Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
Negombo, western city of Sri Lanka, has become a hub for many persecuted Christians from Pakistan. These Christian families have fled the worse forms of
religious persecution in a highly radicalized Muslim majority country, Pakistan. Many of these families travel to their neighbouring countries in search
of refuge and shelter, unaware of another episode of hardship waiting ahead. BPCA estimates that between 500 and 1000 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers
are present in Sri Lanka.
‘We are just trying to survive in destitution and poverty here’, said Tussawar Khan, officer for British Pakistani Christian association (BPCA) and asylum seeker himself.
The Sri Lankan government is not providing any support to Pakistani asylum claimants, including those in the process of seeking asylum and others who are rejected asylum by United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). To add to the miseries of the rejected asylum claimants, they are now been targeted by the Sri Lankan authorities and thrown in even worse conditions in prisons.
In recent weeks several arrests have taken place as the Sri Lankan Government is taking a hard-line approach on any asylum seekers/refugees found working illegally. This despite no offer of financial aid from the government meaning illegal work and charitable donations are a must for survival. Arrests are taking place even for those within the official UNHCR process if found working, which has created great fear and panic amongst an already beleaguered community.
St. Sebastian Church, Catholic Church in Negombo, has opened its door to welcome the frightened Pakistani Christians at any time of the day to shelter them. Sadly, unfortunate Pakistani Christians, in search of mere refuge and a normal life free of threat, intimidation, persecution and in some cases death, are left at the mercy of charities and churches. The freedom they sought is not available to them but still they choose the safety of Sri Lanka to the persecution in their homeland, despite extreme poverty and fear of arrest and detainment.
In partnership with Rev Angleena Keizer from the Methodist Church Kollupitiya, the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) is supporting destitute Christian Pakistanis in Sri Lanka by providing financial help as well as granting ration vouchers, milk powder for children, house rent and medical assistance. The monthly donations from BPCA has been used to help several different Christian families in Negombo. But much more is needed. Our funds for this group are almost depleted but their numbers are swelling as persecution continues in Pakistan.
Food at fellowship after church service is often their largest meal of the month.
The Methodist Church Kollupitiya also helps in organising a worship service for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees, on the second Sunday of every month. The idea is to provide a platform for Pakistani Christians where they can freely pray to in their native language (Urdu), share testimonies and get together for a fellowship meal afterwards. Rev. Anglena also helps the attendees in providing transport expenses.
Urdu Service grows in number.
Frank, a generous Chinese donor recently visited the Urdu worship service on Sunday and made a donation of 5000LKR, for children’s health especially. Where our reporter went house to house to distribute the donation (milk powder) among five other Christian families.
Tussawar Khan, Rev Angleena, Frank (Chinese donor)
Tussawar Khan, said:
"The Christian community in Negombo pleads to the western world to highlight the cry of the Christian minorities from Pakistan."
Please support the work of BPCA as three more families are expected to join the impoverished Christians in Negombo soon. Let us remember the victims of religious persecution from Pakistan who are stuck in limbo and face persecution after persecution!
If you would like to donate to our ongoing help to asylum seekers and refugees in Sri Lanka please (click here)
Urdu Service is led by Pakistani Pastor who himself is an asylum seeker.