - the white colour which traditionally represents purity and innocence – and which the minorities have kept stainless, over many decades.

Thus, on 3 February 1948, in reply to Karachi’s Parsi community spasnama, he replied, ‘I assure you that Pakistan will keep true to its often repeated promises. Pakistan is the fulfilment of dream of a nation which found itself a minority in the Indian sub-continent. Therefore Pakistan can never forget the minorities living within its borders.’ In the struggle for Pakistan, the minorities especially the Christians played a crucial role and co-operated fully with the Quaid.  The Christian community in India felt closer to the Muslim League than Congress, for a number of reasons, mainly because as a representative of a minority community, the League understood the problems of Christian community much better. But the second important reason was the trust the Christians had in the personality and ability of the Quaid to look after the interests of minorities in Pakistan. 

The Quaid did not forget and at the Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947, under the chairmanship of a Harijan, Joginder Singh Mandal, he declared:-

“You are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed-that has nothing to do with the business of the State”. 

After the independence, the minorities contributed to make the country strong and powerful. For example, the Christians have played a prominent role in the armed forces, education sector, health sector, judiciary among others. The Missionary schools were famous for their high standards of education and nearly all our leaders from Quaid to the present government ministers, started learning their alphabet in those schools.

Recently, the members of the Hindu community have started to join the Pakistan Army; Pakistan has appointed it’s first-ever Hindu officer - Dr Kelash Garvada - a Major in the Ministry of Defence.

Despite the odds , minorities love their country and have continued to serve it in many different ways - the country for which their forefathers rendered ultimate sacrifices during independence movement, contributed to its development in various sectors and always stood by it through thick and thin.

We are happy to note that recently, the Government has taken commendable initiatives such as opening the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh yatrees and the Kartas Raj temple complex for the Hindu Yatrees. Pakistan’s first ever Sikh officer Sardar Pawan Singh Arora has been posted as the Punjab Governor’s PRO.

I would also like to mention the present Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Mohammad NafeesZakaria, who has taken the initiative to keep the Pakistani minorities within the national stream. For example, he facilitated the first time ever a meeting of the British missionaries, who had served in Pakistan over the years, at the High Commission. We have found him to be a true representative of ALL Pakistanis.

It is very clear that the Quaid Azam was committed to developing Pakistan into a democracy with equality of citizens together with guaranteed human rights and civil liberties. Let us go back to the promises of our leader Quaid-e-Azam, and start to live in our great country with the golden principals of equality, fraternity and justice for all, irrespective of our differences.  The need for unity in Pakistan has become even more paramount in view of the recent offensive steps undertaken by the Indian government in Kashmir, unilaterally violating its own agreements with the United Nations, attacking the civilian population and disfranchising a whole nation. At the very time when the Government of India is inflicting horrible pain and suffering on its minorities’ citizens, it also provides a unique opportunity for Pakistan to show a contrasting image to the world – the one of religious tolerance and broad mindedness, as envisaged by our great leader – Quaid-i-Azam.

The Christian minority in Pakistan and abroad feels the grief and pain of their Kashmiri brothers and sisters, and pledge their solidarity with them just as Dewan Bahadr S P Singha, had assured the Quaid, all those years ago; and we hope that our Muslim compatriots will also echo the pledge of the Quaid that if you do so, we will never forget it.

This statement was endorsed by the UK Pakistani Christian leaders including: Dr Peter David, Councillor Morris Johns, Mr Qamar Rafique, Reverend John Bosco, Bishop Yousaf Nadeem Bhinder, Mr Michael Massey and Mr Samson Javed. 

Pakistan Zindabad.