Pakistani minister’s admission: ‘No religious minority is safe in country’

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday admitted that the country’s minorities are facing “targetted violence in the name of religion” and that the state had failed to protect them.

“Minorities are being murdered daily… no religious minority is safe in Pakistan. Even the smaller sects of the Muslims are not safe,” Dawn news quoted Khawaja saying during a session of Pakistan’s National Assembly.

The coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tabled a resolution condemning the recent incidents of mob lynching related to blasphemy allegations.

Calling the attacks a “matter of concern and embarrassment”, Asif called for a resolution to safeguard minorities. He highlighted that many victims had no connection to blasphemy allegations but were targetted due to personal vendettas.

“We must ensure the safety of our minority brothers and sisters. They have as much right to live in this country as the majority. Pakistan belongs to all Pakistanis, regardless of whether they are Muslim, Christian, Sikh, or of any other faith. Our Constitution guarantees full protection to minorities,” Dawn quoted Asif as saying.

However, the government could not table the resolution due to strong protests by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan are among the strictest in the world and have profound implications for religious minorities in the country. These laws, enshrined in the Pakistan Penal Code, prescribe severe punishments, including the death penalty, for various forms of blasphemy, which includes insults against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad, and desecration of the Quran.

Religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs are disproportionately accused and convicted under these laws. Even Ahmadis, minority sect among Muslims, face persecution as they are not considered Muslims in Pakistan’s Constitution.

On May 25, a Christian man was beaten and his house was set afire by a charged mob in Sargodha city over suspicion of blasphemy.

The persecution is not only limited to blasphemy allegations. Hindus and Sikh minorities, especially in the Sindh region, face social discrimination and girls are often abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married off to Muslim men.

Published By:

Rishabh Sharma

Published On:

Jun 24, 2024

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