- Posted October 13, 2012 by
Catholic Christians in Bhimber Azad Jammu & Kashmir Pakistan.
Christians are living in Bhimber (Bhimber is a district of Azad jammu and Kashmir, one of the districts of Azad Kashmir) from more than half century. They came from Punjab (Pakistani Province) and Jammu (Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir). There are more than 100 families of Chrsitans in Bhimber).
Community Present Condition
People who can read and write are few, even they are not highly educated. Some people have permanent jobs, majority is working on temporary bases in Baldia Bhimber. Half families don't have own houses, there is no church for Catholics, no Christian School, no dispensary. Young boys are uneducated and unemployed. Due to these two reasons young boys are using drugs. There is No representative of Christian community in local Government and in Legislative Assembly. Literacy rate is very low.
Catholics and Protestants
In Bhimber there are two main sects of Christians. A church is situated in Christian Colony Bhimber A.k. It was Built in 1989-90 by joint effort of both sects. In 1998 due to some religious complications, Catholic got separate from Protestants. After one year of separation one fight was fought between both sects and many people got injured.
Issue of Catholic Church in relation with Parish House Gujarat.
As Catholics got separated from Protestants and decided to build own church. The struggle was started in 1998. In Gujarat Parish House Rev. Father Shareef and Catechist Babu Hanif was working they both were co-operative for Catholics of Bhimber. There were a lot of efforts from them even they give monthly Church fund for Bhimber. After both of them transferred from Gujarat to other areas. Father Rehmat and Father Akram Gill are mentionable for there cooperation with Bhimber. On 16 March 2002 Bishop Anthony Lobo visit Bhimber A.K. Raja Zulqarnain was also invited there. Unfortunately catholic representative wasted all Church fund on that program. There were lot of promises from Politicians and Diocese of Rawalpindi. Now a day Rev. Father Tariq Bhatti is appointed in Gujrat Parish House. There is no remarkable effort from him, even he rarely visit Bhimber, approximately he visit 2 or 3 Sunday per year. Even in 2010 at a stage local Government of Bhimber said that call your Father so that we give you land for Church after discussing with him but he denied even when some people got angry on him that you promising us and not coming here again and again then our Rev Father said "I will not come, what can you do to me? go and do what you can against me".
Issue of Catholic Church in relation with Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Besides the Gujarat Parish house the another way for Catholic Church is Govt. of Azad Jammu and Kashmir as different Representative of Govt. often promised to give land for Church and for those families who don't have own houses. Some of these representatives are Raja Zulqarnain Khan and Chudhary Anwar-ul-Haq. According to last 12 years history Government promised to give land for Church and some families, and Parish House will built Church. Political leaders are using this issue for political benefits from 12 years even Raja Zulqarnain remained President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir from 25 August 2006 to 25 August 2011. During these years he didn’t do anything for Catholic Church, remember Raja Zulqarnian was student of Bishop Anthony Lobo. Former MLA of Bhimber Chouhdary Anwar-Ul-Haq remained Speaker of Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir from 16 August 2010 to 25th July 2011. He was also unable to do anything for poor Catholic Christians of Bhimber.
Issue of Catholic Church in relation with local Catholic Leaders.
There are three main catholic persons. Who called themselves as leaders of Catholic in Bhimber. Boota Masih, less educated sweeper at Raja Zulqarnain's House. He called himself as Chairman of Catholics. According to him no one can get any documents of land for church from Raja but he can. There is a competition between Boota Masih and Smoil Siraj as who can pass land for church from Government. So if one of them is nearly to success for getting land, then other uses his contact with authorities and further development stops. The tragedy is continuously happening. Third is Babu Mehnga Samson.
Jesus Lovers' Welfare Workers
Jesus Lovers' Welfare Workers starts there work as Jesus Lovers' Prayer Group. The purpose of Jesus Lovers' Welfare Workers was to educate Christian children religiously. This group is organizing Happy Christmas Celebration program annually. There were many projects as providing children's religious books, Stationary for School, etc. Due to financial problem all projects was stopped and not yet started again. However young boys are still working for the betterment of Christian Colony. The annual projects which are renewed again are as following:
1. Efforts for Catholic Church Bhimber. A fund is being started and JLWW members and some others are giving this monthly from last month. Soon a joint account of at least 3 members will be open in Bank and Account number will be spread everywhere so if someone want to give fund from any part of world he can give through bank account.)
2. Graveyard's Protection. There are efforts from JLWW to protect graveyard from land sliding and we want to make wall on the sides of graveyard. There are pictures available on our facebook account you can guess what we are doing there. Sadly our Catholic leaders wasted 642000 which were passed by government for four side boundary wall. Due to these unbearable acts young boys decided to never take these leaders along with them.
3. Present Protestants Church's Protection. JLWW never differentiate between Catholic and Protestants. Annual Happy Christmas Celebration program includes Christians of both sects every year. All efforts are without any difference.
4. Effort for Christian School. Generally Christian students are getting education in Muslim Schools normally. Teachers are very honest to them. Students are also cooperative. But often some incidents reported due to some bad behavior of some teachers and students a remarkable no of Christian students leave there study. A Christian school is needed.
5. Effort for a local Dispensary in Colony. As hospitals are at some distance so a dispensary is also needed especially for kids and women's.
6. Efforts for finding opportunities of jobs for Young boys. As it is mentioned above that maximum no of Christians are jobless are not on permanent jobs, so for young boys jobs are needed so they can earn money for there monthly family needs.
With best wishes
Shakeel Anjum Saawan