Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas our humare Zimadarian

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Book on churches in Pakistan launched

By Peerzada Salman |  | 27th September, 2011

The book is a tribute to Pakistani Christians who had done so much for the country. – Photo by Nadir Siddiqui/

Introducing the book to the audience, head of a publishing firm Iqbal Saleh Mohammad said it was a tribute to Pakistani Christians who had done so much for the country.
He said there were many an unsung and unremembered member of the Christian community who had served Pakistan in different capacities. He began by naming S.P. Singha and Mr Gibbons, who before partition voted in favour of the division of Punjab in the legislative assembly. He also talked about Brig Harold Boyd Rodham, an Indian army officer, who after partition opted for Pakistan and joined the Pakistan Army. He touched upon the invaluable services rendered by Justice Cornelius to Pakistan – he was a judge even before independence and became the Chief Justice of Pakistan after 1947.
Squadron Leader W.D. Harney and Wing Commander Mervyn Leslie Middlecoat were given a mention. He said despite the fact that the Christian community comprised only three per cent of the country’s total population, its contribution was significant.
He claimed that one of the many feats that the book would achieve was that it’d make students aware of an outstanding minority.
Journalist Asif Noorani spiced up his speech with anecdotes from his personal life.
He said Churches of Pakistan was not one of those books which couldn’t be judged by their covers. He showered praise on the picture of a church in Nathiagali on the cover of the book.Discussing various architectural styles of churches, he said if Karachi’s St Lawrence’s Church had elements of Mughal architecture in it, St Patrick’s was made in a Romanesque style and was an example of sublime beauty. Describing the salient features of the book, he said the pictures in it (taken by Javaid Kazi) weren’t manipulated and the text was informative.
Chairman of the Higher Education Commission Javed Leghari echoed Mr Noorani’s feelings and said he’d personally seen that church in Nathiagali and thought it was a beautiful work of architecture. He pointed out contributions of members of the Christian community and added the name of the slain minister Shahbaz Bhatti to the list.
He rounded off his speech by informing the audience about the different programmes undertaken by the HEC in relation to the churches of the country.
Country Director of the British Council David Martin, who was the chief guest of the event, said the history of Christianity in Pakistan was not a new phenomenon; its roots went farther in the past.
He said, as given in the book, Christianity reached the subcontinent about the same time, if not earlier, when it reached some remote areas of Europe. He said the pictures in the book had strong symbolism and commented that churches were not built in a religious vacuum – they involved local architectural techniques and fashions of the time, which was why in some churches one saw Victorian or Edwardian Gothic style and in others Romanesque. He said Christian tradition drew on many values, and its followers had not always had an easy ride.
Deputy High Commissioner Francis Campbell said the book illustrated that the presence of churches in Pakistan was not just a relic of the past but had a vibrant presence. It also illustrated the contribution of a minority to a wider society.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Need of Christian University in Pakistan

The importance of higher education to meet the standard policy of merit is more in present in Pakistan for the Christian nation to compete in all walks of life with Muslim majority, but unfortunately they are unable to qualify, causing social and eco According to statistical data of Christian population, only 6% have the primary school education only able to read and write, 4% of Christians have the high school education that they are eligible to compete on grade 4 pay scale jobs in government and semi government institutions, 1% Christians have the college education and able to compete on grade12 to 17 pay scale government jobs, 0.5% Christians have the higher studies and professional education. These figures surface very alarming situation, when education percentage in Pakistan of general population is 13%. The Christians are 13% of total population and have ratio of 8% of education comparing to the total population of the country.

Its very important to discuss that missionary schools were source of education of 57% in Pakistan in 1947 at the time of independent of Pakistan when these institution existed and were established in British colonial period in sub continent of India. In 1965 the government schools took lead and missionary schools dropped to 35% of participation in education of the county. Its very clear that if missionary schools have played positive role to educate Christian community and paid due consideration in uplift programmers, the rate of percentage among Christian have been up to 100% in education till 1972 when these institutions were nationalized by the government and there were missionary schools in every major city and town of Pakistan with 5 colleges in provincial capitals.

In general, up to 1973 Christians have the 5% quota of admissions in engineering, medical and other higher education institutes of Pakistan. The few doctors and engineers in Christian community now visible are the fruit of that quota system only. Unfortunately the missionary schools run by different church groups in Pakistan never showed any interest in establishment of any professional college or to up grade to university level to any of their colleges in Pakistan.

The 5 % admission quota for Christian students was abolished under Islamic republic constitution of Pakistan of 1973 and merit on admissions was declared as principal policy. The government of Pakistan adopted double standards on existing merit policy when they declared the urban quota, the rural area quota, governors quota, chief ministers quota, prime ministers quota, president of Pakistan quota, children of armed forces quota, professors quota, Kashmir refugees quota, members of parliament quota and businessmen quota on specific amount of donations in the medical and engineering colleges in Pakistan. All these quota categories were used for admissions of Muslims who were unable to get admissions on merit in the colleges but the Christians were set out of these privileges of quota system in the name of merit. The poor economic conditions and lack of resources bared them to concentrate in studies and achieve merit in examinations and were also un able to approach for the political quota seats when Muslim prefer to recommend their quota seats to their Muslim relatives and political elements. Its crystal clears that door of education in higher study institutes were totally closed by the government in Pakistan in 1973 for Christian students.

It can easily viewed under these facts that when academic institutions established and run in name of Christianity in Pakistan failed to serve and doors of government education were also shut on Christians, what shall be the economic and social situations of Christians in Pakistan? On other hand, the society of Pakistan was in practice of the social evil and curse of touch ability and Christian students were forced to leave the Muslim and government run schools, where they faced hate on religion basis and Muslim students hated to drink water from same taps or utensils with Christians in schools and colleges.

Ch James Dean, a Christian political leader in 1970 from Karachi was the first to stress upon establishment of Christian university in Pakistan. He prepared complete paper work on the Christian university project and used to present it in public gathering and other public meetings in Pakistan. He was of the view that Christian university can only fulfill the future needs of Christian youth. I participated along with him in public protest processions when the government nationalized the missionary schools and colleges in Pakistan on allegations of, that missionary schools have been running as business concerns by churches and general public is not beneficiary of these highly paid academic institutes in 1972. He urged the government that nationalization of Christian institutes is to completely close the doors of education for Christian youth in Pakistan. It was fact that very low fraction of Christians had opportunity to enter in these schools and enjoy the privileges of education. After the nationalization of missionary schools, the task of Ch. James Dean is came more difficult in Pakistan and establishment of Christian university remained a dream. He was true leader and sincere in his efforts always

When we discuss the importance of higher education institutes in sub continent of India, established by the religious communities for betterment and education of their future generations, its on record that Muslims in sub continent of India established oriental college and upgraded it to Muslim university in aligrah in 1920, when Muslim community experienced that Hindu majority is ahead of them in civil services and its important for Muslim youth to study English and to avail opportunity of higher education to compete with Hindu majority. No doubt, that Aligrah Muslim university played vital and positive role for Muslims to regain their standards in society and to made their way in the administration of the state.

Recently in Pakistan, the Agha Khan community have established a university in Karachi which have emerged as major professional institution in Pakistan to educate their community as well as the general population of Pakistan,

On other hand few Christians tried to follow the dream of Ch. James Dean to establish Christian university but these so called religious and social leaders have been using this issue to collect funds and use them for their personal benefits and Christian university is still on papers only,

In these circumstances its need of time to establish professional colleges and Christian university in Pakistan to set forth the new generation to face the requirements of new millennium and play their role in the welfare of the general population of Pakistan. The nationalized schools were denationalized and handed over to churches by the government in 1980 in Sindh province and in 2001 the Punjab provincial government followed the denationalization of missionary schools. Now when these missionary schools are again in the hands of churches, it requires the revolutionary changes to grant admission to poor Christians on priority in these schools. New professional colleges and university may be founded that Christian students may reach in these new established professional colleges to compete on merit with Muslim majority in all walks of life. The establishment of private educational institutes is not bared by laws and is even practiced by different Muslim communities in Pakistan and Christians have right time to step forward in establishments of Christian university unless it too late again because better education and higher education is the only solution to the problems of Pakistani Christians.

Nazir S Bhatti