In a remarkable turn of events, Tabita Nazir Gill, a Christian nurse from Pakistan, was able to escape false blasphemy charges with the help of Bishop Iftikhar Indryas, a respected religious leader. Bishop Indryas ensured Tabita’s safe relocation to Canada, where she can rebuild her life free from persecution. This story highlights the challenges faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and the need for international collaboration to protect the rights and safety of those persecuted due to their beliefs.
Tabita, a dedicated Christian nurse known for her gospel hymns, found herself at the center of false accusations under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Nurse colleagues of the majority religion, without trying to confirm the allegations with Tabita, physically assaulted, insulted, and tortured her, forcing her to flee for her life. Following investigations by the police the accusations made by some of Tabita’s colleagues were proved to be baseless, rooted in personal grudges and religious intolerance.
Bishop Iftikhar Indryas, known for his work in interfaith dialogue and humanitarianism, stepped in to assist Tabita. His persistent struggle ensured her safe departure from the country and provided her with temporary shelter in Dubai. Utilizing his network and resources, Bishop Indryas facilitated her relocation to Canada, where she received refugee status due to the threats, she faced in her home country.
Tabita’s story highlights the crucial role of international collaboration in safeguarding the rights and safety of individuals persecuted for their beliefs. It underscores the significance of prompt action by the Canadian government, which collaborated closely with Bishop Indryas to ensure Tabita’s protection and resettlement.
This account also emphasizes the ongoing challenges faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and the need for legal reforms to prevent the misuse of blasphemy laws.
The chairperson of Voice for Justice and Minority rights activist Joseph Jansen stressed that the government of Pakistan has failed to protect the rights of minorities facing religious hatred taking the form of false accusations of blasphemy. They need to work to prioritize religious tolerance and human right.
In addition, he also said that, the story of Tabita is alarming, as the Christians in Pakistan love their country and families, nobody wants to leave their loved ones. If it’s happening, it is due to lack of protection for victims of false accusations.
He urged authorities to prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes against minorities, as they leave accused deprived from the rights and benefits as citizens.
He also stressed upon the collective responsibility of all the concerned stakeholders to advocate for legal reforms, protect the vulnerable, and create a society where diversity is celebrated and all individuals are respected, regardless of their faith, he maintained
Let us stand united in the pursuit of a future where no one is discriminated against or persecuted based on their beliefs, Jansen added. During the UN Human Rights Council’s 53rd Session Joseph Jansen, representing the Jubilee Campaign raised the concerns and challenges of religious minorities, in the Pakistan’s Universal Periodic Review.
Women Rights Activist, Miss Shireen Aslam pointed out the importance of the safety of women at their workplaces.
Underlining the harassment of women in workplaces on the basis of religious discrimination, she said that the exit of professionals like Tabita from the country will add to the brain drain and will discourage the religious minorities in participating in the professional spheres.
“Technical staff and skilled professionals especially women in the field of medicine sustains important roles. Religious intolerance and discrimination is minimising the participation of minority women in the economic activities. It will add to their financial challenges and poverty.
She also urged authorities to ensure safety of minority women at public offices and take serious steps to restore the confidence of minorities after this unfortunate incident.
“Other than authorities we as individuals, must play our role to lower down the religious extremism in the society, as all the people around us are not negative, we must focus upon the positivity” she concluded.