Bishop Brennan speaks up for religious freedom in Pakistan
On behalf of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC), Bishop William Brennan of Wagga Wagga has spoken out in support of a hunger strike by Christians in Pakistan intended to bring about reforms to the country's discriminatory electoral system.
Catholic officials including Bishop Samuel Robert Azaraih took part in the first 'token hunger strike', which began yesterday in Lahore. Christian Church leaders in Pakistan are demanding the restoration of the non-discriminatory Joint Electorate System that was enshrined in the original Pakistan Constitution of 1973. The system has been replaced with another which favours the majority Muslim population.
Bishop Brennan said: "We fear that the system of Separate Electorates creates and reinforces divisions among the citizens of Pakistan encouraging religious bigotry and restricting the voting choices of all citizens, Muslims and members of religious minorities alike. The ACSJC is committed to the promotion of religious tolerance and the freedom of religion and belief for all people everywhere and so we support the struggle of religious minorities in Pakistan for full and equal rights as citizens."