Hector Aleem urges Pakistan to become a Secular State
Many Pakistanis are unaware of the role Christians have played in the nation’s history. Christians have had a considerable impact, especially in education and health. Many of Pakistan’s most prominent leaders — including the current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, the assassinated prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and former President Pervez Musharraf — went to Christian schools. Christians also educated Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who founded Pakistan in 1947.
The targeting of Christians comes amid a widespread breakdown of public order. The ordinary Christian — hearing stories of gangs breaking into homes and kidnapping Christian girls and women — thinks only of survival. Pakistani Muslims are frequently the culprits in attacks on Christians. Christians have been especially vulnerable in cases concerning the blasphemy laws, which easily convert into a tool of oppression against them
This is a planned genocide of Pakistani Christians by Muslims who are backed by the Government of Pakistan. Government promises to reconstruct the homes of Christians destroyed by mobs and distribute aid are rarely carried out. This only exists on media, in newspapers or official papers of the government of Pakistan. Those Pakistanis who do speak up for Christians have themselves become targets of violence. In 2011, a governor of Punjab Province who criticized the blasphemy laws was killed by his own bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri who was then hailed as a hero. I have witnessed this during my imprisonment in Adiala prison; everyone from most junior to most senior jail officials appreciated him and addressed him as a great hero of Islam.
The situation of Christians can only be improved when Muslims of Pakistan consider all Christians of Pakistan as their countrymen and when the government of Pakistan will abolish all discriminatory and blasphemy laws against Christians and the international world should urge Pakistan to declare itself as a secular state so that everyone will be able to practice its religion freely. The name Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not acceptable and we will continue opposing it unless it becomes a secular state officially.