Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Hindu migration a concern in Pakistan
Every month one family migrates to India, say action groupsPritam K. Rohila with his wife in Lahore, Pakistan
- Ayyaz Gulzar, Karachi
- March 17, 2011
‚ÄúEvery month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes,‚ÄĚ said Jaipal Chabria, a Hindu politician in Pakistan.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that every year about 300 Hindu girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will in Sindh province alone.
Hyderabad diocese‚Äôs Vicar General Father Samson Shukardin also referred to ‚Äúincreasing frustration‚ÄĚ among minority groups. ‚ÄúMost of the cases registered from Hindu families are from the Haris (peasants) community. The recent murder of the only Catholic federal minister has also increased desperation among minority groups,‚ÄĚ said the director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in the Catholic diocese in Sindh province. ‚ÄúMany Christian families wish to leave the country but cannot do so because they are poor,‚ÄĚ he said adding ‚ÄúMinorities are feeling left out.‚ÄĚ
Out of a population of 170 million, 78 percent are Sunnis, 16 percent Shiites and 6 percent non-Muslims. Christians are the second largest minority after Hindus, who make up 1.6 percent of Pakistan‚Äôs population. About 90 percent of the Hindus live in the rural southern region.
The recent number of Hindus is the sharpest decline in contrast to 20 percent of the population at the time of country‚Äôs independence in 1947, Chabria said.
‚ÄúThe mass migration, the non return of the Hindu community is bad news. Other minority groups including Christians and Ahmadis are discriminated likewise,‚ÄĚ said Pritam K. Rohila from the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia. ‚ÄúThe younger generation do not trust the government any more and opt for living abroad,‚ÄĚ he said. The use of religion for power and politics will only distance people from the county‚Äôs establishment, he added.
Media reports say about 30 temples remain out of 300 Hindu places of worship at the time of independence.
Rights group say that Pakistan‚Äôs stringent laws relating to religion have been used to persecute minority faiths. Hundreds of Christians are said to be among the accused.