by Gordon Nary
Gordon: When did you join St. Philips Catholic Church, Karachi, Pakistan?
Shomaila: I am born Catholic and I am a member of this church from my childhood.
Gordon: Approximately how many members’ does St. Philips have and what are some of the activities that St. Philips sponsors?
Shomaila: Approximately more than 150 members and they sponsored Sunday school, Legion of Mary groups, youth, Bible reader groups.
Gordon: Approximate how many Catholics are there in Pakistan and what percentage of the population is Catholic?
Shomaila: There are over 2.6 million Catholics in Pakistan which represents less than 1% of the total population,
Gordon: Please comment on the history of persecution of Catholics in Pakistan.
Shomaila: After a few countries of steady conquest, Muslim armies had taken all the month. Africa the Middle East, Asia Minor, in other words, the end of the eleventh century the force of Islam had captured two-thirds of the Christian World. Current information of Christianity first 250 years estimates 129 years of persecution and 120 years of peace.
Gordon: How active is Taliban in Pakistan?
Shomaila: The Taliban are openly active in 70% of Afghanistan districts full controlling 4% of the country
Gordon: Approximately what percentage of the people of Pakistan live in poverty and what impact has poverty has on your parish?
Shomaila: It was estimated that 17.2% of the total population lived near the poverty line. However, progress across different regions of Pakistan is uneven poverty in urban areas is 9.3% as compared to 54.6% in rural areas.
Gordon: Please comment on child kidnapping and human trafficking in Pakistan.
Shomaila: In Pakistan, they are kidnapped for several reasons 1) for child abuse 2) they are kidnapped by powerful beggars gangs and they introduce disabilities into kids so many people give more money to kids with disabilities (a child without hands or eyes) it is easy to kidnap a kid in comparison with elders because they are innocent and easy to lure it is important for parents to always keep an eye on them and talking about human trafficking the Pakistan government made progress in its efforts to prevent human trafficking the Punjab provincial government continued implementation of it's 1.4 million projects this project helped nearly 6,000 bonded laborers.
Gordon: Please explain the Green Pakistan Project?
Shomaila: In Pakistan, the percentage of tree planting is very low which is the reason of global warming which brought a rise in temperature day by day. Severe extreme weather could lead to death from dehydration and heatstroke. So on 14 August, Catholic communities decided to start a project to make Pakistan green and to control global warming in which each family has to plant one tree.
Gordon: Please provide an overview of the Yoke Movement and your responsibilities.
Shomaila: YOKE Movement is an American non-profit organization. They appoint me in 2016 as a Director of Yoke Movement Pakistan and promised that yoke will support your organization with a minimum of $200 every month Yoke Movement helps us five months regularly but after five months they excused us because of some internal issues of Yoke Movement.
Gordon: You have organized the Mercy Station Welfare Association. Please provide an overview of your mission and the people that you serve
Shomaila: Currently we have 10 students enrolled with our centre and we are helping them with our customized and tailored curriculum. We are providing free education, vocational training, lunch, books, copies, and all the stationery items to the children's and also helping and supporting 10 needy families with their basic needs of life such as food and groceries and now we are looking forward to start sewing and computer classes for youth.
Gordon: With all of the poverty in Pakistan, where have you been able to secure financial support for your important mission?
Shomaila: Yes, it's really hard for us to manage sometimes we are not getting any financial support from any Association. We are doing it on our own but our family is very supportive they contribute and make donations for us. This is very helpful but also it's not enough to manage an NGO and needs some families but we are still doing it because we know that God is helping us through thick and thin.
Gordon: We are asking our readers to make a donation if possible to support Mercy Station Welfare Association. Because of mail theft in Pakistan Your pastor Fr. Gul Shahzad has recommended that our readers send a donation to support Mercy Station Welfare Association directly to their bank account
Summit Bank Gulshan e Iqbal (2) branch, Karachi.
All donations are now tax-deductible in the US.
Gordon: Thank you for a beautiful and informative interview. I pray that some of our readers will send you a donation.