Christmas in Pakistan: Greetings and Reflections

Posted on December 25, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Architecture, Minorities, Religion, Society
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Adil Najam

Christmas greetings to all our Christian readers in Pakistan and elsewhere. On this auspicious day, we at ATP pray for peace and goodwill to all. Last year our Christmas post had carried the picture on the right below. This year we thought that the one of a Pakistani Santa riding a camel would make a good compliment (thanks to Islamabad Metroblog).

Santa - Pakistan styleSanta - Pakistan style

Last year we had also done a pictorial on Churches in Pakistan and I hope that our readers might revisit that post. It remains one of my all-time favorite posts on ATP and a particularly apt one to visit today.

(For more details, click here)

More than just the architectural heritage that these living churches represent, they should be a reminder to all of us Pakistani Muslims that to speak about Pakistan (as we so often do) as if all Pakistanis are Muslims is not just factually incorrect it is insulting and alienating to those Pakistanis who are not.Pakistan belongs to all Pakistanis. Equally. Today, December 25, seems like a good day to remind ourselves of this. Not only because it is Christmas for our Pakistani Christian compatriots but also because it makers the birth anniversary of Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah (more on him later today). For Jinnah, as is clear from his famous August 11 speech, Pakistan is a Pakistan for all Pakistanis. Equally.

26 responses to “Christmas in Pakistan: Greetings and Reflections”

  1. Watan Aziz says:

    Sending the warmest Christmas wishes to you and your family. May God shower his choicest blessings on you and your family this Christmas!

  2. Anthony Whelan says:

    I was born in Ireland, but now live in Australia. My people fought the English for a 1000 years, and finally we won independence. Now Irish and English live in relative harmony, and the English population of Caucasian descent only survive because of the Irish immigrants and their prodigious progeny. I commend Pakistan for standing firm against extremism. It is good to see Christians and other minorities being valued. I wish that discrimination wouldn’t exist. My father told me that the Presbyterians of Northern Ireland wouldn’t allow Roman Catholics to have jobs, and that is why there was so much trouble in Northern Ireland. Here in Australia, I work for Presbyterians, and they are very good to me. Australia was a new land for the warring Presbyterian Scots-Irish, and Roman Catholic native Irish, and together they have realized their common Celtic-Viking, heritage. May Pakistanis of all religions realize their common heritage, and they are all children of God. The great Suleiman the Magnificent was able to unite Muslims, Jews and true Christians. Even Francis of Assissi admired him. It is said that Suleiman told Francis that if all Christians were like him, then he might convert, but sadly he knew of no others, and Francis returned to Europe saddened by his true words (that was in relation to the Crusaders). My wise old mother used to say that there were good and bad in every race and religion. May Pakistan prosper.

  3. Amanda says:

    What a beautiful post and great pictures. This is the attitude that the whole world needs.

    Thank you.

  4. Muhammad Saim says:

    Dear YLH, You ideas are very good and even I thaught about them but I am afraid that after so many years it would be very difficult to repal so many laws and implement them right away. We need to go by implementing laws one by one gradually. Anyways as for you formulae for distribution of seats I think that it is unjust towards the Hindus who are the largest minority of the country (as per 1998 census). As per the 1998 census, following were the figures for the religions:

    Islam 96.28%
    Hinduism 1.85% (caste 1.6% & scheduled castes 0.25%)
    Chiristianity 1.59%
    Ahmaddiya 0.21%
    Others (Sikhs, Parsis, Kalash, Buddhists etc) 0.07%

    Thus representation of seats should be as follows:
    Caste hindus 11
    Christians 11
    Scheduled caste 2
    Ahmadis 2
    Sikhs 1
    Parsis 1
    Buddhists 1
    Kalash & others 1

    Senate should also have similar distribution of seats

    Job quotas should be at 10% (compared to 3.72% non muslim population) which is more reasonable.

  5. YLH says:

    Minorities’ demands

    1. Incorporation of Quaid-e-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah’s 11th August speech in the constitution as Article 2-B.

    2. Repeal of all discriminatory legislation against minorities in general and section 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code in particular which is contrary to basic principles of modern statehood as well as Islamic ideals of equality.

    3. Repeal of the un-Islamic capital punishment provision of blasphemy law which is contrary to the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)- who forgave his worst enemies and critics. If this is not possible then extension of the death penalty provision to blasphemy against the founders of every religion.

    4. Joint Electorate should continue as at present as we deem the system of joint electorate essential to safeguard the interests of the minorities . However, the reserved minorities’ seats in the national assembly should be increased from 10 to 30 according to the following formula:

    a- 12 Seats for the Christian community
    b- 4 Seats for Caste Hindu community
    c- 4 Seats for Scheduled Caste community
    d- 4 Seats for Ahmaddiya community
    e- 3 Seats for the Sikh community
    f- 1 Seat for the Buddhists
    g- 1 Seat for the atheists/non-religious/agnostics
    h- 1 Seat for Parsi community

    These seats should constitute independent caucuses and any legislation pertaining to any community should have to be passed by a majority of the representatives of that community’s caucus.

    The current system of list representation for these seats should be abandoned. Instead these representatives should be directly elected from their respective communities which each community forming a single Pakistan constituency.

    5. A similar formula of seat allocation and election should be followed in each federating unit of Pakistan.

    6. 16 reserved senate seats should be allocated for the minorities with the following formula:

    a- 6 seats for the Christian community
    b. 2 seats for caste Hindu community
    c. 2 seats for scheduled caste community
    d. 2 seats for the ahmadiyya community
    e. 1 seat for the Sikh community
    f. 1 seat for the Buddhist communtiy
    g. 1 seat for the atheists/agnostics/non-religious
    h. 1 seat for the Parsi community.

    All these seats are additional to joint electorate. All minorities should have the right to contest on general seats.

    7. Removal of all bars against minorities from becoming president and prime minister of Pakistan.

    8. Atleast 4 Guaranteed cabinet posts to be filled by the minorities at the center, one of which is either interior or law.

    9. A 15% quota for minorities in all government jobs, educational institutes and other such institutions including the armed forces according to the formula below:

    6% for the Christian community
    2% for the Caste Hindu community
    2% for the Scheduled Caste community
    2% for the Ahmaddiya community
    3% for miscellaneous

    10. Repeal of special privilege to Hufaz-e-Quran in form of 20 marks in merit in the local edcuational stream or similar privilege for those minorities excelling in the learning of their scriptures respectively.

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