Pakistan failed to protect minorities, says US REPORT. PCP. Report.


An official US government report submitted to Congress accuses the Pakistan government, among governments of other countries, of failing to protect the rights of religious minorities. Specific mention has been made of some laws that have been termed

In the post-September 11 scenario, there has been a rise in violence against the Christian community. This violence has been instigated by some quarters that wish to vent their anger at the actions of western powers against the Muslim world. While these criminal acts do not enjoy state sanction or popular support, not enough has been done to rein in elements preaching and practising violence or to punish those responsible for specific acts of terror and intimidation against members of the religious minorities. Then there are the discriminatory laws that have added to an atmosphere of religious intolerance. For example, the Hudood Ordinances of 1979 exclude the testimony of women and members of the minority communities in the award of certain punishments. Another cause for concern is the procedural flaws that exist in the blasphemy law. There have been several instances in the past where the law has been abused to target members of minority communities by some vested interests. Efforts to correct these flaws have met with strong resistance from obscurantist elements. Amendments are needed to make these laws non-discriminatory and less liable to be misused. The guiding spirit in all such efforts should be the principle the Quaid-e-Azam had laid down on August 11, 1947, giving equal status to all citizens regardless of religion, caste, creed or colour.

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