KARACHI: The Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF) has expressed its concern over the rise of religious intolerance and the new wave of calculated persecution of religious minorities and other vulnerable groups under blasphemy and other laws.
The SDF cited as examples the cases of Aasia Bibi in the Punjab and Dr Noshad Valiani in Sindh, who were accused, beaten and arrested on fabricated blasphemy charges. In a statement issued on Thursday, the SDF, a civil society think-tank, said that Pakistan’s constitution and all other international human rights accords, to which Pakistan is a signatory, ensure equal rights to all of its citizens without any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed and colour.
The state is bound to protect the fundamental rights of all the sectarian communities, ethnic groups and other vulnerable sections of society.
The SDF holds the view that military dictator Ziaul Haq manipulated the support of religious parties and extremists to ruin the progressive and secular fabric of Pakistani society. From the time of the Zia regime to date, the Hudood Ordinance and blasphemy laws are wrongly interpreted and exploited.
The SDF appealed to the government to abolish all discriminatory laws. It appealed to the Sindh government to protect peace-loving citizens from religious intolerance.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2010.