United Nations takes up situation of persecuted Pakistani Christians at Geneva session

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has discussed the situation of persecuted Pakistani Christians during a recent event in Geneva titled "Christians in Pakistan under Threat."

(REUTERS / Naseer Ahmed)Pakistani Christians carry a cross through the streets of Quetta while observing Good Friday April 22, 2011.

On March 14, representatives from Pakistan's Christian community attended the "Christians in Pakistan under Threat" event which was held during the 34th UNHRC session. A retired Captain of the Pakistani Army, Rev. James Luke, spoke during the session and conveyed his deep concern over the persecution of believers in Pakistan, citing the numerous deaths of Christians at the hands of Sunni extremists in the last few years, according to a press release.

In addition, Rev. Luke lamented the absence of action on the part of the Pakistani government in light of the oppression of Christians. He also said the country's blasphemy law is being misused to target Christians in the country.

Javed Bakhsh, the former vice president of the Canadian Christian Association, also spoke during the event and called for more awareness of the plight of believers in Pakistan and for the western nations to pressure the government into putting an end to the genocide of Christians. He said believers in the country are facing discrimination in the workplace and in terms of economic benefits.

Human Rights Focus Pakistan founder Naveed Walter, on the other hand, highlighted the situation of Christian mother Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death over blasphemy charges. For him, Christians do not enjoy the same political rights that Muslims in the country do, and said the international community also needs to pressure the government to grant equal rights to its minorities.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has extended help to poor Christians living as bonded laborers in the Punjab Province after being accused of not exerting enough effort to protect the religious minority. The High Commission of Pakistan in London has approved the construction of 10 brick washrooms that will be used by around 100 Christian families who do not have access to toilet and clean water, The Christian Post reports.

The construction of the washroom facilities was finished in February. Prior to that, the poor Christian families had to use the open fields as their toilets and drink water from unsanitary sources.