Why I need religious asylum

Hi, I am Ahsan Nabi Khan (John). I manage Jesus World Mission as General Secretary. I manage the Facebook page and the blog of Jesus World Mission since 2012. The blog has been wiped out several times because of the danger on me as the sole author, especially in Pakistan. Now that I have taken refuge in United Kingdom, I feel a little normal writing about my past experience as a Christian in Pakistan and in United Kingdom, the main reason for being here is that I am a Christian and I can freely work and live here than in Pakistan.

To tell you the truth, life in Pakistan for an average converted Christian is so unfair that there would be no more questions as to why I chose to study in UK. I did not apply for asylum from Pakistan. I had to be methodical. First I applied in University of Derby as a PhD candidate. I would have been studying the same had I not been knocked out by the same discrimination, albeit on a smaller scale, by a professor who wanted a Muslim “Empire” carved out of University of Derby. I was after all a most unwelcome addition as I was a Christian. The doctor supervisor said my research papers were worth not reading and I should ask other research fellows to read them. Hence the imperialist Muslim doctor supervisor was not in himself a supervisor after all.

I asked myself: If I do not apply for asylum, this doctor would replace me from the research office with another strong Muslim from Pakistan and I would have to go back and suffer the same religious discrimination on a wider scale in Pakistan. Therefore, I struck the blow. And The Home Office considered I have a valid case, in fact a strong case for asylum.

Referring back to the episodes of discrimination in Pakistan, I have worked in Teradata, University of Lahore, and University of Engineering and Technology, where I was initially allowed to work and considered a promising resource, but despite my disability as a Schizophrenia patient, I was terminated for being what I was. I knew I could not be adjusted as a Christian in a Muslim majority country where they get radicalized every day into believing it is a dishonor and shame that I have come to Christ. All the places that I work I was asked to keep silent about my religious beliefs from my fellow workers, who happened to threaten. The owner showed no empathy in a country where there are special laws that ensure a single Muslim can send a whole town behind bars for blasphemy. Yes, these days when I left Pakistan, the country was on the boiling point of religious intolerance. How can I safely study and work in such a country is not a far fetched idea. Christians are particularly endangered in Pakistan. I was no exception. Without a doubt, I was threatened and warned to return back otherwise face the consequences. Doing a sustainable job is impossible for me in Pakistan.

My story of religious persecution started from 11 September 2011, as I was baptized by a world renown pastor and televangelist, Pastor Anwar Fazal. They asked me, what name should we call you, I had not decided then about John, so I said: Ahsan Nabi Khan. My original name meaning coincides with John. So in England, I adopted it.

I used to attend the Church but the pastors there warned me about the dangers and said you just hide your faith. I tried to but I never lied. If someone asked me about my faith I had to tell the truth. I am a Christian. Discrimination started after that.

In 2011, I was given a chance to teach in my parent university, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. This university was private and had a religious mindset from the inception. I was given full scholarship as a Muslim student, but once I said “Merry Christmas” to the teachers, they became furious and disappointed in my attitude towards their faith. Things didnt change overnight but things change for bad. I with my depression for being jobless and the university gradually deteriorating its standard, banned me from its campus with one pretext: Are you the same bearded religious Ahsan Nabi Khan or the clean shaven Teradata employee. Regardless, you are banned from the University. Christianity in Teradata as my testimony became so strong that University security team banned me without any other cause! The same happened in University of Derby because of the influence of same group of scholars. They have treated me like the Jews, considered anti-Semitism their choice of reaction.

In 2011, I joined University of Engineering and Technology, hiding my faith. I kept professional and have the honor of writing two research papers of international repute with my immediate academic supervisor. When he realized that I was discriminated against for my knowledge and interest in The Bible, he supported my endeavour till the time he managed to get me a route to PhD in his parent university, IPN, Mexico. With my Masters in UET, two of the teachers agreed to forward their reference letters for my admission to the right university. Because they knew living in Pakistan was dangerous for me, especially with the mental illness that I had. My parents could not agree less. But as it happened, The Lord did not want me to study in IPN or any other university as a PhD scholar but to take me from Lahore to Derby, as an asylum seeker.