A few months back I was in USA to meet with some family and aunts. During this time I spent a lot of time with my cousins. When we were told there was some traditional Indian Bhangra event us girls decided it would be fun and decided to check it out. We had some fun and it was nice seeing some brown people around other than my family. We even had some drinks and by the time we were out of there we were kind of wobbly on our legs though my aunt had told us not to drink too much…

So as we were walking back to the car quite drunk and fooling around, I faked putting the Dupatta over my head which drew chuckles from my cousins. A white man who had been staring at us all this while with a cigarette in one hand stared at us, shook his head and said “F***** terrorists”. I froze right there and stared at him for one long second. I heard my cousin say come on but I just stared at the man.

Even though I happened to be a little drunk at that time and not to mention I am a devout Christian my brown skin color and messing around with a Dupatta made me a ‘terrorist’. Perhaps it was the alcohol or maybe my own feeling for my homeland set my blood on fire. But at that moment I actually felt something I admit to have never felt so deeply before, being part of a minority in a country where some people are not very tolerant. I really felt sympathy for what Muslims were going through. I also understood what it felt like to be called a terrorist just because you belonged to a particular race. In that one moment I knew exactly what Havi had probably felt when some Indians admitted murder and threatened to kill him, then tried to frame him as a terrorist or what other leaders may have felt when faced with similar situations. I felt angry and very annoyed.

Over whispers of my cousin to let it go and nudging from the other side I walked towards the man. The guy, probably a professional at calling people “terrorists” and being ignored actually looked surprised when I walked towards him and shouted at him to shut up. Then as I was walking back he finally found a tongue and asked “Is that what your religion teaches you?” I replied “I am a Christian” though I could not help the expletives  that came out of my mouth either. My friends half pulled me and I half walked away to the lot where our car was but the event taught me a very important lesson. It taught me to look with another persons eyes. A very valuable lesson.

Perhaps if we Pakistanis were as afraid of something as the west is of “Pakistan” or “Muslims” we would have died of a heart attack a long time ago. That we survived the wave of terrorism and great odds speaks of our resilience. But only God knows how much more we will have to suffer for our dreams of prosperity, peace and equality regardless of caste and creed to come true because all of us perhaps would prefer to stay in Pakistan had that environment of personal freedom existed.

The notes about Havi may be information that we don’t discuss but we all know what happened and it deserves to be known because in all these years no one has supported the cause of minorities and in general tolerance as this guy. Try to appreciate the article than picking things out.

Okay, its clear that someone had to post something here about what is going on now. Havi has resigned as leader of the PNA, Canada. Mansur Elahi has taken his place as temporary Chapter head and will most likely be leading the organization for the coming years.

There have been many rumors these days. Many of the are TRUE. Sultan, as his close friends all know him is leaving the country for good. He is really sick and is not in the condition to speak with anybody. The disease he has is currently unknown but he will be taking further tests to determine what is going on. Crescent Shield will be shut down until further notice as the server location will most probably be shifted.

Everyone knows who has been behind this public effort to make the Nationalist voice heard. If this person is sick or moves out of Canada the effects and stops working for PNA the effects will be:

1) An end of PNA Public Wing and any public effort because we all know how difficult things have been in the past. Nationalists are already ready to believe that others don’t want us to express our views at all or some other unjustified idea.

2) More traditionalist thought will come forward to fill the gap and of course many people will make fun of what actually happened here ‘because of some stupid Liberals’ and see it as proof of the failure of new ideas.

3) No public effort will be launched after such a sudden end to this one.

And ofcourse sooner or later because of lack of staff to maintain it or because of the hawks back at home in Pakistan any public effort will be shut down.

This web presence is now officially closed until further notice. There will be no posting. The site will remain to remind us of a goal some of us believed in and if maybe one day there is a leader or chapter head who takes a stand this site may start posting again.

Additional Note: News is also coming in about 6 newly selected chapter heads for 6 overseas nations and the division of the Pakistan Chapter into 4 provincial bodies for easier management.

By Flora Xavier

As usual every time I head to Lahore from Toronto I make sure I dedicate some if not all my time to social work. This time I decided to volunteer for a new organization that was just setting up camp and use my past experience with humanitarian organizations to help them register and get the process going of at least starting up a charity. They had already bought their first office on Mall Road and started construction work on their first school in a rural area of Punjab.

At this time I fell into a nasty issue of transportation. My mother who migrated to Canada two years ago as well would not let me travel to any place in Pakistan alone in a Riksha or Taxi so I had to contact all my old friends for help. Unfortunately everyone was very busy with work or studies or if like me with social work.

In a few days I was losing hope and was going to rent a car when a chance meeting with a friend’s friend solved the problem. We visited a restaurant and she invited a small group of her own friends with her too, some I knew, some I didn’t. At dinner I asked about rental car companies in Lahore. Another friend asked me why I needed to rent a car and as I talked about my issue one of the guys on the table offered to pick me up from my Gulberg house and drop me at Mall road. I was reluctant at first but he seemed like a nice guy and my best friend on the table was encouraging of the idea so I agreed.

There! The transport problem was solved by a gentleman who agreed to pick me up from Gulberg and drop me at Mall road and then drop me back for a few days. Problem was I made the mistake of thinking it was an act of kindness.

The first two days went okay. We talked a little and he would drop me as promised. He asked me quite a few questions and we learned a little more about each other since we met at the restaurant. Quite normal but on the third day he started opening up and flirting. At one point he asked me if I had a boyfriend. That’s weird but I just told him to concentrate on the road. It was like treating him like a driver but what else could I do?

But I should have guessed what was going on in the guy’s head when he offered to take up the noble task of transporting me. There’s a girl in the car. Man oh man! What a perfect opportunity. I mean she’s from Canada right? Perfect. She’ll be an easy catch.

That’s the mindset anyway. On the seventh day when he was dropping me home he began to show off.

“Do you like racing?” he asked.

“Not a real fan of it. Why? Am I missing the Formula 1? I heard it was going on.” I asked innocently.

“No, no I mean like real racing. We guys always have them on the New airport road.”

I sighed. How stupid of me.

He looked at me “I can do a 360 degrees spin right here. I can even teach you. And you know you won’t have the same chance in Canada.”

I sighed at his grinning face “No, you were going to drop me. That was the plan. Remember? No distractions please. I came here to meet family and do some social work.”

That over thankfully a few minutes later he told me there was a brilliant place for Chaat.

I insisted on the NO but for a person who hasn’t tasted Chaat in Lahore for 1 year and 4 months the idea was appealing.

He finally managed to convince me by saying he would also call my best friend (my restaurant best friend was his friend too) My friend lived across the corner from Shadman road, the place we were at the time and I felt a little relieved that she would be there too so I agreed.

All this time he kept increasing the speed and taking hard turns just to show off his skill. That continued till he crashed into a bush when avoiding a car taking blind turn.

He went out to inspect the car. He was in the mind of just leaving but a police man had been standing right across the corner and he came over.

They argued for approximately 15 minutes while I clutched my head in frustration. The cop’s first observation was that two unmarried adults were in a car together and he started yelling while my gentleman friend argued back in colourful language. At one point the cop said he would have to take us both to jail. A more sweet talking man who happened to be a bystander somehow got involved and tried to cool both the cop and the gentleman. A small group of about ten people had gathered while the cop shouted Haraam over and over again. The bystander was the only one who calmed things down rather than take them a level further.

Finally when the cop was going to write a report Mr gentleman took out his wallet took him a little to my side of the car to avoid the small group of bystanders and said “I am a powerful person and if you write a report you will get into trouble. Keep 2000 Rupees and forget this ever happened. Here.” At that moment the cop forgot his good Muslim talk, his job and justice for his 2000 Rupees. I on the other hand had had enough and got out of the car to get a Rikhsha and went home as people stared.

I came home and cried for a few minutes which I had been doing in the car too. Then I just lay on my bed and thought how we are going down as a society because of our attitude. We have accepted corruption as a daily part of our lives.  We have time for everything else but helping out own people. We use every opportunity to flirt, cheat and deceive. We live our lives in disregard for the 120 Million people of Pakistan who are living in poverty while we live our lives in richness. I just thought when if ever will thing’s change for the better and how they can change if Pakistanis themselves are not willing to change them. After all the middle and upper classes are the ones that can help the poorer ones are they not?

Can small groups of Nationalists change the way things are being run across our country or are we too weak to bring any real change to the country and if so why?

I just lay there and dreamed of a corruption free society, a secular Pakistan where tolerance was promoted as a quality, a Pakistan that was prosperous and united where rules and regulations were implemented and followed.

I wonder when this dream will be fulfilled.

By Flora Xavier

A visit to the Charsadda Camp

PNA’s recent Disaster Relief operation carried out by our newly created humanitarian front the Pakistan Nationalist Association Relief Group has turned out to be a huge disaster in the history of all our Relief Operations. My visit to our Charsadda camp only found desperate people trying to get all the help they could while our volunteers tried to record each and every single transaction to make sure none of the funds and supplies delivered went unaccounted. The fear was corruption and in this fear we forgot our task was to deliver aid.

None of the members seemed to know what they were doing. Our leaders made it clear that the objective instead of helping people was to discourage corruption. The focus was so heavy on recording every single transaction that aid was barely being delivered and the camp remained closed half the time. I understand that we are worried about fraud and mismanagement and want none of our limited resources to be misused but to do this do we have to cross every limit? The purpose of relief operations is to save lives and provide immediate assistance to those people who need it. Instead what I saw in Charsadda shocked me. The members and volunteers, all with no past experience of humanitarian work and with little idea of what to do next were struggling with books and trying to make sure everything was recorded instead of completing the basic task. Helping the people.

The situation was made worse by Zerab Salamat’s threats. Zerab Salamat the leader of the Pakistan Nationalist Association purposely came to the Charsadda camp and delivered many of the supplies and money personally. A simple lecture on responsibility and about how to organize the aid effort would have been enough. After all he had this kind of experience himself as an aid organizer and could have improved the organizations own effort.

Rather than doing that he threatened the workers with very colourful consequences if the records had anything missing and if any of the goods went unaccounted. Unfortunately soon after delivering this threat he left without trying to manage the aid effort. He left a new rule. Even when a single bag of food, blankets, medicine and other basic goods was delivered the recording of what had just taken place had to be seen by four people. Therefore our camps already consisting of few people all who knew nothing of how to organize such an effort, needed four people working on books and records continuously rather than concentrate on the aid effort and coordination over what supplies had been delivered already and what we had left.

Obviously the result was simple. The more experienced volunteers left to work for other more experienced and well known organizations such as the Unicef, Red Cross, TCF and Edhi foundation as the hard headed and inexperienced ones tried to record everything. By the 10th of September all three of our camps had been closed and no aid is being delivered anymore. Most of the funds that went to the Relief Group and the supplies that were bought with those funds have now been passed on to other well known organizations for their own aid efforts. There has even been some wastage of foodstuff that got soaked in floodwater in the journey and we have delivered less aid than we planned under the Relief Group. At the Charsadda camp when members realised that they were no good with this kind of effort and it was going nowhere they finally handed over all the money and the supplies to members of the Al Ansar foundation to deliver instead of the PNA Relief Group.

There is a lesson to be learned here. In the future until we have a proper Relief organization that is capable of handling relief operations with members who have some kind of experience in delivering aid members of the Nationalist Organizations and especially the Pakistan Nationalist Association are advised to donate only through well known charities and aid organizations. It’s necessary to make sure that the funds collected are not used in any other way than for the aid effort but it is also necessary to give the funds to organizations that are capable of managing disaster relief efforts.

By Flora Xavier & Havi Zayed

Since the much hyped up recent attack on Salman Chaudhry’s wife the Nationalist community in Canada has been extremely angry and frustrated. Nationalist youth have been presenting all sorts of ideas that range from calling the police and trying to find the elements involved to extremely wild suggestions for the security of Pakistanis in Canada including one that Pakistanis must have firearms to defend themselves in Canada.  Of course that’s ignoring the fact that to even carry a weapon on person a special permit is needed and unlike the trigger happy Pakistanis, Canadians has complex laws when it comes to firearms.

In any case despite the tense atmosphere and resulting fury from the recent events Nationalists in Canada have something to celebrate. One of the largest events in the history of Pakistani Nationalists is being hosted and the turn up is expected to be large.

Even though the event will be hosted in Toronto Nationalists from all across the country are expected to turn up including a large group that is coming from Vancouver in order to take part in the event.

The sadistic attack may have definitely caused a rescheduling of the event which was planned for the coming week but it has also made the event much more important with an increased promotion effort going into it. Full media coverage for the event will be provided by AzadiUnit run by Ahmed Khan and an array of videos and pictures will be made available to members of any Nationalist or Military Organization. However mostly invites have been sent only to members of the Pakistan Nationalist Association.

The event will include a series of entertainment shows including singing and cultural dances while featuring speeches by a retired general and some sponsors of Nationalist Movements. Dinner will be served as well and will include a plethora of Pakistani dishes. Other than this a small documentary has been created by Pakistan Nationalist Association to showcase the achievements of the Pakistani Nationalists in Canada over the past 5 years which have seen a very heavy increase in our activities.

The entry is strictly for people who have been invited. These include Sponsors, Nationalists, and Guests while the Canadian Police will be contacted to manage security for the event.

Not the Last Event!

It seems that the planning going into this event and the scale of it is serving as an inspiration for all other Chapters of the Pakistan Nationalist Association. Saudi Arabia that has recently elected a very liberal leader for the Nationalists is soon to follow. However the largest surprise is coming from Pakistan itself. Rumours are rife that despite the traditionalist stand towards Nationalism having a strong hold in the country a similar event will be hosted in Pakistan.

Our correspondent Afzal Khan from Karachi finally clears the rumours with a statement “there will be an even larger event known as ‘Remembrance Day’ that will make the Canada and Saudi Events seem like a joke and it will be hosted on our countries birthday 14th August where a Nationalist Guard and 4 bands will be performing. The audience is expected to be youth as it will be aimed at the Youth Wing and this event will be held in Karachi.”

Invitations cards are to be prepared by Revolutionary Studios-Pakistan and will be sent to all members of not just the Pakistan Nationalist Association but also all other Nationalist Movements whether the members are currently based locally in Pakistan or Overseas. This means that Nationalists from every chapter of every Nationalist Organization are invited and makes the Canada Chapters event where 160 people are expected to arrive, an insignificant number.

Clearly for now Nationalists in Canada can be glad that they are getting some entertainment that for the first time isn’t exclusively private and other Chapters won’t have the chance to enjoy it but it seems that this time no Nationalist will want to be outside the country on 14th August for Remembrance Day because this will be the Mother of all Events.

*This article appeared in the Nationalist Monthly in the May 2010 edition published recently due to a delay. For the online version sections have been deleted due to the charged atmosphere including a paragraph about the time, date and venue due to the risk of dangerous elements who have been threatening our members. Please contact us for further information about the events.

By Flora Xavier

A Nationalist Leaders wife was attacked yesterday at Gerard Street by a group of two South Asians and a White. According to Salman Chaudhry’s wife her purse was stolen and she was pushed by one of the youth. Two of the attackers were brown and spoke in a mix of English and Hindi using English to address her and their white friend and talking in Hindi to each other. This would be a very simple issue of robbery if one of them had not called her a ‘Paki slut’ before leaving.

“I don’t know what they wanted from me. I told Salman to stop with this work. I can understand he loves Pakistan but its costing us our life now. He can’t hear anything bad about Pakistan. Now just because of him our family is being affected.” she says. It is still unclear whether racism led the thieves or it was a simple robbery.

Although news about exactly what happened is still very limited with husband and wife not wanting to talk about the event a very large group of Nationalists from different organizations gathered at different locations and were very emotional. Angered youth continued to pour into Thorncliffe’s Nationalist locations all day long discussing what should be done. A small angered group went to Gerard to find the three attackers. Luckily they did not because it would do more harm than good when reporting to police.

There are rumors that Salman who limited his role with Nationalism after the marriage will now even limit it further to a role of only generating funds for education and health in Pakistan. This time its due to fear of increasing rascism and intolerance.

New Precautions needed after this

We are requesting our members to be careful from now on and not to show off Pakistani Nationalism. A sense of identity may make our members proud but we advise them to keep this pride to themselves. Its better to stay safe than be proud. Members are requested to share as little information about the Nationalist Organizations as possible even if it is just your trustworthy friends you are talking to. News spreads. Keep a low profile.

Some members have moved from and have family links to places that are now owned by India. Whether they see this as an invasion of their land or an illegal occupation it is now officially their land. It best to talk about the issue where debate is possible not where there is risk. This goes especially for our members with a Kashmiri or Hyderabadi origin. Please forget those links and do not talk about them in public because they bring unnecessary attention.

We request all members to remember that this is not the first such event that deserves to be reported to the police. Havi Zayed has also received Death Threats while he has been in Canada after which the Nationalist Alliance released article 25 (Article 34 in the new rules and regulations pages) limiting members to share little information about their work except with the necessary dealings with law enforcement, banks and local government as is custom.

Newer rules have been introduced and there will be a briefing soon discussing them and their implications on our ordinary lives.

Written By Havi Zayed

Editing and Sources by Flora Xavier

“You are free; 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 or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

Quaid E Azam, (Hazrat) Mohammed Ali Jinnah

The most respected and righteous Leader of Pakistan the Great Quaid E Azam was always in the favour of providing minorities equal rights as the citizens of the Pakistani State. How much or how little the Quaid E Azams vision is being implemented remains a subject that is ferociously being debated today. Nonetheless one thing is clear. Christians in Pakistan today are fighting for acceptance and recognition as a patriotic community amongst Pakistan’s highly emotional Muslim majority.

The Christian community in Pakistan which numbers anywhere from 2.8 Million according to the government and 15 Million according to some Pakistani Christian Organizations have constantly been fighting a bitter war for acceptance and recognition as a patriotic community that has rendered supreme sacrifice for the country. The great accomplishments of National Christian heroes such as Justice Alvin Robert Cornelius, Air Vice Marshal Eric Hall, Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry, Wing Commander Mervyn Middlecoat shine as an example of the commitment of not just Christians but in general minorities towards Pakistan.

Unfortunately these sacrifices and many others made by the Pakistani Christians have often been glossed over or even ignored. Since this is the case in Pakistan it may be the case in the Pakistani Nationalist Organizations as well. This is the reason some Christians have been vouching for a separate Christian Nationalist Wing within the PNA.

The Nationalist stand on Minority Rights

Due to the regrettable attitude of some members who overdo patriotism to the limit of ignorance some people may see the Nationalists as denialists of reality who are trying to refuse any responsibility for mistakes of the past made by Pakistanis and are unwilling to admit any wrong occurs in Pakistan. This is absolutely untrue.

Quoting from the Rules and Regulations, Nationalist Ideology section of the Pakistan Nationalist Association, Article 36B clearly states that it is our duty to find and point out our internal flaws and weaknesses and put in every ounce of strength to solve the problems within. This includes the poor state of minorities in the country which are faced with increased intolerance in the tough times Pakistan faces today.

The above stated article stands true however the one place the Nationalists take an extremely tough stand is when it comes to foreign relations as stated in all of Article 54 and Article 55A and B. This is where the criticism of US foreign policy and our traditional arch rivals comes from. As far as the traditional Pakistani point of view is concerned it is not baseless criticism.

So to put things in perspective the Nationalist philosophy focuses on pointing out and solving the problems within the country with none or minimal foreign interference especially that which sacrifices our interests while at the same time showing Unity and standing up to foreign hypocrisy and aggression against our motherland. This is the backbone of the Nationalist ideology.

This clears up the Nationalist Stand on Minority Rights. The inhumane Hudood Ordinance and the vaguely phrased Blasphemy Laws which are against the instructions of the Quaid E Azam himself are two laws that Leaders backed by our members have continually been waging war against. The Pakistan Nationalist Association’s goal along with many of its other goals is to work for the absolute elimination of Sections 153A, 295A, 295B, 295C, 298A, 298B and 298C from Pakistan’s Criminal code which are biased towards Pakistan’s minorities.

As such the Pakistan Nationalist Association proposes no religious affiliations and presents itself as Secular. This is the reason why members belonging to minorities make up over 800 of PNA’s members.

A Christian Wing: A tall order

Today some secularists and Christians are demanding a separate Christian Wing within the Pakistan Nationalist Association. This demand has widely been seen as hypocrisy by the more religious Muslim members the reason being that Islamic thought process has sometimes been suppressed when it comes to decision making in the various Nationalist Organizations, especially from the Left Wing.

According to the terms and conditions of Pakistan Nationalist Association itself religion is to have as minimal a role in our decision making process as is humanely possible. This has caused the PNA to avoid working on items that have too much to do with Islam and in general religion.  This was made clear when a distant Pakistani came to a rich Nationalist Community Leader in Britain asking for a charity to be organized by the Pakistani community for a mosque to be built for the Pakistani community in Bradford. The leader denied taking any part in this and spent his money instead on educating poor children in Pakistan.

Almost all would agree that this policy should work both ways. This is why a separate Christian Wing when none is allowed for Muslims is likely to raise a great number of eyebrows and is very likely to hurt the pride of not only the more religious Muslims but also the Seculars that are a part of the Nationalist Organizations. This is what makes a separate wing in the name of religion a controversial task and according to many an impossible task.

A solution that appeases all

We know very well that minorities still do not have many of the equal rights the Quaid E Azam had envisioned for them. Admitting that we still need to march towards a Pakistan where each and every individual is treated equally without religion, creed or ethnicity playing a factor it may be sensible to set up a Minorities Wing to balance the situation and give a voice to minorities within the Pakistan Nationalist Association, showcase and highlight the sacrifices including the great achievements of Christians and members of other minority communities for the country.

Although some Christians are proposing it it’s understood that a special Christian Wing even within the Pakistan Nationalist Association may be seen as a huge flouting of rules and may create an uproar even in the Secular environment that Nationalists are used to. However since the policy papers themselves clearly state that it is a duty of Nationalists to solve the problems within the country and these same papers clearly admit that minorities do have issues within the country with increasing intolerance and vague, biased laws it is necessary to take steps to balance the situation.

A solution that appeases both the traditionalists who want no religious affiliations and the Minorities of Pakistan can definitely be a special Minority Wing within the Pakistan Nationalist Association. This should be completely controlled and dominated my minorities themselves since the community involved is best at dealing with their issues however anyone who wants to help can volunteer.

Since the organization will be a Sub organization within the PNA the Nationalist principles will naturally not be sacrificed. Therefore this is the best way to give minorities a voice and empowering them a little more in order to change the constitution of Pakistan to what it was in 1948 under the visionary Quaid E Azam.

This week I had the honor of meeting PNA-Canada’s most well known faces Flora Xavier. Flora is famous for her social work and has raised her voice for Human Rights and Minority Rights in Pakistan. She is also the spokesperson for Pakistan Nationalists-Christian Wing and is gaining recognition for her social work. She is also pursuing a career in journalism and her column in the Nationalist Weekly attracts a large number of followers.

The interview highlights the issues faced by the Christian community in Pakistan, looks at current happenings in Pakistan and talks about Pakistans policy issues including the pathetic display by the government to India’s antics. It also raises the issue of Jamaat Ud Dawas innocence and how the ban has affected 80000 individuals who JuD used to feed shelter or aid in some way. Ways to bridge the increasing gap of differences between the Muslim World and the West are also discussed.

Nice to be talking to you…

Thanks…

Minority Affairs And Christian Rights

For a start how is it like to be a Pakistani Christian exactly and what message would you like to give Pakistan’s 97% Muslim Majority?

I have been asked the same so many times. We love our country very much and you can take it as my word that I can put my life on the line for Pakistan because no matter what we always have a bond to Pakistan and it has nothing to do with religion. But we also want to solve the problems that our Christian Community faces. To solve these issues is the responsibility of not only Christians but all Pakistanis and avoiding or denying them will only hurt Pakistan. Sadly some people do exactly that. The 11th August Quaid E Azam Speech is my favorite of all time. Let me quote some parts I memorized by heart.

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

So didn’t Jinnah want a secular Pakistan where we were treated as equal? Why cant we have that Pakistan?

How tolerant towards Christians are the Pakistani Muslims and the Pakistani Government?

That’s quite blunt way to ask. The government almost ignores we are even there but the government is made up of the worst of worst, thieves, murderers people concerned about stealing the nations money, the sort so it is stupid to think anything from them at all.

The majority of Muslims respect us. But an issue is we are caught in between the West and the Terrorists just like Muslims are in the west. For example when a Danish Cartoon insulted Muslims we stood right beside our Muslim brothers and sisters and protested with them joining the long marches and protests. But we were the ones attacked by fanatics in its aftermath. Terrorists started breaking into Christian houses and attacking us. The Pakistani Christians are in a situation that they haven’t faced before. On one side is the west and some idiot individuals that add fuel to fire and on another are the fanatics. We don’t know which ones are worse. The instigators of an illiterate brainless population or the population itself that is not willing to progress and abandon barbarism.

How does it feel to be representing the Christians of Pakistan and to be more specific the Christian wing of the Pakistan Nationalists? Its must have its advantages?

Well I don’t think I represent all Pakistani Christians but a certain group of Christians. Pakistani Nationalists are very different from other Pakistanis and this disparity exists in Christians as well.

I like to represent my Christian Community but some action would be pleasing. We talk and raise the issues that exist and there is much acceptance and respect for us and our thoughts amongst the community especially in PNA with Muslims even coming to defend us when we are insulted but nothing really happens in terms of action. Our Nationalist leaders simply don’t have either the power or the will and energy to change things and do away with discriminatory laws.

As far as being a part of the Pakistan Nationalists is concerned it is an honor. Pakistani Nationalism is the only hope for Pakistan.

You raised the issue of discriminatory laws. You have been fighting against discriminatory laws for a long time without effect I might add. Do you think its really possible to erase or edit if you will the Hudood ordinance and Blasphemy laws?

It is possible if people understand their affects, the grief and problems they have caused and stop supporting them. Awareness and education is important for Pakistanis. Some Muslim Leaders think that they are laws that are protecting Islam. Both laws are not only discriminatory but are being used to commit injustices. It is not the intentions behind a law that matters but its results and the results are very sad. I take a tough stand on Blasphemy specially and think of no amendment but the only thing we should do is do away with these laws completely. Truly everyone knows that Christians don’t believe in the last Islamic Prophet so let them believe what they believe and you believe what you believe. Christians should not slander him but honestly it is quite well known that we have different beliefs. Rather just accepting them might be better.

Hudood has more or less been updated to be better as police and courts will now try and investigate cases but an issue is that simply people don’t rape women with 4 witnesses sadly. No one rapes someone in front of 4 witnesses. I think there are still things that need to be amended here and many Christian women have been gang raped only because of this “rape tool” law. Many are even converted or married by some terrorists and blasphemy comes in again. If a person is converted to Islam even at gunpoint he cant say he is a Christian because 295C does not allow.

Now in a civilized society which unfortunately Pakistan isn’t I might say it would have been a fine enough just with a little amendment to the law where it says one witnesses claim is enough for blasphemy. 295B, 295/C are both so vague that you cant even understand them. 295C doesn’t give any details. Just anyone who insults the prophet should be hanged or sent to jail. How you will judge if someone really insulted the Prophet there is nothing about that.

We have to stop living in dreams and look at the reality. Too many innocent people have been wrongly accused for either burning the Quran or for insulting the Prophet by this law. Not all of them are even Minorities. Many of them are Muslims. The thing that needs to be understood is the laws aren’t meeting their purpose and are being used to wrongly accuse people and settle personal disputes. Innocent people are being framed when they never insulted the Prophet or burned the Quran and there are thousands of cases of this. Humanitarian groups manage to secure the release of many but others just languish for a crime they did’nt even commit. Over 1200 people have been framed by such trouble makers and terrorists since 1988 and many of these 1200 have been killed. Even Muslims. A Muslim scholar was burned alive by a group of terrorists for burning the Quran though his real crime was a Fatwah against suicide bombing.

The laws would be good if the people were not using it for their own personal feuds or advantages or if the law did not become a tool for terrorists to kill innocents and then say it was because they are heretics. We need to do away with blasphemy completely and people need to understand it. If we cannot do away with it and it hurts the pride of some Mullahs then at least amend it in such a way so that terrorists cant use it to kill or frame people.

What can be done to improve the lot of not only Christians but all Minorities in Pakistan?

To improve our lot we have to do away with the senseless changes that started being brought forward in 52 and 72 and discriminatory laws during Zia Ul Haq’s time. There is so much that can be done. The best thing however would be for our muslim brothers and sisters just to become a little more tolerant and be more accepting of us in Pakistani society and remember what the Quaid E Azam wanted. Quaid E Azams speeches on minorities should be part of the constitution. Sadly they are not and if they were the laws we mentioned earlier would’nt be imposed on us. Quaid E Azams words thoughts and beliefs are what should be that leads the decisions our country makes.

Christians of Pakistan have always been involved in social work in Pakistan. Any special reason?

Well our own rights are at stake so that is definitely one of the main reasons. And another is welfare work is specially commended in the Bible and Jesus himself asked us to help those in need. It’s the same for the Quran I would guess. We just like social work that’s all.

The Mumbai Attacks

What do you think of the Mumbai Attacks and Indias war rhetoric? We Pakistanis seem to have a completely different explanation of events by the looks of it? Barely anyone in Pakistan believes the attacks were by Lashker E Toiba and there have been sporadic protests against the ban of Jamaat Ud Dawa which has over 80000 people who are dependent on it.

Yes there are several Pakistanis saying the Mumbai attacks is a problem of local Indian militants that have nothing to do with Pakistan and I think the it should be investigated. The Samjhauta Express attacks were proved false. I think we should be careful here and most important explain the issue to the other countries here because India has launched a heavy Diplomatic drive with their media involved in extensive propaganda campaign. I doubt Jamaat Ud Dawa is a front for Lashkar E Toiba at all and has anything to do with them. If we don’t present our side it will be a failure to Pakistans diplomacy.

India and Pakistan are suffering the same problem. Our enemies are the same terrorists. The Indians should stop raising war frenzy and should concentrate on defeating terrorism. The terrorists cause more issues for Pakistan than India anyway. We have more losses in terrorism. Indians need to grow up and stop with the blame. They have been proven wrong in the past and I would assume they are being proven false again. It is Indian policy to blame Pakistan.

I remember a Hindu leader we knew was misled by their stupid comments of how Krishna temple in Lahore was being razed and went to the courts to stop it. It turned out it was hearsay and Krishna Mandir was intact and the Indians received a lashing from him. He sent a quite strong message.

The Ban on Jamaat Ud Dawa Under Foreign Pressure

Flora you have done social work for the Peshawar diocese and worked to aid the victims of the terrible Kashmir earthquake that killed over 73000 people. Jamaat Ud Dawa was present there right?

That’s correct. They were the first to react and come to aid of the Kashmiri people. The people there had only words of praise for them. If you say anything against them they get angry. Same would be for Ziarat as well I guess.

Did you notice or feel threatened by the Jamaat Ud Dawa workers or did you feel that they were involved in any terrorist activities?

I don’t think Jamaat Ud Dawa is a terrorist organization. I went to Kashmir in 2005 for the Earthquake relief efforts. The workers of JuD left us largely alone. There was a large group of Christians doing relief work for Peshawar Diocese and bringing relief to the victims. JuD hurt no one including the other foreign workers who were Americans and Turks. We coordinated our activities in fact and sort of ordered the Jamaat Ud Dawa workers about all the time. They did most of the hard work. I sort of acted as a sort of supervisor to the JuD guys and I looked after the injured women and children and gave them blankets and kept them warm and took classes as well in a little camp.

If they are not a terrorist organization then why the ban? Was it a very sensible thing to do this just under pressure from our “Well-wishing” Indian friends?

I think the issue is that the American team and other foreign workers perhaps did feel threatened by them. They were just put off with the big beards and the fiery sermons and enhanced basis of Islam they had in their schools which they had never seen before. An American aid worker did ask me what I thought of the JUD Mosques Imam who was exceedingly suspicious about the Americans and was making flamatory sermons and telling everyone how he disliked their presence. I replied we think the same of all Imams if they just keep to themselves. We’re more or less used to Imams and Mullahs making these kinds of sermons because we live in Pakistan and have heard enough of it and know we will hear it all our lives until we are in Pakistan. Usually from the sermons we hear the Imams always have something to say about American and Israeli policy which I think most Muslims agree on that and its their independent view which in no way means they want to bomb either of the two nations. Right?

But thing is for the Americans it was a new experience so they thought what the hell is going on. They got a translator and began a documentary when they heard the Imam mention Israel and America a few times. However the Imam never expressed his desire to kill anyone or supported suicide bombing. It doesn’t mean they mean harm or are terrorists right? I watched the documentary and it looked exaggerated because I had worked there and the documentary did not prove them terrorists at all. Just pious Muslims I guess. But the documentary tried to focus on how they could be terrorists or were training children to be terrorist in their schools which was vague.

They have been banned by the UNSC and this time we did not even approach China to Veto the decision. It is almost famous in all Pakistani circles that they were only a charity organization. Do you think this is true? And 80000 people have been hurt by this ban and the work in Ziarat will leave over 600 houses for earthquake victims uncompleted.

80000 did you say?

By stealing the bread of 80000 people US will only raise Anti-Americanism that will in turn hurt the Pakistani Christians because the illiterate and lower income groups seem to have no concept of the fact that we are not Americans and see us as exactly that.

The ban will only hurt innocent people and it is unlikely Jamaat Ud Dawa would be hurt at all. They had several schools and hospitals and were giving a heavy amount of aid to the people. If they were innocent the government had to protect them but again they failed to protect their citizens. We should have presented our case to China and asked them to Veto the decision because they understand the facts rather than America that acts without thinking. It’s a diplomatic failure on our side because we had to tell the world they are innocent and not terrorists. These diplomatic failures and failures to represent ourselves I would say are the worst for Pakistan and its Christian community. The gap between Muslims and the west is increasing and the Christian community of Pakistan is hurt most by it.

The Pakistani Christian Perspective: The Gap Between Muslims and the West

You mentioned a gap between Muslims and West. Do you think the Pakistani Christians could bridge this gap and bring our people closer?

Given the opportunity we can definitely try. We can certainly help improve the image of Pakistan.

Do you think Pakistani Christians are going to be more likely to succeed in bridging it rather than Muslims?

I think so. We are in a better position to present both sides because we see how Muslims react to certain issues and problems and then we are Christians so we think we know what the Americans are thinking and therefore find common ground and start from there.

But there is a dangerous level of difference in opinion between the West and Muslims.

What do you mean dangerous?

Well lets look at Palestine. Most Muslims if not all see Hamas and Hezbollah as defenders of Palestinians and organizations that are just responding to land that belongs to Muslims being taken over. EU and USA has it banned for terrorism for raining rockets down on Israeli areas what Muslims see as fighting back.

Now if there is such a vast difference where for one side Hamas are heroes and for the other they are terrorists then obviously it reveals a dangerous conflict of opinion.

And what do you think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? You described the situation beautifully but where are you in all this?

Oh me. Well I am not very impressed with the idea of Hamas throwing rockets on my roof just because lets say I am an Israeli who happens to be born there but I am not very happy with Israel bombing civilians women and children either and responding to a rocket that kills a single Israeli civilian with a bomb that kills 40 civilians. Palestine is an occupied territory where the Palestinians are not happy with Israeli rule like Kashmir. This should also be understood but Hamas should not attack innocent civilians either and accept that it has a right to exist. Hamas I would say is a much lesser evil than what Israel is doing.

So you claim to be somewhere in the middle. So can’t the Pakistani Christians find an equal footing in all this and as a result seal the damn gap and make the two sides more understanding I guess?

If you say so. The Mullahs in Pakistan will not be impressed if we try to bridge the gap. They will simply see us as siding with the Americans and Israelis.

But we can make things better. Muslims Jews and Christians are actually much closer than what many of those so called crusaders and warmongers really think.

Our views don’t coincide with any group so we are again in the same position locked in the middle where both sides think we are their enemies.  Some of our views coincide with the west which wont be admired by certain Islamic sectors of our society.

We may be able to find a common ground to work on though and that may change things.

Pakistans International Image and the Plight of Christians in Pakistan

How do foreigners or since we’re in Canada how do Canadians see Christians in Pakistan?

Most of the time no one cares. Still there have been some forgettable occasions. Some of my Canadian friends had a bit of a drink and started telling me what a hell hole for Christianity Pakistan is. An Indian even had been bold enough to insult Pakistan in front of me thinking I would be very pleased. I gave a verbal thrashing nice enough but this is how people see us sadly. Media plays a major role in it too. That is why Pakistani media should counter propaganda. Things are bad I admit but not so bad and frankly we will improve our lot.

Do you think they see things in the right way? Is it really as bad for the Christians as they think?

I don’t think it is exactly right. I know we have problems but the way they talk it is as if Pakistan is uninhabitable for any Non Muslim and aren’t there 15 Million Minorities living in Pakistan? I think the media has played a major role in creating this situation. If Pakistan was so uninhabitable no Christian would think of still living there. Even here in Canada I have been appalled by the media. Their purpose seems to be more of an Anti Pakistani Campaign than showing the reality. I go every 6 months back and forth and will stay there when I am done with school here in Canada. If it was all civil war like the media says why would that be? I admit things are difficult but not totally horrible.

It’s not only their perception of Christians in Pakistan that’s a little overboard but real issue is it’s actually the entire image of Pakistan itself that’s in danger because of a few fanatical Mullahs.

The Rise Of Pakistani Nationalism

Well before I let you loose as you know this is going to be one of the first interviews that will be made public. Could you tell our viewers and readers about the concept of Pakistani Nationalism and introduce it in terms of how exactly you see it?

I see Pakistani Nationalism as the only hope for Pakistan and all its people. You do not have to be associated with our underground groupings that once seemed impossible to join to be a Pakistani Nationalist.

To the World I will say if you are patriotic and put Pakistan before it you are automatically a Nationalist. If you believe and understand your responsibility to serve Pakistan and its people and make it the most prosperous and united nation in the world where all are treated equally and are not just opening your mouth to say it but are working to prove it then you are in every way a Pakistani Nationalist. If you reject corruption crime and terrorism and pledge to do nothing that will harm Pakistan and check every action to see how it benefits Pakistan then you are a Pakistani Nationalist. You do not need a license and be associated with PFF PNA PRS RSQ or PP. If your heart believes in these ideals then you are a Nationalist and one day Nationalists will rule Pakistan.

I have come to learn that there is much more than our lives that is to value. Without Pakistan and its people who gave us this identity it is as if our lives are automatically destroyed. Pakistan hai to hum hai. Remember that. We might seem like a bunch of rambling fanatics but inside we are just like you. We just want to see change and to see our Pakistan develop. Our loyalty is to the people of Pakistan

Join us and make Pakistan the greatest Nation!

Let this be a message to the World that we Pakistanis are ready to make our mark on history. Thank you Flora and I must tell you that you are a brilliant speaker. This interview will inspire many. Sorry for taking so much time. Wish you the best and I hope the lot of Pakistan’s Minorities improves and our efforts prove successful.

The patriotic speeches and articles must be rubbing off on me too then. Thank you.