The pastoral workers of Christian churches will be crucial to promote awareness on the importance of the census which will begin in Pakistan in March.
"It is necessary to take a step forward to unite all the
baptized, without distinction of confession, involving every pastoral
worker, from the Bishops, to priests and catechists, in order to have
the correct numbers on our Christian communities", said to Agenzia Fides
Archbishop Joseph Coutts, at the head of the Catholic Archdiocese of
In recent days, the Catholic Church gathered its pastoral worker
together with those of the Anglican Church of Pakistan, Karachi led by
Bishop Sadiq Daniel. They all agreed that the "2017 Census is very
important for the Christian community, not only for our development, but
also for our rights".
Both churches have decided to launch a public
awareness campaign that will start from the Sunday liturgical
celebrations and will extend to all ecclesial meetings.
Anthony Naveed, special assistant for interreligious harmony to the
Minister of Sindh province, will carry out seminars to inform and
educate all pastoral workers on the procedures to actively participate
in the 2017 census. Naveed started to explain some of the procedures to
the participants asking Christian families to prepare the necessary
documents to answer the census. "It will be an important moment for us
Christians: we can be recognized for our real numbers. This census will
determine our future", he said.
Some have in fact mentioned the issue of political representation of
minorities. Zahid Farooq, a Christian social worker, said: "In the first
national assembly at the time of the founding of Pakistan, there were
145 seats including 10 reserved for minorities; now there are 342 seats,
but the seats for minorities have not changed and are still 10".
In December 2016, Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered the government of
Pakistan to hold the sixth census in the country in March 2017. The
operation will take place in two phases: the first from 15 March to 14
April, the second from April 25 to 24 May.
The fifth census was held in 1998, then in 2008. According to data - ten
years ago – figures to be updated - religious minorities in Pakistan
was 2.8% of the population, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis,
Jews and other groups.