Rome: An art work prepared by children of a Pakistani Christian couple was presented to Pope Francis in the Vatican. A Pakistani Christian human rights campaigner advocate Aneeqa Anthony carried the distinctive gift to the Pontiff. On November 4, 2014, Shama and Shahzad were burnt alive in a brick kiln over false charges of blasphemy.
On June 22, Advocate Aneeqa Anthony presented a brick painted to the Pontiff during the general audience. The brick was painted by the children of Shahzad and Shama, whilst the brick symbolizing countless Christians enslaved in brick factories in Pakistan. Pope Francis courteously accepted the gift, and interestingly listened to the details of the incident shared with him by Advocate Aneeqa.
Advocate Aneeqa told the Pontiff, “This modest gift from my country was designed by the children of slaves, who like many Christians, toiled in a brick factory. They were forced to witness how their parents Shama and Shahzad, were burned alive in a brick kiln by a fanatical mob for alleged blasphemy in November of 2014. My colleagues and I, who are lawyers, put the suspects behind bars.”
“We are all no longer safe in our home. Pakistan is not a safe country of origin – not for Christians like us, and especially not for the children of Shama and Shahzad. European countries should not close their doors to suffering Christians. Help us convince their governments!”