Father Emmanuel Asi, secretary of the Biblical Commission of Pakistan, denounced this week that Christians in that country are experiencing “social discrimination, political oppression and religious persecution.”
Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Father Asi explained that Christians in Pakistan are considered second-class citizens who are denied the most basic of human rights.
Father Asi made his comments as the 60th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan was marked on August 14. In his opinion, the ideal of the “father of the Pakistani nation,” Ali Jinnah, has faded and the openness to others without discrimination which he championed no longer exists.
He went on to note that aggression against Christians for religious reasons leads to “all kinds of problems one can imagine,” and thus many believers live in fear.
“The Church encourages the faithful to celebrate the national holidays, in order to promote a greater sense of community between the members of different religions in the country,” he stressed.
Christians make up 1.5% of the 167 million inhabitants of Pakistan.
The Catholic Biblical Commission, which receives assistance from Aid to the Church in Need, has published a ninth edition of the Bible in Urdu, which together with English is the official language of Pakistan. “Our Catholic faithful nourish a natural and innate love for Sacred Scripture,” Father Asi said.