Pakistan: (By Fatimah Hassan, Pakistan Press Foundation) Pakistan is one of the countries where the profession of journalism is dangerous because t
The human rights defenders and peace activists belonging to the religious minorities got together for inaugural ceremony of Sanjha Pakistan - Coalition of Equal Citizenship has expressed their grave concern over the growing religious discrimination, hatred and violence in the name of religion and have capped upon the immediate attention of the state institutions, political parties and all other stakeholders to give special attention for equal citizenship and opportunities to religious minorities in country. This inaugural ceremony was organized by Sanjha Pakistan – a coalition of 20 civil society organizations, to discuss the responsibilities of the stakeholders to end hate, discrimination and violence as well as promoting peace, social harmony and co-existence, equal citizenship and opportunities among all citizens. The ceremony was participated by representatives of religious leaders, political activists, human rights defenders, students, peace activists and representatives of civil society organizations. The speakers of the ceremony include Mr. Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Minister for Human Rights and Religious Affairs and Minorities Lubna Mansoor (Director Human rights Ministry of Law and justice) Ramash singh arrora (MPA) Kanji Ram Mr. Javaid William, Justice (Retd.) Jamshed Rehmat Ullah, Suba Sroya, Advocate High Court and other honorable guest speakers. The speakers expressed that the trends of hate, discrimination and mob violence have deepened in the Pakistani society and the lives, property, business, worship places, jobs and education of religious minorities and even Muslims belong to Shia community remain under risk. The Supreme Court judgment regarding the religious minorities provided guidelines to government and other stakeholders for protection and security of religious minorities along with opportunities for mainstream. The speakers further added that the discrimination embedded in the constitution, laws, policies, the biased curriculum and hate speech have contributed in breeding the trends of hate, discrimination and mob violence. In particular the Blasphemy laws in the Pakistan Penal Code has contributed the most to foster the climate of religious motivated violence and persecution leading to the attacks on religious minorities, forced migration and even extra-judicial arresting of innocence young people of religious minorities in different parts of the country. Sanjha Pakistan along with its member organizations called upon the state institutions, political parties, media and other stakeholders to play their role to discourage discrimination, hatred and mob violence in the name of religion and to take practical steps to promote peace, social harmony and co-existence within all citizens and provide equal opportunities at all levels in the country.
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