Published On: Tue, Mar 25th, 2014
Published in Category: Islamabad

Christian community celebrates Republic Day at Fatima Church

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ISLAMABAD: The Christian community of the capital celebrated the Republic Day of Pakistan at Fatima Church.

A ceremony was organized by United Churches Council Islamabad to celebrate the national day with zeal and fervour. Members of National Assembly, Famous Human Rights Activists, Representatives of different organizations and a large number of members of the Christian community attended the ceremony.

Member of National Assembly Aasia Nasir, Human Rights Activist Tahira Abdullah Priest of Fatima Church Father Rehmat Michael Hakam, Chairman Pakistan United Christians Movement Albert David, Brig (Retd) Simon Sharf and Chairman Nazariya Pakistan Council Zahid Malik were among the speakers.

A special song was prepared by children to celebrate the day, Children attired in traditional clothes of different parts of the country presented tableau. A special prayer was also held for the prosperity and well being of the nation.

The mood of the Christian community was bitter despite the festive occasion as their were concerns over the relocation of Kachi Abadis (slums) from the capital as most residents of these slums are Christians. The speakers also highlighted the issue and demanded the government to make arrangements for the residents of slums before shifting them from their houses.

Their was divided opinion among the speakers regarding the issue of Joint or Separate elections for the Christian community as held in the church as Father Rehmat Michael Hakam thought the current form of elections, results in selection of Christian Members rather than election of the members where as Brig (Retd) Simon Sharf was of the view the Christian community should come in the main stream and should not call them a minority.

Member of National Assembly Aasia Nasir was of the view Minorities are Pakistanis by soul, and are not divided in ethnicities like Punjabi, Balochi, Pakhtoon etc. She strongly supported the current form of elections of the minorities. She said the progress of Pakistan depends on the progress of the society, equality among the followers of different faiths and inter faith harmony. She supported the shifting of the slums but demanded proper arrangements for residence of the Christian community within the Federal Capital.

She said nobody can evict Christians from the capital. Human Rights Activist Tahira Abdullah expressed her desire to see equality among the followers of different faiths in the country. She demanded the government to take steps so that no Shangla Hill, Chiniot, Larkana incidents happen again.

She was of the view the population of Minorities which was 10% of the total population in 1947, has shrunk to 5 % which is alarming. Chairman Nazariya Pakistan Council Zahid Malik negated the views of Tahira Abdullah and said the population of Minorities has decreased due to separation of Bangladesh as their was a large Hindu population in Bangladesh.

Father Rehmat Michael Hakam said some people treat Christians as second class citizens, which needs to change for progress of the country. He also expressed concerns over relocation of the slums. He said we should fulfil our responsibilities before demanding for our rights. The resolution of Pakistan was based on the theory of the rights of the minorities. We need to give rights to the minorities. He offered a special prayer for the prosperity of the country. Refreshments were served at the end of the ceremony.