An alarming level of violence against the religious “other” is plaguing Pakistan. Extremists victimize not just non-Muslims but Muslims who dissent from the extremists’ radical interpretations of Islam. Here are some numbers that represent the status of minorities specially the Christian minority in Pakistan.
38 sentenced — The number of people on death row or serving life sentences for blasphemy, five of whom were sentenced in 2014 alone. Blasphemy laws in Pakistan are easily abused or manipulated.
4 years — The length of time Aasia Bibi has been in jail while her death sentence is on appeal.
0 jailed — The number of people sentenced for the murders of Shahbaz Bhatti, Rashid Rehman, and Muhammad Shakil Auj.
1,130 killed — The number of people killed over the past two-and-one-half years in targeted acts of violence against religious communities, as tracked by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
15 hours — The grand total of time reportedly devoted by the National Assembly to discussing challenges faced by religious minorities in the past year. An NGO found that during 130 days of proceedings and over 1000 hours of debate, only a tiny fraction of time was spent considering the plight of religious minorities and the surge of violence unleashed against them.
13 months — Twin suicide bombers attacked the All Saints Church in Peshawar on Sept. 22, 2013 as Sunday services were ending, killing 119 Christians and wounding scores more. Promises of increased security and reparations for the attacks have largely gone unfulfilled.
4 ministries — The number of provincial ministries for minority affairs in Pakistan, a unique move for any country. Unfortunately, they are underfunded and understaffed. However, if better resourced, their existence could provide tangible help in local communities.