They are treated like slaves in Pakistan, their women forcibly converted and raped. Hundreds killed but no killer has ever been punished in the last six decades.
Pogroms are also routine and their fates have been chained to doing the dirtiest and least paid jobs.
Racial slur such as choora and bhangee, which means the dirty ones, are used against them because of their faith — love of Jesus Christ.
But now the 20-million Christian community, mostly of Punjabi ethnic stock, are demanding a separate province to be carved out of the dominant Punjab province in the northeast to allow them to live peacefully in Pakistan.
The demand has been made by Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti, president of the Pakistan Christian Congress and editor of the Pakistan Christian Post, one of the world’s most widely rerad news web zine pertaining to the Christian community.
“Christians voted in favor of Pakistan before the Boundary Commission that enabled West Punjab to go with Pakistan. Punjab would never have become part of Pakistan as Sikhs were 51 percent and Muslims 47 percent at the time of partition in 1947,” Dr. Bhatti told the Examiner on phone from Philadelphia early Monday morning. “Christians played an important role in the history of Pakistan but the Muslim historians and government of Pakistan have scratched it off from the history books for their vested interests,” he said.
Dr. Bhatti deplored that Christians are being increaingly marginalized in Pakistani politics and parliament. “We now have two Christians in National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, while in1985 there were five members and in 1973 there were six members in Pakistan’s national parliament.”
A draconian law called blasphemy law has been routinely used against Pakistani minorities, specially Christians.
A Christain woman, Aasia Bibi, is awaiting the hangman’s noose in Pakistan for allegedly blaspheming Islam. A liberal governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who tried to defend the victim, was allegedly gunned down by his own guard Mumtaz Quadr on January 4 this year. Taseer’s son Shahbaz Taseer was abducted last Friday and his whereabouts are unknown.
Pakistan minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who was an opponent of the blasphemy law, was gunned down March 2, 2011 less than two months after the killing of Taseer.
Punjab province appears to be living in the shadow of Muslim fndamentalists as part of the Pakistan army, which also is predominantly Punjabi, grand design to use Islam as an ideological weapon to spawn militant outfits for proxy wars against neighboring India and Afghanistan.