» 07/16/2009, 00.00
Swat, Christian refugees excluded from government reconstruction fund
Christian activists denounce disparity in treatment for victims of the war between the army and the Taliban. Only Muslim families, registered in government centres, receive funding. Christians helped by relatives and friends, because chased from refugee camps and deprived of aid.
Peshawar (AsiaNews) - The Christian refugees in the Swat valley and Malakand Division are not receiving refugee aid promised by the government to, reports the Pakistan Christian Post, which calls for equal treatment for the three million displaced persons, without any confessional discrimination.
On July 13 Islamabad initiated proceedings for the return of internally displaced persons. Premier Yousaf Raza Gilan said that the army operations have successfully removed the Taliban from Bonier, Dir, Swat valley and many other parts of Malakand division. Several areas of the north-west of the country - near the border with Afghanistan - are now safe and refugees can return to their homes.
To encourage a return to normalcy, the government decided to allocate 25 thousand rupees (about 230 euros) compensation for families affected by the war between the army and the Taliban. The first operation for the repatriation of refugees started with the refugees in camps in Mardan, with the delivery of the sum of money as an incentive for the reconstruction of homes.
The Pakistan Christian Post points out that there are no significant records of Christians in refugee government camps. Only 60 families obtained refugee status from the government: they are registered at the Christian relief centre in Mardan, set up by the Church in Pakistan. But "thousands of Christians" who have been adopted by relatives and friends in the North West Frontier Province and Punjab, risk receiving no compensation.
In recent weeks, AsiaNews reported on the unequal treatment of Christian victims of the war, driven from the camps for their faith and the victims of multiple discrimination. For this reason, Caritas, the Catholic Church of Pakistan and other Christian organizations have begun fundraising and distribution of food and basic necessities for displaced persons, benefiting both Christians and Muslims.
Nazir S Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC), expresses "concern" about the disparity of treatment and has asked the government to "ensure compensation to the refugees of Christian faith", who have found accommodation with relatives.
26/03/2016 13:25:00 PAKISTAN
Some but not all Pakistani Christians can celebrate Easter
Despite a decision by the National Assembly to allow Christians to celebrate Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, some members of the religious minority, such as sanitation workers, continue to be subject to discrimination. Still, the decision is a step forward for the equality of all citizens under the law.
Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti: three days of mourning, Pakistani Church on strike
The bishops underline their "profound grief" over the loss of "a statesman" who fought for Interreligious Dialogue and against the blasphemy law. Anglican Church united in mourning. The Pakistani president and the PML-N condemn the assassination. Christians in prayer before the minister's house, chanting slogans and hymns.
Attack in north-east Pakistan kills six, wounds eight
Blast goes off near a petrol station. Two children are among the casualties. Sources in Islamabad confirm a series of anti-Taliban raids over the week-end, with 24 Taliban and six civilians dead. Pakistani Christians continue their battle for the repeal of the blasphemy laws.
Phone companies not allowed to hire women operators in Haripur
Authorities force companies to fire women phone operators. This confirms Pakistani government discriminates against minorities and favours religious extremists.
Archbishop of Lahore: Sharia in the Swat Valley is contrary to Pakistan's founding principles
Archbishop Saldanha denounces the violation of minority and women's rights. The archbishop expresses his concern "in matters concerning criminal justice," and denounces abuses and violence by the Taliban toward Christian, Sikh, and Hindu places of worship and schools. The Catholic Church supports the Muttahida Quami Movement, the only party that has opposed the "forces of darkness."
Defeated on ice, but 'first' in history, joint Korean hockey team players hug
After losing to Sweden in their last match, the Korean team ends up in seventh place. Players burst into tears at their imminent separation. "Politicians made that executive decision [to have a joint team]. Our players and staff are the ones that made it work,” said the team’s proud Canadian coach. One South Korean athlete hopes the country is proud of them. "It was bigger than hockey."
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.