Pakistan one of the worst religious freedom offenders: US govt advisory body

Published: May 8, 2015
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 PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

The United States commission on international religious freedom (USCIRF) has released the 2015 Annual report according to which, “Pakistan represents one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated by the US Government as ‘countries of particular concern.”

USCIRF is an independent US government advisory body separate from the State Department. USCIRF monitors religious freedom worldwide and makes policy recommendations to the government.

The ACLJ has a partner office in Pakistan that provides legal aid to the persecuted Church. The attorneys in Pakistan deal frequently with cases concerning persecution of Christians, discrimination, false accusations of blasphemy and mob violence against religious minorities.

READ:Law for protection of minorities in K-P to be enacted soon, says minister

The USCIRF 2015 Annual Report expresses concern that, despite growing extremism, the Pakistani government “failed to protect citizens, minority and majority alike, from sectarian and religiously-motivated violence, and Pakistani authorities have not consistently brought perpetrators to justice or taken action against societal actors who incite violence.”

In 2013 a mob attacked a Christian village Joseph Colony in Punjab, Pakistan. They burnt and vandalized 200 Christian homes after a false accusation of blasphemy was made against one Christian. The report reveals that amends were made but all the attackers were released on bail. Only the Christian falsely accused of blasphemy is in prison, serving a death sentence. The report says that the Pakistani government’s attitude towards minorities is well illustrated by this example.

The USCIRF Report mentions “122 incidents of sectarian violence” against Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis that occurred “from July 2013 to June 2014.” These incidents “resulted in more than 1,200 casualties, including 430 deaths.”

In addition to mob violence, the Report raises the issue of “forced conversion of Christian and Hindu girls and young women into Islam” and “forced marriages to Muslim men” as a “systematic problem.”

The USCIRF recommends to the US government to urge the Pakistani government to review all cases of individuals charged with blasphemy in order to release those who are subjected to abusive charges.

The USCIRF recommends that US government, inter alia, “designate Pakistan as a ‘country of particular concern’ as required under the IRFA.”

In accordance with the international treaties Pakistan has signed, which require Pakistan to protect its minorities, Pakistan must ensure a safe environment for its religious minorities and bring the perpetrators of violence to justice.

READ:Securing minorities’ worship places: Police submit report to Supreme Court

The ACLJ continues to provide legal assistance to victims of discrimination and persecution through its affiliate in Pakistan.

The article originally appeared on ACLJ

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Reader Comments (24)

  • W S
    May 8, 2015 - 7:45PM

    And what about India? Recommend

  • Shame
    May 8, 2015 - 7:48PM

    Shame! Pakistanis, who thump their chests on the treatment of Muslim minorities in other countries, should first look at their own house which is built on fragile glass. You persecute and murder helpless minorities, steal their properties with the connivance of politicians, mMullahs and the street thugs, force Hindu young girls (children) into marrying old men fit to be their grandfathers and convert them into Islam at gunpoint. It’s sheer barbarism. I wonder how you guys sleep at night with that kind of human rights record. Civilization does not exist in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Hassan
    May 8, 2015 - 8:05PM

    This is so wrong that it is hard to believe…. what about the attacks on christians and muslims in india…this report is just blowing out of proportion one or two small incidents…It’s a conspiracy of the western media…Recommend

  • oBSERVER
    May 8, 2015 - 8:17PM

    The UNIOR, United Nations Organisation on International Racism rates United States as one of the worst countries in the world.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    May 8, 2015 - 9:22PM

    Folks,hard to swallow facts.but that is what happening in your country.some one will compare India here obviously.India do not have blasphemy laws.but such blatant denial of one’s rights is unheard of in India. Recommend

  • raj
    May 8, 2015 - 10:50PM

    to all those people who r concern about India…please concentrate on your own problems. India is a country where people of all religions live happily and peacefully.India will be having world’s largest Muslim population.. we have the oldest Church in the world. so please don’t worry for us.Recommend

  • Indian Observer
    May 8, 2015 - 11:46PM

    @WS
    what you just asked is a classic case of ‘whataboutism’ . The answer to a question is never another question. Besides , I dont think US or anybody else is partial to India, so if India’s name is not mentioned , it means there is religious freedom in India.
    Ask me, I live in a state in India where there are 23-25% Muslims and 20% Christians and since independence the statistics have only been rising. So many mosques and churches have come up. I hope one day you get to visit India and see for yourself this fact. We have no problem with moderate muslims , only with the ones who want to convert everyone and want to dominate . We are an indomitable race and nobody can change India or its future but Indians alone.Recommend

  • Ali S
    May 9, 2015 - 12:35AM

    @Hassan:

    Stop living in denial. This India obsession is now an epidemic-level mental illness in Pakistan. The report is dead-on, if anything most international observers are too kind to Pakistan because Pakistanis tend to throw a hissy fit and cry conspiracy every time.Recommend

  • shame
    May 9, 2015 - 12:52AM

    @Hassan:
    “It’s a conspiracy of the western media”

    Yes, everything is a conspiracy to malign the “golden land of the pure” which never has any problems with the minorities whose numbers have sharply declined. It is not surprising that Hindus and Sikhs, their daughters snatched way from them and the men massacred and their property usurped by the thugs that work hand in glove with mullahs and other criminal elements, line up for migration to India while others would give anything to get out from that black hole. And you, O’ saintly person, can put your head in the sand and blame everything on conspiracy of others. No wonder, your country is categorized among the worst rogue nations of the world. You may get a sense of what you are worth when you leave your “paradise” and travel abroad on your worthless green-coloured passport.Recommend

  • unbelievable
    May 9, 2015 - 3:48AM

    Last country on the face of this planet that should be making derogatory statements about Israel – you make S Africa apartheid look good,Recommend

  • Shuja
    May 9, 2015 - 3:58AM

    @W S:
    The report mentions India’s religious freedom declined after the election of BJP government due to an increase in sporadic incidents against religious minorities. However, India remains much better than Pakistan. Better to look at yourself and see what’s wrong than being too interested in others, just a suggestion.
    @oBSERVER:
    please be smart enough to name an organization that even exists to make a point. There is no UNIOR. US does not even rank close to being the worst nation for racism. The Leader of the country, the President and the the highest law enforcement officer, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security are all minorities. Recommend

  • Nasir
    May 9, 2015 - 5:39AM

    Nothing will be done in Pakistan against minorities, or victimized majorities. Since political lot in the country is the facilitator to religious terrorists while guised themselves as “liberal or left wingers”.

    On the note of forced conversion…we have to check and see the stats. I don’t think forced conversion of Hindu or Christian girls are common. Rather more of small pattern isolated incidents…again with the backing of “left wingers” “moderate” parties. In any case if this is really happening than it should be stopped immediately..but again in this vicious world anything is possible including propaganda!Recommend

  • Nasir
    May 9, 2015 - 5:46AM

    @Indian Observer..India is not in the list doesn’t mean there is no “religious” discrimination and all is well there. Your current Prime Minister is known for communal rites in India against Muslim minority of Gujraat. Having said this… we have to acknowledge that Indian doesn’t have a constitutional license of persecution which Pakistan’s constitution provides to Mullahs under Ordinance XX of PPC (Pakistan Penal Code)(formaly Indian Penal Code).

    On your rhetoric “we are an indomitable race….” please read your history not written by Indian / Hindu nationalists rather more moderate writers…if you know what I mean. India has been subjugated by Afghans for centuries…people from Afghanistan and Iran came and ruled your country for centuries. Prior to that Arabs came and took you all. In recent history you were ruled by the British.

    Indian culture has tendency to adopt other people’s influence and culture when Arabs ruled they adopted their lifestyle and religious abominations, when Afghans and Persians came Indians carried their influence and adopted their traditions. When British came Indians have so much adopted to the Western lifestyle that they have lost their originality. So called Moderate or Liberal women and men mingle and fugl like there is no tomorrow, this shows the weakness in the society and is easy to be subjugated only proper and long term planning is needed to conquer this vast land!Recommend

  • May 9, 2015 - 6:00AM

    Make no mistake. All of this is happening in Pakland.
    Much much worse than what is reported here.
    No doubt. It’s not a secret. However India is just as guilty.
    With just as much discrimination and abuse if not more.
    Plus India has MORE minorities, [indigenous populations]
    AND a caste system. Which is a double whammy.True,
    things have further deteriorated since Modi took over.Recommend

  • Harish
    May 9, 2015 - 6:23AM

    Religion of PEACE showing true colours.Recommend

  • Harish
    May 9, 2015 - 6:23AM

    @W S:
    Shameless.Recommend

  • Harish
    May 9, 2015 - 6:25AM

    @Hassan:
    So shameless to bring India who harbors about 100 religions and living in considerable peace unlike Pakistan. Recommend

  • Asif
    May 9, 2015 - 6:51AM

    Report compiled to embarrass the great pakistani nation. Not matter what, we are the next super power after our all-weather friend China.Recommend

  • Kepler-8B
    May 9, 2015 - 9:21AM

    Any bad news that is generated from U.S official against Pakistan, Indian trolls go hare ram hare krishna. Hindu Brahman known to be the most racist people on earth. Hindus even hate their own cast forget about other religion. At this moment in India there is war against Christian missionaries. 2015 US report finding on India: Key Findings “Despite the country’s status as a pluralistic, secular democracy, India has long struggled to protect minority religious communities or provide justice when crimes occur, which perpetuates a climate of impunity”

    “Sincethe election, religious minority communities have been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and numerous violent attacks and forced conversions by Hindu nationalist groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP)” This is incredible India folks. I hope Indian trolls got the message.Recommend

  • Timorlane
    May 9, 2015 - 12:29PM

    Yeah and America is one of the best countries for black peopleRecommend

  • Milind
    May 10, 2015 - 10:34AM
  • WS
    May 11, 2015 - 4:09PM

    Don’t need to whack my head against so nationalist Indians crowding over this forum. Per se, USCIRF report has mentioned enough good about Indian government too. Obama’s words in an affirmation during Indian visits are enough to let me say “what about India?” And somebody above here tried to knock off with an IBN article that Saudi melodramatists praise India (I believe in neither IBN neither Saudis’ credibility because they don’t care for their own minorities) Some sarcasm should be tolerated, and India is definitely not a utopia for 100 or so “indigenous” minorities they boast.
    Pakistanis do need to concentrate on their problems, and Indians too need to tolerate, concede to truth and keep their businesses to themselves.Recommend

  • alam
    May 15, 2015 - 2:25PM

    Annual report of US Commission on International Religious Freedoms (USCIRF) report for 2015 has unjustifiably accused Pakistan of being religiously biased and victimization of religious and ethnic minorities. It is a fact that violence has become of Pakistani society due to its history related to US war against USSR in Afghanistan in which the whole society was radicalized. Here terrorists are killing Pakistanis irrespective of their religious, ethnic or sectarianism inclination. Blaming it on normal Muslim population is highly uncalled for. It is also a sorry state of affairs that the report has failed to highlight external factors with anti Pakistan objectives which are using all means possible to destabilize the society. An objective and realistic survey would reveal that same and at times more protection is being provided by the state to minority and ethnic groups to control this polarization which is intentionally created. A highly biased article without unbiased research.Recommend

  • M7
    May 18, 2015 - 12:18AM

    @Nasir – If India has been ruled for so long how have we been able to preserve our culture. We are not rigid and adopt other customs when it makes logical sense. You would rarely find a city dweller wearing a dhoti in India.Recommend

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