Last Sunday as Churchgoers were coming out from the service for many, their world came to a standstill. Just outside the gates of the Church two bombs, designed to inflict maximum damage to the people around, exploded. Over 80 innocent people and passerby lost their lives and many more injured. However this is not the first time the Pakistani Christian minority has faced such a brutality and unfortunately they are not the only minority at the receiving end of the barrel for this monstrosity which has engulfed the country. With so many issues to deal with my argument for this post will however remain only about the Pakistani Christians.
Christians make less than 1.5% of the total population of this overwhelmingly Muslim country and they also generally make it to the lowest economic strata of the society. Many of them are poor families who converted to Christianity with the missionaries coming to then British India to escape their dalit (untouchable caste in Hinduism) status. Not much educated, society in Pakistan has left the lowest of the lowest jobs for them for which there wouldn’t be otherwise many takers. “Churra” (sweeper/cleaners) as they are called will be given a job to clean your home, toilets, streets or workplaces and if very generous nurses. There are some success stories too with people like Justice Cornelius, ace-fighter pilot Cecil Chaudary, some politicians and some fashion models but overall situation of the Pakistani Christians is no point to gloat about.
One can argue that lack of education is one of the main reasons why many of these communities have been left behind, but one also has to admit that the general discriminatory attitude towards them is also not very helpful. It is a common perception in ordinary Pakistani Muslims that Christians are unclean, probably because of the occupations they are assumed to be working in. You will not be surprised to find a very generous Pakistani household where their Christian servants are given the same food they eat but just in separate utensils. You will also not be surprised to find that in many of the average households a Christian touching your food will make it inedible or simply put dirty. Churra, is literally a common abusive word which you will use to describe someone being either dirty or less than desirable.
On this latest incident having access to a 6 digit strong Facebook community I decided to post a condolence message for the innocent victims of this atrocity. With overwhelmingly positive and condoling messages one young Afghan was very straight to point out that as a Muslim I should not be praying for them, whereas another Pakistani who was though disturbed for what has happened wanted to wish their souls peace but still did not find it appropriate to pray for the affected Christians. Not entirely sure how the second person reconciled his views but well there they were.
So back to the original question, if you are a Pakistani of the type detailed above, or you let other people be like that around you without even trying to reason with them – I really doubt you can be enraged at the atrocities committed like the one recently in Peshawar attack. Probably like me there is not much you can do, for example an armed attack on the barbarians who committed those acts but at least this can act as a rude reminder on how we treat our own people. How we continue to isolate them from our society, and ourselves.
And probably it should be a solemn reminder that we are in Pakistan where the courts have just today acquitted the Moulana who literally waged a war in middle of Islamabad from his Lal Mosque, but a Christian village woman accused of Blasphemy remains in jail though only thing against her are circumstantial evidences.