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Apex court accepts petition seeking implementation of landmark verdict on minorities’ rights

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The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar has accepted a petition seeking implementation of the landmark verdict of Supreme Court regarding rights of minorities in Pakistan. In 2014, the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the religious minorities in Pakistan. This petition was submitted by The Cecil and Iris Foundation, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Centre for Social Justice.

Chief Justice of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan

On June 19, 2014 a three member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that the government should form a National Council for Minorities Rights. “The function of the said Council should inter alia be to monitor the practical realisation of the rights and safeguards provided to the minorities under the Constitution and law. The Council should also be mandated to frame policy recommendations for safeguarding and protecting minorities’ rights by the Provincial and Federal Government”, the SC ruled.

Also Read: UK Parliament criticizes Pakistan’s treatment of its religious minorities

“We find that the incidents of desecration of places of worship of minorities could be warded off if the authorities concerned had taken preventive measures at the appropriate time. The court also found that the inaction on the part of law enforcement agencies was on account of the lack of proper understanding of the relevant law”, the epic SC verdict said. “A Special Police Force be established with professional training to protect the places of worship of minorities”, the judgment said.

“Appropriate curricula be developed at school and college levels to promote a culture of religious and social tolerance”, the SC said. The verdict said that steps should be taken to ensure that hate speech in social media is discouraged and that a relevant policy regarding reservation of quota for minorities; is implemented. The Supreme Court ruling further said that the law enforcement agencies must take prompt action when the rights of minorities are violated.

The Current Chief Justice while admitting the application ordered that a bench will be formed. This bench will begin its hearings in June 2018. In this regard, the Federal Ministries and the Provincial departments are the respondents in this case, who are to appear before the case.