Saturday the 23rd - INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN VOICE - Free Joomla 3.2 Templates

On Saturday December 21, 2013, the Pakistani Consulate of Toronto celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ with the Pakistani Canadian Christian community. This was a huge milestone as this was the first time that Christmas has been celebrated at the Pakistani consulate in Toronto.

The weather condition was terrible however many people were present to witness this historical event. We were much honored to have the presence of the Ambassador for the Office of International Religious Freedom, Dr Andrew Bennett and MP. Joe Daniel.

The Master of Ceremonies, Nitasha Bhatti started the event by welcoming all who were present on behalf of the Pakistani Consulate of Toronto.

The evening started with a recitation from the Holy Quran by Mr. Sajjad Mustaf Bajwa and a prayer and Christmas massage was given by Father Michael D\\\'Cruz. Following the prayers, both the Canadian and Pakistani national anthems were sung.

 

Hon. Mohammed Nafees Zakaria and Mr. Peter Bhatti shared their thoughts following the national anthems.

Youtube video

 

Hon. Mohammed Nafees Zakaria acknowledged the large numbers of Christians living in Pakistan and the significant number of Pakistani Christians in Canada. He also acknowledged that the Pakistani Christian community has played a vital role in the social,economic and political development of Pakistan. He named Sir Victor Cornelius and Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti as those who stood out. He also paid tribute to the founding father of Pakistan who was also born on the 25th of December. He then wished all Christians a very happy Christmas.

Mr. Peter Bhatti then shared his gratitude to Mr. Nafees Zakaria for allowing Christmas celebrations to take place in the Pakistani consulate in Toronto for the first time. He then shared a little about the meaning of Christmas and the reason for why Jesus came into this world. Mr. Bhatti also paid his tribute to Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He then asked everyone to remember those who are suffering due to persecution and victimization because of their Lord Jesus Christ and aren\\\'t able to celebrate Christmas. He appreciate the government of Pakistan to given 5% quota in jobs and 4 seat in senate to religious minorities of Pakistan and also asked to Government of Pakistan for safety and security of Christians Churches on Christmas day.

The honorable guest for the night, Dr. Andrew Bennett, the Ambassador for the office of International Religious Freedom Canada also shared his thoughts. Dr. Andrew Bennett thanked Mr. Nafees Zakaria for taking the initiative to celebrate Christmas. He said that the taking of this step spoke of highly of Mr. Zakaria and his government. He spoke of how Christmas brings to mind peace, the blessings we have received and receiving of new life. He said the birth of Jesus has taught us to look at one another in the likeness of God. He then spoke of how great of a leader the founding father of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah was.

MP Joe Daniel and Mr. Nicholas Mantas, a representative from the office of Hon. Jim Karygiannis, also shared their Christmas greetings and thoughts towards the event.

Following the speeches, the cake cutting ceremony took place. Following the cake cutting, all in attendance proceeded towards dinner. The prayer for dinner was said by Rev. Dr. Rashid Gill.

The community\\\'s\\\' very talented singers entertained all who were present by singing Christmas carols and Pakistan\\\'s national songs after the dinner. Ms. Sheeza Sabir, Mr. Susheel Harrison, Mr. Max Gill, Mr. Raja Harrison and Mr. Philip Patrick did an amazing job with singing songs of Christ\\\'s birth. The Spirit of Christmas was truly felt due to these lovely voices.

Exclusive footage of Shahbaz Bhatti\'s interview

Pakistani Christian Asylum Seeker Dies in IDC, Bangkok, Thailand

International Christian Voice (ICV) is very saddened to learn that 36-year-old Pakistani Christian asylum seeker Mr. Ijaz Paras Masih has died in Bangkok, Thailand while in an Immigration Detention Centre. He had been facing serious health concerns for many months and succumbed to his illness on May 26, 2017 due to a lack of medical treatment.

In the IDC, his health deteriorated substantially. His first heart attack occurred last year and he had become paralyzed since. He repeatedly requested Thai officials in the IDC to provide him with the appropriate medical treatment but it was not provided to him, ultimately leading  to  his death. Ijaz Masih is sadly not the first Pakistani Christian who has died inside a detention centre due to the negligence of Thai Authorities and local UNHCR officials. Many other individuals and families continue to suffer from the maltreatment and inhumane conditions inside Thai IDCs.

   Ijaz Paras Masih

 

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Backgrounder - Diefenbaker Award and Recipients Shahbaz Bhatti

Shahbaz Bhatti was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2008 and named Federal Minister for Minorities a portfolio he accepted because of the opportunity it offered to defend the oppressed and marginalized of Pakistan.

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