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.
Dear all, we can draw a deep breath of relief. Church services completed on Sunday and the expected and threatened attack from a Muslim mob never materialised. Our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry informed people about this on Facebook, Sunday 22nd March 2105. He said:
"I spoke to Mehwish after the service and she is just about to attend a meeting with pastors and bishops to discuss a way forward. There will then be a panchayat (meeting of community elders) where the leaders from both the Christian community and Muslim community negotiate terms for longer term peace."
He added: "The Christian Community named 47 culprits in the riots, and the Christians involved in the murder of two Muslims believed to be gunmen involved on the bomb attack, have been arrested late last night. There is still tension in the air but the arrests and the cooperation of the Christians has meant they have been able to de-escalate the situation."
Mehwish, our Pakistan Officer, is currently visiting the homes of all the injured in the hospital. She was not allowed into Youhanabad for two days as the Police cordon was refusing outsiders. She had to meet patients from one hospital inside the town at a local carpet shop. She handed small gifts of 2000 pak rupees to each of them allow them to get fresh bandages (which are charged for) and medicines. Initial treatment was free and will be for those that are in a coma. A local Pastor has gained permission for her to attend a leaders meeting and visit families. Mehwish attended a Lahore Church service on Sunday, she said:
"I was frightened on my journey to the church, the whole of the cities churches had been threatened with violence. Parishioners were scared but we all came out in large numbers and placed our faith in God."
She added: "While in the service I felt at peace, God was with us. Once the service was over we all sighed a deep breath of joy. All the parishioners stayed back for refreshments and had fellowship. We know we are children of God in an inhospitable land but that will not prevent us worshipping the Lord."
Once the hospitals deem patients stable enough they are being removed and will have to pay for their own long term medical care. Free hospitals are only provided to those who pay Social Security payments, which is less than 1% due to government incompetence, lack of knowledge and corrupt officials. The BPCA will be supporting victims with long term ailments in particular.
In our images you can see the images of our Chairman Wilson Chowdhry's extended cousin, who is now blind and fighting for his life, currently in a coma. He was initially pronounced dead but was resuscitated - we do not yet know if he will recover. Please pray for him, his wife Samina and their two children who relied on him to feed them. There are many other victims we have met with and we will provide you a fuller report when Mehwish returns to Islamabad. She has been very frightened by the whole process.
We will be buying groceries for all the families who have lost a bread-winner and will also be buying supplies of medicines. We are now in touch with the mother and son who were seen distressed in our main campaign flyer. We will be providing them with as much help and support as possible. Mehwish has been praying with victims and tells me that since a further attack did not occur, the community is much more confident and morale is slowly starting to improve. However she is disappointed with police bias. She said:
"Police are making aid work extremely difficult and are preventing access to people from outside Youhanabad. People are suffering and aid will be slow. Police are arresting people who take images or report on the atrocity, some NGOs have been shut down and one aid worker has fled to America. The government does not want the world's media to know the truth."
A full report and analysis of need will be provided to you all once Mehwish returns home in one more day. Mehwish has been stopped by the police and her young age, and her sister's, make this particular work very dangerous. Please uphold her with your prayers. So far she has bought medicines and food for families, answering their calls for help.
Mehwish also met with Aysha Bibi whose son was killed in prison recently. Mehwish bought her some clothes and food for her and her sons, and we are taking up her legal case through solicitor Mushtaq Ahmed.
We also want to organise legal cover for the 250 boys who have been arrested and placed in prison. We will make sure they are safe and not tortured during their captivity. We intend to pray and counsel the boys through their captivity. The majority of the protests held by Christians were peaceful and only a small group was said to have rioted. All of them have been named by the Christian community in a spirit of collaboration. The Christian community has never previously erupted in this fashion, and we hope to use mitigation as an opportunity to lower sentencing and we also aim to free the large number of innocents.
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it." 1 Corinthians 12 v 26
We have continued our disaster recovery fund for the victims.