Pakistani Christians Take to the Streets on 'Black Day' to Protest Persecution

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | Tag Cloud

by Marshall Ramsey, Worthy News Correspondent

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- Pakistani Christians observed August 11, 2010, as 'Black Day,' meant as a protest of the persecution and suffering they go through, Worthy News has learned.

'Black Day' is actually known as Minority Day, which was August 11, 1947, three days before Pakistan gained its independence from Great Britain.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, called the founding father of Pakistan, delivered a speech to Pakistan's then-newly formed constituent assembly pledging "freedom and equality" for all faiths in the new country.

PERSECUTION IN PAKISTAN

While officially declaring religious freedom, Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) president Naveed Walter said that the 'Black Day' protest was called to bring attention to the "increasing incidents of injustice and discrimination" leveled at Pakistani Christians. Many Christians are persecuted for their faith in Jesus in Pakistan, with some being arrested on false charges and others suffering violence.

Nazir S. Bhatti, a leader of the Pakistan Christian Congress, thinks it makes little sense to celebrate 'Minority Day,' a day that is supposed to be celebrating minorities in Pakistan while Christians are being persecuted. The rally was prompted because of Pakistan's blasphemy law, in which speaking anything against Mohammad or Allah is forbidden.

Christians from different backgrounds chose the date for its highly symbolic nature. HRFP organized the protest march on this day, which ended in a press conference at the Lahore Press Club in Lahore.

Mr. Naveed also called for electoral system changes which would grant religious minorities to select for themselves representatives in regional assemblies as well as federal parliament. A number of seats are reserved for Christians at both levels of Pakistani government, however the seats go to people who are picked out in advance, and do not depend on minority votes.

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