The United States in November has grouped Pakistan along with 11 other nations, including Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, along with North Korea, as being states have “engaged in or tolerated specifically severe violations of religious freedom”, as per reported by the Express Tribune.
The year 2022 has been considered as alarming for religious minorities of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, added in a statement that, “Around the globe, governments and non-state actors harass, threaten jail, and even kill people on account of their beliefs. The US will not stand by in the face of these abuses.”
He added that the US welcomes the chance to meet all the concerned governments as well as discuss the matter, and come up with measures for their removal from the list.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto, rejected the listing of Pakistan as a state of public concern over religious freedoms, looking for why India has escaped the list.
Notably, the United States was not alone in raising such concerns, which are regarding the protection of religious minorities groups across Pakistan.
Moreover, in the month of September, members of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) asked the government of Pakistan to come up with the timely reforms and legislative changes on issues of human rights and turn them into concrete improvements, specifically the prevention of any misuse of blasphemy laws, as per reports.
Although, the minority rights in Pakistan was one of the most heated topics for talks throughout the year of 2022. The year begin with a Sri Lankan national being lynched & his body set on fire by a mob in the city of Sialkot.
The list of other such hated crimes includes, “A man accused of burning pages of Holy book of Quran was tortured and later killed by a mob in Khanewal district of Punjab.”
The list added:
– The killing of Pastor William Siraj who was shot dead by unidentified bikers while his friend Patrick was wounded in a similar incident in city of Peshawar on January 30 which led to massive protests by the religious minorities of the city.
– The stabbing of Abdul Salam, 33, a seminary student & a member of the Ahmadiyya community in Okara district.
– The minority communities of Pakistan including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs along with Ahmadis continue to live under the continuous fear and persecution by the majority community, as per the Pakistan vernacular media.
– Kidnapping, forcible conversion to Islam and marriage of the Hindu girls, mostly minors to Muslims, continue unabated in several regions of Pakistan, specifically in Sindh without invoking any concern as well as attention of the administration, human rights organizations, mainstream media & social media platforms in Pakistan.
Amidst the persecution of minorities, rights experts have stated that the legal system of Pakistan is in need of urgent reform to guard the safety as well as dignity of the minorities including the Ahmadi community.
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