Special to ASSIST News Service
A young girl pictured outside her 'home' in an
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- When I recently visited the slum settlements of Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, I found that living in those colonies was similar to living in any far-flung areas of Sindh or Balochistan, where basic facilities do not exist.
The water supply is limited and technically not feasible to fulfill the needs of the whole vicinity. The sanitary facilities are next to none; as sewer water can be seen flowing on the main boulevard. Almost all the streets are in a dilapidated condition, while there is no process for maintenance and repair of roads in the area.
I am not blaming anyone -- the government or the majority class -- rather I must admit frankly there are rifts within the Christian community as well. The affluent ones in our community don't appear care for the poor segments just like others in the overall of Pakistani society.
Children playing in their Islamabad slum
Its permanent solution lies in the hands of the elected political figures of the constituency. If local elected representative would take an interest to solve their problems then their appalling living can be brought up to the mark.
We (Pakistani Christians) often write the stories of persecution, rape and murder that are more or less daily lot of Christians in Pakistan, but discrimination and oppression takes many less news worthy forms.
One man who is trying to make a difference to the lives of these downtrodden people is Faisal Sakhi Butt, a Pakistani businessman and politician, who obtained his Business Administration degree from Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire, UK.
Faisal Sakhi Butt
Mr. Butt is top rated candidate from Pakistan Peoples Party (the ruling party in the country) for the upcoming election and contesting for the seat of member of National Assembly from NA-48 constituency in Islamabad.
I was able recently meet with Faisal Sakhi Butt, and after a short time of talking with him, I soon felt that he is a strong voice for the weaker sections of the society, including laborers, women, children and religious minorities in the city. He works on human rights issues with a rights based approach.
Faisal Sakhi Butt has been the Chairman of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Islamabad and that position encouraged him to speak out strongly about the rights of vulnerable people of the society and to enhance his interaction with laborer groups as learned more about their many problems.
As a Muslim politician, raising his voice for minorities has not been an easy task, however, he has set a great example for highlighting the issues of the Christians of the slums. He has always spoken up whenever there were threats to the lives and properties of the minorities' community.
Faisal Sakhi Butt during his interview
with Shamim Masih
He says that if he is elected, he plans to bring a "revolutionary change" in the awful living conditions of the slum settlers in the capital. He told me that the votes of these slum settlers for him can bring change in their living standards.
He also emphasized the inculcation of hard work in our life that would not only prosper us as individuals but the whole country and, during our meeting, he strongly spoke out against the "violations of women and child rights." He shared the idea to construct the three storey flats [apartments] for these Christians, thus the provision of the necessities of life would be ensured for them. He has also been helping the poor sanitary workers and had been to their places for the Christmas celebrations this year.
There are numerous examples of his tireless efforts to help these downtrodden people in the field of human rights. He has set up very good examples of resolving issues of workers involving all the stakeholders.
Special Appeal: Faisal Sakhi Butt is a young man with great vision. Your feedback of your support for his plans would further help him to continue this great work despite the challenges especially for the Christians in Islamabad. If you like to know more about him, just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you the details.
|Shamim Masih was born in village of Sheikhupora, Pakistan, and passed his Master's Degree in Business Administration. He has worked in the banking sector for seven years and at the same time has been involved in freelance writing and working for the rights for Christians and other minorities in his country. He can be contacted by e-mail at:email@example.com|