Invitation to Mission in Pakistan: Final Day Reflection

21st August 2017 - by Nathalie Marytsch

IMG-20170819-WA0230

A small group from this country is spending a few days in Pakistan on a learning experience. Here Mauricio Silva,  Columban  Inter Religious  Dialogue  Coordinator, shares some reflections of the group’s journey.

Tomorrow  we will  leave  Pakistan  having  spent  more than  a week  in here  and  having  visited   the  cities  of Badin,  Hyderabad,  Mirpur Khas, Karachi  and  other  smaller  villages.

For  our journey back   to  Karachi the group  split in  two and  Henrietta  and  Ann  went  by  car with  Dan and    Danny, Liam  and I used public  transport.  The   four-hour journey   in the  M9  ( the ‘super  highway’  which connects  the  cities of  Hyrerabad and  Karachi) encountered  countless  of  diversions   which  are testimony  to  a more than  15 years  delay in its completion due  to lack  of  federal resources. Twice military  personnel   got on the  bus to  check   the passengers  ID moments  in  which  I  tried  to become  invisible- most likely  I did not  succeed-  fortunately, the  checks  were  not that  rigorous and a photocopy of my passport was enough.

Once  in  Karachi we were  reunited  with  our  female  companions  at  the  lovely  convent  of the   Daughters of the  Holy  Heart  of  Mary  on the grounds of  impressive  St Patrick’s  Cathedral .  Military   and  civil personnel  were  preparing  for the  state  funeral of  ‘Pakistan’s mother Theresa’,  Sr.  Ruth Pfau, who  spent   her life in  a successful fight to eradicate  leprosy.  Having  in my mind  plenty of  stories of the  struggles  faced  by  the Christian minority  in this  country,  inside  the  Cathedral I  prayed that  the  recognition gained  by this  Catholic nun,  may  be  a sign of  hope for  a  better  future for  our  brothers and  sisters in Pakistan.

After that,  we   got  again into  a  couple   of  colorful  rickshaws   to make  way  to  to  visit  the Mazar-e-Quaid, the Jinnah Mausoleum  , the resting  place of the  founder of  Pakistan. This  magnificent  building  and  the  beautiful  gardens  that  surround it,  made  me  feel a  sense  of  peace  and  tranquility  at the end of our  journey.  We were  reminded   constantly  of  the  he  vision  and  importance   of  Jinnah for  Pakistan  , one  quote  I read  in this  memorial got  stuck in my  mind:     ‘If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor’.

The  evening  came  to  a close  with  a  visit  to  a  restaurant were  once  again  we  shared food  and  reflections.   The  actual restaurant  was not necessarily  what  I  would have  expected, but  reflected  well the essence  of    what  I  experienced  in our  Invitation to Mission  trip  to  Pakistan:   simplicity  and  friendliness.  Somehow  we  managed  to  say  our  final prayers  at that  place and  after a  rushed  and   late visit  to the markets to  buy  a few  ‘souvenirs’ and presents we  went  to  sleep. The  following  morning  we  would  be flying from  Jinnah  International  Airport in Karachi  back  to  the  UK.