Human Rights Focus Pakistan condemns brutalities against religious minorities
Faisalabad [Pakistan], September 23 :Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) in collaboration with Global Human Rights Defense (GHRD) and CRMP held demonstration after Press conference to highlight the problems faced by the religious minorities in Pakistan due to Blasphemy Allegations, forced conversion, targeting their colonies and Worship Places.Naveed Walter said religious minorities of Pakistan are facing brutal forms of grave violation on regular basis. Particularly, i) Fictitious Blasphemy Allegations against Religious Minorities of Pakistan, ii) Ablazing the Minority Colonies and their Worship Places, iii) Kidnapping, Forced Conversion and Forced Marriages of Young Minority Girls, iv)Assassination of Religious Minority Community on Belief Base, Property Base and Revenge Base, v) Restricting Religious Minorities to practice their Religious Faith, vi) Illegal Possession on Minorities Graveyards/Agricultural Landlords/ Homes, vii) Discriminations against the Religious Minorities at Workplaces, vii) Hatred Material against the Religious Minorities of Pakistan in Curriculum/text books, viii) Increased Culture of Impunity against the Offenders perpetuating Minority Violations.
The event was joined by the Key Leaders from the religious minority community that included Christians, Hindus, Sikh and Bahai's Community and also the human rights activists and marked International Peace Day on 21st September, 2017 by conducting a Press Conference and Demonstration at Press Club, Faisalabad in the context of "Religious Minorities; Equality and Peace"
Keynote of the Activity was loud and Clear "Elimination of Religious Minorities Persecution is inevitable in the promotion of Peace"
Stressing the need for promoting peace at all levels of the Society,Naveed Walter said, "There is a need of creating peaceful situation for the marginalized segments of the society particularly the religious minorities and for the women and children also." He stated that on International Peace Day Religious Minorities of Pakistan are seeking peaceful situation but unfortunately, they remain disappointed.
The HRFP staged demonstration before Press Club and condemned the current government policies and legislations affecting peaceful society especially in the context of religious minorities basic right and fundamental freedoms.
The protestors chanted slogans and raised play cards regarding "End of Discriminatory Laws and Practices against Religious Minorities" and "Importance of Peace in the Society". The protesters of the demonstration urged Law Enforcement Institutions to provide legal cover to minorities in the event of minority rights violation against them.
Hindu leader Amaranth Randhawa shared his apprehension on the situation of Hindu community in Pakistan. He said "fears of the Hindu community are hiking in Pakistan due to presence of discriminatory policies, legislation, practices and attitudes against them. He shared in grief that since independence of Pakistan Hindu Community has always been estranged systematically causing migration of thousands of Hindu community members."
"Every year many young Hindu girls from Sindh are kidnapped, forcibly converted and forcibly married to Islam. While no action is taken on practical grounds. He further added that long prevailing issue of Non-Registration of Hindu Marriages saw some positive developments from the Government of Pakistan in the form of Hindu Marriage Act passed in 2017 but unfortunately like other Acts of Pakistan, implementation remains a big issue," Randhawa said.
He further highlights that many temples/Gurdawars of Hindu community are illegal possessed by the Evacuee Department of Government. Equal citizen rights, hatred material and discrimination in 5 % job quota for the Hindu community were also the issues highlighted by him.
Sardar Gurmeet Singh, a leader of Sikh community said, " Religious minorities of Pakistan faces violent attitudes and behaviors,the Government needs to undertake special measures for the Sikh Community to make them more empowered on all levels of the society."
Activist Amina Zaman demanded "restoration of the citizen's rights along with the rights of minorities, women and children , particularly to provide sufficient space to religious minorities in mainstreaming processes and end all religious discriminations against them."
President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan stressed that Government of Pakistan is aware of the situation/issues of religious minorities and must undertake serious and devoted efforts to remove all forms/shapes of discrimination from the society either by law enforcement activities or educational activities focusing on changing mindset/attitudes/behaviors of the Society.
Following recommendations were given by panelists to improve situation of religious minorities across the Pakistan.
1. Kidnapping, Forced Conversion and Forced Marriage has become the biggest issue for religious minorities of Pakistan which the Government must address on urgent basis.
2. The Step of enacting "Hindu Marriage Act, 2017" is condemnable by the Government, but the implementation mechanism of this Hindu Marriage Act, 2017 needs to deliver on grassroots level.
3. Controversial Sections of Blasphemy Law (Section 295 B/C) must be reviewed and amended to protect the rights of innocent individuals/families/communities who are perpetuated on baseless grounds.
4. The Evacuee Department of Government should remove illegal possessions from the Temples/Gurdawars/ Holy Place of the Hindu Community.
5. The government should fulfill its written statement submitted on 24th May, 2017, in response of HRFP's writ petition at Lahore High Court to revise hatred chapters, contents and references from the text books and curriculums against the religious minorities of Pakistan.
6. Sufficient amendment must be ensured in the discriminatory Articles of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan particularly Article 2 and 41.
7. The government should implement the verdict of Mr. Justice Tassadq Hussain Jillani's verdict of Supreme Court dated 19 June 2014.