ASIA/PAKISTAN - Pakistani Christians in Italy: motion for religious freedom

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Rome (Agenzia Fides) – To propose a motion on religious freedom in Pakistan to Italian politicians, to be approved in Parliament; to invite the international community and the Italian government - especially during the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union - to ask Pakistan to defend and protect religious minorities: are the goals of the Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy who on December 2 at 11,30 am will hold a conference in Palazzo Montecitorio, seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament. The conference takes its cue from the severe episode regarding Shama and Shahzad Masih, a Christian married couple burned alive in a brick-kiln on November 4, and intends to discuss the anti-blasphemy law but also of the slavery of Christians in the brick-kilns, a widespread phenomenon in Pakistan. The conference involves several Italian MPs and prof. Shahid Mobeen, founder of the Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy.
"The tragic murder of the couple is yet another case of extrajudicial killings linked to accusations of blasphemy", says the note sent to Fides, "and is used in particular to target religious minorities". "The episdode - concludes the text - also highlights the tragic fate of brick kiln workers in Pakistan. Entire families are enslaved to repay debts to factory owners and forced to work in inhuman conditions. It is estimated that between three and eight million Pakistanis are victims of this present-day form of slavery". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 29/11/2014)