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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pakistani Christian leader addresses challenges that Christians in his country are facing
He blames the lack of political leadership

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Mr. Riaz Anjum, Chairman of the Pakistan Christian Movement and an advocate who is practicing as a private lawyer in Pakistan, has told a conference in Rawalpindi, about the many challenges facing Christians in his country.

Riaz Anjum

Speaking at a special event that took place on Thursday, January 26, 2012, and attended by Christian political parties, clergy and human rights activists, Anjum said, “There is no doubt that poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and lack of quality education, are challenges for Pakistani Christians, but our politicians have failed to address these issues.”

He went on to say, “We have gathered here to discuss challenges faced by Pakistani Christians and solution to secure religious freedom. I think it is very much necessary to discuss the reasons of these problems due to which Christians are facing these challenges.”

Riaz Anjum told the participants at the well-attended event organized by overseas Christian Pakistanis and held in a local hotel, that a "nation, country or community" makes progress, but credit goes to politicians and when a nation, country or community fails to achieve the destination or to make progress "discredit" also goes to politicians.

“I am of the opinion that we are facing these challenges due to our failure in politics. Our politicians have completely failed to lead Christians towards their destination: helping them to attain economic prosperity and getting quality and higher education," said Mr. Anjum.

“This is the reasons we are far behind than other communities in Pakistan in social, educational and economic fields.”

He stated that the “failure of Christian politicians” started before the existence of Pakistan.

Logo for Pakistan's Independence Day

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan gained its independence from Great Britain on August 14, 1947, when it was partitioned from India. The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj. It resulted in a struggle between the new states of India and Pakistan and displaced up to 12.5 million people in the former British Indian Empire, with estimates of loss of life varying from several hundred thousand to a million. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of mutual hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationship even to this day.

“There were many communities in the subcontinent, such as Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians,” Anjum went on to say. “During the partition, Hindus got India and Muslims succeeded in getting Pakistan and, to satisfy Sikh community, Punjab was divided and east Punjab was given to the mainly Sikh community because they refused to live under the domination of Muslims.

“I do not say that Christians should have struggled for separate state or province; I just say that Christian politicians of that era should have struggled for some districts to live together. If Christian politicians had struggled and taken some districts, the social, economic and political situation of Christians would have been completely different today.

“It is political failure of Christian politicians of that era that they could not visualize the future of Christians,” he added.

The lawyer said that after partition and the creation of their new country, Pakistan Christian politicians "could not set the destination" for their nation.

Grief-stricken Pakistani Christian women after another violent act in their community

“They did not have vision for social, political and economic progress of Christians," he said. "The Christian politicians, who came during the period of 1947 to 1990, did not have any vision or agenda except for development work of the streets and sewerage.”

He also stated that these politicians had been pursuing what he called a “one-point agenda” which is to repeal the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Anjum said that with such a "short-sighted" agenda, “how can such a nation make progress?”

He added, “It is the misfortune of Pakistani Christians that they have been facing a crises of leadership since the existence of Pakistan. A strong, major, organized and visionary political party is the solution of all these problems. Such a party should not be an ordinary party, but must work like a state.

“There should be some institutions or departments under the flag of a [Christian] party. There should be department of international affairs for lobbying for the interests of Christians and for gaining the sympathy of the international community.”

He also said, “There should be department of economic development for the economic prosperity of Christians and also a department of higher education for the educational development of our people.

“There was time when a number of people and sources were considered strong element for nations, but now the time has changed. Now it is war of brains and the quality of persons.

“You can take the example of Finland, whose total population is less than that of Karachi but, the exports of one company, Nokia of Finland, is more than total exports of Pakistan. I mean that now quality matters. We should emphasize on quality education.

“Although we are less in numbers, we can become a strong nation by getting quality education. All such institutions should be under one flag of that political party.”

Mr. Anjum was one of many speakers at the conference. See http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12010167.htm for another report.


Dan Wooding, 71, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK and also in Belize and South Africa. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries and also provides a regular commentary for Worship Life Radio on KWVE. You can follow Dan Wooding on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books, one of which is his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available this link.




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