Commentary: Israel & Palestine v. Pakistan

For hundreds of years, in the wartorn Holy Land, two Muslim families have held then keys and had the duty to open the Church of the Sepulcher for Sunday services, in particular Easter.


Despite the crusades, Turkish rule, Catholic rule, colonial rule, Israeli rule, two world wars, three subsequent wars between Arab nations and Israel, and three violent uprisings by Palestinians against Israel, the two Muslim families have kept their oath to safeguard their Christian brothers and sisters' most sacred church. An example of multi-pluralism.


Yet in Pakistan, a country with no history (as it is artificial), Pakistanis insult Christians and other non-Muslims regularly. Pakistanis often describe Christians in bigoted terms, calling them outcastes (even though Islam forbids castes), polluted, and pressuring them to convert to Sunni Islam, not for faith, but just to be in the majority. Pakistan cynically flies a flag whose white bar is supposed to symbolize tolerance for all faiths. That is and has been a lie for some time. Palestine has no need for a bar on its flag. For centuries, freedom of religion has been the only way anyone has thought of living there.


If in Israel and Palestine, where religious identity wars have continually found a way to complicate all things, Muslims can take oaths that began under a Caliphate to protect the holiest of churches, then why today in a Pakistan that was founded by a secular elite can we not find anyone willing to send soldiers to protect Christians in a park named after a religious nationalist they frequent on Easter?


It's simple; Islamabad is and remains complicit with the ethnic cleansing and religious persecution of Christians and other minority groups. We must demand Islamabad be held accountable.