UK and Commonwealth betrayal in Pakistan: Remembering the Christian lady Asma Yaqoob
Boutros Hussein, Noriko Watanabe, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The coming to power of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1978 turned out to be a disaster for all religious minorities in this country, irrespective if a minority Muslim sect or non-Muslims. Of course, Hindus and Sikhs suffered immediately after the partition of India because the remaining faithful became increasingly marginalized. Yet, the Islamization of Pakistan took a turn for the worse after Zia-ul-Haq took power and led for a decade. Like usual, America and the United Kingdom (UK) bankrolled Pakistan under this leader despite his policies of hatred – indeed, the Ahmadiyya now became deemed to be non-Muslims. Despite this, successive British governments not only didn’t care, but they also bankrolled Pakistan and supported the Islamist uprising in Afghanistan. Therefore, turning the clock forward to the death of Asma Yaqoob in 2018, a Christian female who died after a brutal attack left her with burns all over her body after refusing to marry a Muslim male in Pakistan, then barely a squeak was raised by the UK and the Commonwealth.
The reason why it appears that successive British governments don’t care along with the Commonwealth is multiple. Yet, one obvious reason for the lack of care is that the majority of nationals from Pakistan who moved to the UK are Sunni Muslims. In turn, it seems that the UK is more concerned about placating this community rather than taking Pakistan to task for its deplorable human-rights record. Hence, religious minorities who suffer institutional discrimination, the fear of their daughters being forcibly converted to Islam, terrorist attacks, and other deplorable factors in Pakistan based on Sunni Islamism; have been abandoned because religious minorities including Christians aren’t given priority for refugee status.
It is extremely doubtful that Pakistan Christians who have fled to the United Kingdom even make up the percentage of their faith in this nation. Of course, the same applies to very few Christians from Syria being given refugee status along with Alawite Muslims who are enormously underrepresented. Instead, just like in Pakistan, the Sunni Islamist terrorist angle in Syria doesn’t seem to enter the equation. Hence, the majority of Syrians accepted to move to the United Kingdom are Sunni Muslims – yes, the same faith that ISIS and various al-Qaeda groups come from.
Similarly, Pakistan doesn’t face being expelled from the Commonwealth despite its atrocious record against religious minorities. For example, since the creation of Pakistan, countless numbers of Hindus and Sikhs fled to escape pogroms and institutional discrimination. Of course, convulsions in all directions caused enormous suffering when India was carved up. However, while the Muslim population remains relatively the same in percentage terms in India, the opposite is true about Hinduism in Pakistan because this faith is now completely marginalized.
Equally important, all religious minorities fear female members being forcibly converted to Islam. This is based on rape, forced marriage, enormous economic pressure, and underhanded tactics. Therefore, non-Muslim families reside in fear if their daughters spurn a Muslim male advance. At the same time, the courts, the police, and the state apparatus, usually turns a blind eye or tacitly supports the systematic persecution of non-Muslims. Despite this, Pakistan isn’t faced with being expelled or suspended from the Commonwealth – nor does this nation fear economic sanctions by the UK based on religious discrimination.
Christian woman dies from a brutal acid attack
Asma Yaqoob, a Christian female, died after being attacked for the crime of refusing marriage and converting to Islam. Sadly, this brave Christian lady died after suffering enormous pain for roughly two weeks after being left disfigured and in agony because of severe burns all over her body.
The Coordinator of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, Aila Gill, stipulates, “The government should take immediate notice of all these growing incidents of intolerance against minorities. Forced conversion of religious minorities should be criminalized and the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act should be enforced to prevent these crimes against women.”
Asma died slowly from the burns of approximately 90 percent of her body. In the following few months after her death, at least five acid attacks have happened against religious minorities. Of course, other deplorable events including attacks against Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs in the workplace are all too common. Therefore, this brutal attack – not committed by ISIS or Islamist terrorist groups – at the hands of an ordinary Muslim, says much about how non-Muslims are viewed in certain sections of society in Pakistan.
It should be noted that in the land of Mecca and Medina not one single Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, or Sikh holy place is tolerated. Likewise, Ahmadiyya Muslims are forbidden to visit Mecca and build any mosques and the Shia face enormous persecution in Saudi Arabia. Also, it is forbidden on pain of prison (or worse) for non-Muslim males to marry Saudi Muslim females. Hence, it is abundantly clear that Sharia Islamic law and certain Hadiths are upholding the systematic persecution of non-Muslims.
Overall, her brutal death – just like countless numbers of non-Muslim females who have been forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan irrespective if they are Christian, Hindu, or Sikh – will make little waves throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Therefore, still, mainly Sunni Muslim migrants will set up residence in the United Kingdom instead of genuine religious refugees facing endless persecution in Pakistan. Similarly, the Commonwealth will not suspend or expel Pakistan despite the deplorable reality of this nation for religious minorities who face institutional discrimination.
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