A Pakistani Christian group has called on the government to allow Christians to go on pilgrimage to Holy Land Christian sites in Israel. God’s Peoples Fellowship of Pakistan (GPFP), a Karachi-based Christian organization, which seeks diplomatic ties with Israel, staged a protest on Sunday outside the Karachi press club to demand the lifting of the travel ban on Pakistani Christian to Israel.
Ashraf P Butt, Secretary-General of the GPFP, told UCANews that since Pakistan doesn’t recognize the state of Israel and does not maintain any diplomatic ties, the Christian community in Pakistan has been deprived of their legitimate religious rights. He criticized the Supreme Court for dismissing a GPFP petition seeking a lifting of the ban.
“We deem Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the holy city of King David, the Skull place where Jesus Christ was crucified, Nazareth, Galilee and other such places sacred,” Butt said. Pervaiz Khan, a pastor, said Christians are only asking for the rights to visit holy places in Israel. “When Muslims can freely go to Mecca and Medina for pilgrimage, why can’t we exercise our religious obligations guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan,” he said.
All Pakistani passports are valid for travel to all countries of the world except Israel. Under Israeli law, Pakistan is a designated an enemy state and Israeli citizens may not visit Pakistan without a special permit issued by the Israeli Interior Ministry. (Source: UCAN)