Atrocities against minority Christians growing rapidly in Pakistan, says activist

Published: May 16, 2019, 17:13 IST | mid-day online desk

Noel Malik said, "Christians in Pakistan are facing atrocities of the highest degree, with the state subjecting them to arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and even cold-blooded homicides

Atrocities against minority Christians growing rapidly in Pakistan, says activist
Representational image

Geneva: Minorities in Pakistan, especially Christians, are facing constant persecution and discrimination by state and non-state agencies, alleges a political activist and member of Pakistan Minorities Alliance, Noel Malik. Noel Malik said, "Christians in Pakistan are facing atrocities of the highest degree, with the state subjecting them to arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and even cold-blooded homicides."

"They are not secure, there is no safety. Discrimination and persecution is widespread. Blasphemy laws are still there. In fact, I feel the situation is deteriorating every day and minorities are finding it hard to sustain in Pakistan," Malik said. In places, where the minorities are not facing death threats, they are treated as discriminated on grounds of employment, education, and religious belief and second class citizens.

Abusive enforcement of Pakistan's blasphemy laws has further suppressed the lives of minorities. The law enforcement agencies also have been observing the situation as bystanders and religious extremists taking control of the discourse. The Asia Bibi case is one of the recent examples of such atrocities, whereby the victim faced death row after being framed wrongly and had to leave the country in spite of being acquitted by the country's top court. Asia Bibi is now residing away from her homeland, in Canada.

"These groups, which are responsible for the current condition of the minorities, are being backed by Islamabad and the government has been complicit in carrying out the crime," Malik said. He added, "Chaos, strikes and violence gripped the country after the Asia Bibi verdict. The people who are involved in such acts are very powerful. Everybody knows how competent the government is at controlling such forces."

While Muslims are accorded with all rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan, the minorities have been living under constant fear of being implicated on grounds of false charges, the activist said. "There is a fear that the Blasphemy law in Pakistan is being misused and you cannot talk about your rights there. A person who is born in a country wants all rights, safety and freedom like everybody else. Discrimination against minorities should end," Malik further stated. The Human Rights Watch said, "The blasphemy-related violence against religious minorities, fostered in parts by the government's persecution and discriminatory laws, is frequent."

The United States-led Commission on International Religious Freedom has said in its annual report that religious extremists have regularly attacked minorities with impunity. It said that massive human rights violations were being carried out against Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Shi'a Muslims. It is a fact that various international organisations, including the United Nations, have taken note of the situation in Pakistan, they have refrained from directly intervening into the issue so far. Strong assertions from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan suggesting stern actions against the radicals have also proven to be flimsy and ineffective, the activist said.

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Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from Agencies

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