|The Baha'i Community of Pakistan celebrating their Holy Day in Swimming Pool|
|Pakistani Baha'i teaching "Moral Lessons" to Non-Baha'i children in a Baha'i Centre|
|Baha'i Hall, Karachi|
According to their founder Bahaullah’s book of laws called Kitab-i-Aqdas, wherever nine or more Bahai followers are found, an elected council or an LSA must be set up to serve the community. As the Bahai faith has no ordained clergy or priestly institutions, the LSA organises religious activities and holidays.
Talking to The News, a female gynecologist and member of the LSA traced her family’s journey to Pakistan in the 1980s. Both her parents belong to Iran and are of Persian descent. Though faced with persecution under the Shah Pahlavi’s regime, new laws passed under the 1979 revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini banned the Bahai people from attending universities, working in government jobs, and burying their dead. Incidents of illegal police raids, ransacking of homes, graveyard desecration and destruction of Bahai centres became popular in post-1979 Iran.
|For more details on Kitab-i-Aqdas (the most holy books of Baha'is) please check :|
Settled in Lahore and working as a gynecologist, the female LSA member said she was invited to participate in interfaith meetings in Lahore and never faced religious discrimination in her daily life. According to a male representative, a cemetery for Bahai people in Lahore was allotted to them by the District City Government Lahore and was situated here near the University of Education Township campus.
|Baha'i Study Circle in Azerbaijan|
As the faith is open to conversion and welcomes people of all faiths to acquire knowledge through its impressive libraries, conversion to Bahai faith in Pakistan can be traced to the years and decades before the arrival of Iranian Bahai people in the country. Talking to The News, a female member narrated her conversion to Bahaism. Her father, in pre-partition Lahore, was fond of reading the scriptures of other religions and encouraged his children to follow in his path. The female LSA member, a Bahai convert accompanied her father on a trip to a Bahai centre in the city and soon became interested in the teachings of Bahaullah. Thereafter, she joined the community and now serves as an elected member of the Local Spiritual Assembly (LSA). Though the Bahai faith has no institutional clergy, there are laws and social customs which regulate the lives of Bahai people.
As per the International Bahai Council and consensus within the community, followers of Bahaullah are restricted from entering politics and filling leadership positions.
|Some Pakistani Baha'is Singing & Dancing|
Speaking on this subject, a male LSA member said the purpose behind this was to prevent disunity within the faith on account of rival political alliances and desire of power. Despite voting in Pakistan’s numerous elections, Bahai people are not encouraged to disclose their choice of political parties. Worldwide voting for all Bahai assemblies takes place through secret ballots and campaigning for seats in the assemblies is strictly prohibited as per Bahai scripture, according to LSA members in Lahore.
The Bahai Gardens in Haifa, Israel bear special importance for Bahai people as they surround the Shrine of Bab where the remains of their prophet Bab was buried after his execution in modern-day Iran. Yet, members of the Bahai Local Spiritual Assembly (LSA) in Lahore have accepted without reservations the travel ban placed on all Pakistanis by the Government of Pakistan to Israel.
|Kishen Manocha with Late Shahbaz Bhatti|
|Kishen Manocha (with Robert Weinberg, who works in Baha'i World Centre Haifa) is a Baha'i from Pakistan who is a frequent traveler to Israel.|
He and his Pakistani 'Professor' friend have good contacts with the government officials in Pakistan.
News Source :
Images From :