The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) are calling for a peaceful Downing Street protest on November 22nd 2014 between 11a.m. and 1p.m.
The purpose of the protest is twofold. Firstly, we seek to honour the lives of the Christian husband Shahzad Mahsih,and his pregnant wife, Shama Bibi who were brutally murdered on November 4th 2014, after a false accusation of desecrating the Koran. The couple were poor bonded labourers (slaves who have to work for master to pay debts), who worked for a brick kiln owner. After being savagely beaten by an incensed mob, their legs were broken, they were both stripped naked, and thrown, alive into the brick kiln furnace until only ashes remained. Their 3 small children are now orphaned and face an uncertain future.
The second reason for protest is to call on the British Government to engage in dialogue with Pakistan, and assert pressure on them for several much needed political changes:
To repeal the harsh blasphemy Laws of Pakistan that have been a tool for discrimination against minorities.
To revisit the biased constitution of Pakistan that creates lower status for Christians and other minorities, through adoption of a national faith and prohibiting senior political and legal roles to non-Muslims.
To emancipate modern day slaves in Pakistan, by eradicating the practice of bonded labour throughout the country via new legislation and protective agencies.
To ensure the usual practice of a short remand leading to freedom for persecutors, is terminated, by protecting witnesses and preventing bribes - allowing the Pakistan legal system to attain successful prosecutions.
A one hour memorial service will take place at the beginning of the protest and will include a dance for Blasphemy Law victim Asia Bibi, by Catholic British National Dancer Latasha Sinclair. Catholic band Ooberfuse will perform a live re-mix version of their Free Asia Bibi song, the original song video gained over 105,000 views on You Tube.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said;
"This recent attack on an innocent couple brought me to tears, how can the burning of ones personal waste lead to such a vehement and brutal attack?" He added; "The mob who perpetrated this crime must be brought to justice, the murder of an innocent couple and their 4 month foetus is a despicable and pernicious act. Moreover, any failure to punish the culprits, will continue to support the expectation of impunity held by extremists."
The BPCA have lodged an additional complaint with the High Commissioner of Pakistan over the use of Mosque loudspeakers, that once again as in so many previous attacks, are being blamed for the mass frenzied hatred towards the victims. Mr Chowdhry said; "It would be a travesty of justice and would send out mixed messages, if the Imams involved in the preaching of hatred were not prosecuted. However, I would not be surprised if once again all they receive is a slap on the wrist. This case proves in no uncertain terms, that it is not safe for Christians to live in Pakistan.
Event: Protest and 1 hour memorial service for Shahzad and Shama
Time: 11am - 1pm
Date: 22nd November 2014
Venue: 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
Guest speakers include; Lyn Julius from HARIF a group representing Middle-Eastern Jews, Alan Craig former Leader of the Christian People's Alliance, Muslim Barrister Rubab Mehdi Rizvi a former European Spokesperson the Ministry of Human Rights in Pakistan and Taskeen Khan from Glory TV.
The BPCA has initiated a permanent benevolent fund for the family of Shahzad and Shama. Our desire is to free them from their bonded labour status and we will work towards providing a new safer environment for this family, who have suffered the loss of loved ones in a hellishly brutal and savage manner. This family have been left with serious emotional and psychological scarring and are receiving counselling. The orphaned children are being cared for by Shahzad's family and your donations will help support them, as the children grow to adulthood. If you would like to contribute to our appeal our bank details are as follows: Sort Code: 20-67-90 Account number: 63468976 Bank: Barclays
Ref: Love for Shahzad and Shama (regular standing orders must use this reference).
Alternatively if you would like to send an immediate donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the BPCA to our address; 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.