TORONTO: Pakistani-Canadians of all faiths on Wednesday gathered in Mississauga, Toronto to express solidarity with the Pakistani Christian youth Sajid Masih who had reportedly humped off the fourth floor of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building in Lahore after being forced by the FIA investigation officials to have sex with his cousin, Patras Masih, accused of blasphemy.
It was an extremely cold night in Toronto yet the passionate Pakistanis showed up in good numbers, raising slogans for Sajid Masih. The protesters were addressed by Shaan Taseer, son of late Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, also murdered by his own guard over blasphemy charges that were later found baseless.
“Entire colonies are being burnt down. What is the crime of Sajid Masih, Patras Masih, Asia Bibi or Shehzad Masih? The only crime they’ve done is of being born a Christian in Pakistan”, he said.
Taseer said that it was high time that we all spoke up and each one of us became Asma Jahangir (veteran Pakistani human rights activist who died last month). “Today, no Shia, no Ahmadi, no Christian, no Hindu, no Pashtoon, no Hazara can walk freely in Pakistan. This is religious racism. Where is the Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam had promised? We want a country where everyone’s rights are equal. This is not the Pakistan for which the Christian and Ahmadi communities had fought for alongside Quaid-e-Azam”, he said.
He said that we needed a Pakistan which was for everyone, where no minority community would have to suffer at the hands of religious extremists. The protesters also raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans on the occasion.
Poet Salman Hayder, who had been abducted last year by Pakistani authorities for his outspoken criticism of the state’s oppressive policies, was also present on the occasion. He recited his satirical poem ‘Main Bhi Kafir, Tu Bhi Kafir’, which is fast turning into a legendary anthem for the liberal youth in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that the protest was arranged primarily by Pakistani Muslims living in Canada and they were led by Shaan Taseer. It was unfortunate though that the participation of the Pakistani Christian community in the protest was negligible.