Date: Sunday, November 17, 2013
Originally posted by http://www.christianpost.com/news/pakistani-christian-family-in-hiding-pleads-for-un-help-fears-for-lives-108210/
A Pakistani Christian family currently in hiding and living in poor condition in Sri Lanka are pleading with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to grant them refugee status, as they fear they might be killed if they are brought back to Pakistan.
"We need help," 29-year old Sadia Khan directly stated to The Christian Post in a phone interview on Tuesday. "We are now seven months in hiding."
Khan, along with her 11-year-old sister Amala, and their mother, converted to Christianity in Pakistan several years ago. She then began writing a book about terrorism, and according to investigative work she carried out, she found out that allegedly several Pakistani generals and security officials have been supportive of terrorist activities.
The Christian family fled to Sri Lanka in January 2012 after fearing their lives might be in danger, and Sadia was accused of being a spy for India by the Sri Lankan government, who reported her in every police station as a wanted high profile criminal. In Sri Lanka, however, they were held under detention for a month, and had their passports and other possessions confiscated.
In April, they left detention and have been in hiding in Sri Lanka ever since, afraid that they might face the death penalty if brought back to Pakistan.
"After seven months of exhausting hiding my mother left us and once again begged UNHCR to give us asylum," Khan explained to CP.
"She came back empty handed to the empty house which we had left due to the fear of being caught. Now separated from our mother we live in a different location and everyday fear death."
The family hope that UNHCR will finally take up their cause and help them find asylum, but so far they say they haven't received much hope that the international agency will take action.
"We are so helpless, I can't explain (how much.) Can you imagine, two governments are after us," Khan concluded.
The sisters have written about their ordeal on several blogs, hoping to raise awareness for their cause and get the U.N.'s attention.
A Google + community with over 250 members has also been set up in their support under the title "Save the Life of Two Blogger Sisters."
"If we get arrested they will definitely kill us as they do not have any proof against us. They will not hold any trial against us, as UNHCR, human rights groups, including Amnesty International, know about these charges and will follow the trial. Sri Lankan authorities will secretly kill us as they cannot prove anything against us," Sadia Khan wrote in a letter addressed to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors ranked Pakistan at number 14 on their 2013 World Watch List of worst persecutors of Christians.
"Christians are caught between Islamic militant organizations, an Islamizing culture and a weak government with a military complicit in fuelling Islamic militants," Open Doors wrote about Pakistan, and brought up other cases of blasphemy that are often used to try and suppress religious freedom.
"Many persecuted Christians are uneducated manual workers who suffer unfair treatment from employers. Muslim men continue to sexually assault underage Christian girls. Opening a new church building is virtually impossible and emigration of Christians continues."