Religious Minorities demanded Legislation for the Protection of their Rights and Security

Sameer Nazir
KARACHI:
On the call of UMID, a good number of civil society activists including; politicians, peace and rights activists, NGO activists, journalists, lawyers, judges, members of religious minority groups and their leaders gathered here on Thursday May 28, 2014 at HRCP office and expressed their crucial concern over the discriminatory attitudes by the society and by the government towards religious minorities and demanded that government remove all provisions of discrimination on the basis of religion that is the part of constitution, laws and policies have absolutely neglected to religious minorities and have brought bad consequences for them.

Sharing a long list of the issues and resolution during round table legislation on “Protection of the Rights and Security of Religious Minorities” organized by Upgrade Minorities for Integrated Development (UMID) where speakers emphasized that all minorities should be on first and top priority on national agenda and as well as on national policies and development programs. They proposed to formulate and regulate new policies, laws, programs and best practices that protect the rights and ensure the security of religious minorities by its local level execution. The legislation aimed to contribute towards tolerant and peaceful co-existence where all human beings living together peacefully and friendly and exercise and enjoy their rights of faith and belief with dignity and freedom.

The growing violence against religious minorities like; temple attacks, target killing of Shias and Ahmedias, kidnapping for ransom of Hindu business community, forcible conversion and forced marriage of Hindu and Christian girls, blasphemy charges against Christians, illegal occupation on minority properties and force migration which all are yet to continue but government’s response is invisible. Beside this, the discriminatory education especially syllabus and other hatred reading materials must be swept or banned immediately that disgrace to religious minorities and promote contempt of their respective religions instead to promote quality education that cultivate love, unity, dignity, self-respect and cooperation among all human beings,

It is discussed that the government, its law enforcement agencies and judiciary, all are failed absolutely in providing and ensuring the social safety and security of religious minorities. It seems that government is itself is involved and responsible for all happening with religious minorities. So, what hope can minorities see in the country’s future.

Ultimately, the government should end its all existing discriminatory policies, laws and practices very immediately which frequently violate the rights and legitimate interest of these native people. It should respect the sentiments and listen the grievances of all minorities and then make a new and an innovative legislation on above mentioned issues with aim to minimize the growing religious intolerance and violence against minorities. For a tolerating, friendly and peaceful coexistence, the social and political ownership by civil society, blasphemy law, forcible conversion, minority migration and discriminatory education should bring under legislation and make part of policy reform.