Empty pledges: ‘Political parties have failed minority groups’

Politicians concede that constitutional provisions are not being implemented.


Our Correspondent September 30, 2014

LAHORE: South Asia Partnership-Pakistan executive director Muhammad Tahseen on Tuesday stressed the need to conduct a census to determine the population of religious minorities in the country.

He was addressing a consultation by REAT Network. Tahseen said it was imperative to establish their population to address the challenges confronting them.  He said the government was not willing to record the increase in their population. Tahseen said their number had been officially restricted to three per cent of the population.

SAP-PK manager Shabnam Rasheed discussed challenges confronting minorities. She briefed them regarding the misuse of laws, the proliferation of hate material, a hostile environment and lack of government support for minorities. Rasheed cited instances of forced conversions, forced marriage and attacks on places of worship. She presented recommendations to secure rights in accordance with the Constitution. These included the creation of provincial and national minority commissions, legislation on family laws for non-Muslims, constitutional amendments, revisions of curricula, training programmes for judges and police officials. Naveed Chaudhry of the Pakistan Peoples Party stressed the importance of respect for minorities. He said it was imperative to reform laws to protect religious freedoms and promote a common nationalism.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2014.

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