A video showing Christian boy being brutally tortured by a mob reveals horrifying scenes of religious intolerance in the country. Media reports detailed that the boy was beaten for drinking water from a mosque.
The video emerged few days back, which sowed a Christian boy brutally beaten up for purportedly drinking water from a fountain located inside a mosque. The boy was being physically assaulted by a mob in the public. Nevertheless, the video has also sparked controversy as doubts and questions surround the authenticity of the video. However the Christian boy was certainly beaten and physically tortured by a mob.
The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom stated in its annual report 2015: “Pakistan represents one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated by the U.S. government as ‘countries of particular concern.’ In the past year, the government grappled with a challenging security environment and initiated efforts to fight the Pakistani Taliban.
However, despite these efforts, Pakistan continued to experience chronic sectarian violence targeting Shi’a Muslims, Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Hindus. Despite positive rulings by the Supreme Court, the government failed to provide adequate protection to targeted groups or to prosecute perpetrators and those calling for violence. Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws and anti-Ahmadi laws continue to violate religious freedoms and to foster a climate of impunity. USCIRF again recommends in 2015 that Pakistan be designated a ‘country of particular concern,’ or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), as it has recommended since 2002.”
“Violence against Christians continued, with few concrete actions taken by federal or provincial officials to ensure their protection. For instance, after the 2013 mob attack on the Christian village Joseph Colony in Punjab, the provincial government provided some reparations but all of the attackers were released on bail. The only person serving a prison sentence is a Christian falsely accused of blasphemy, who was sentenced to death. Other attacks against Christians because of allegations of blasphemy continued,” the report said while remarking about the persecution of Christians in Pakistan.
“Promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief must be an integral part of U.S. policy in Pakistan, and designating Pakistan as a CPC would enable the United States to more effectively press Islamabad to undertake needed reforms. The forces that target religious minorities and members of the majority faith present a human rights and security challenge to Pakistan and the United States.
USCIRF recommends that the U.S. government should:
Designate Pakistan as a “country of particular concern,” as required under IRFA, due to the USCIRF ANNUAL REPORT 2015 113 government’s engagement in and toleration of particularly severe violations of religious freedom, and work to reach a binding agreement with the Pakistani government on steps to be delisted and avoid Presidential actions; such an agreement should be accompanied by Congress appropriating resources for related capacity building through the State Department and USAID mechanisms;
• Press the Pakistani government to implement the Supreme Court decision to create a special police
force to protect religious groups from violence and actively prosecute perpetrators, both individuals
involved in mob attacks and members of militant groups;
• Recognize the unique governmental offices focusing on religious tolerance at the federal and provincial levels by including discussions on religious tolerance in U.S.-Pakistan dialogues or by creating a special track of bilateral engagement about government efforts to promote interfaith harmony;
• Urge the reestablishment of the Federal Ministry for Interfaith Harmony and the removal of the commission on religious minorities from the Ministry for Religious Affairs, giving both direct access to the cabinet and Prime Minister;
• Work with international partners to raise religious freedom concerns with Pakistani officials in Islamabad and in multilateral settings, and to encourage the Pakistani government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief for a country visit;
• Encourage national textbook and curricula standards that actively promote tolerance towards
members of all religions, both in government schools and the madrassa system overseen by the
religious affairs ministry;
• Encourage the government of Pakistan to launch a public information campaign about the historic role
played by religious minorities in the country, their contributions to Pakistani society, and their equal
rights and protections; either in parallel or independently, use the tools of U.S. public diplomacy to
highlight similar themes;
• Urge the Pakistani government and provincial governments to review all cases of individuals charged
with blasphemy in order to release those subjected to abusive charges, as is underway in Punjab, while
still also calling for the unconditional release and pardoning of all individuals sentenced to prison for
blasphemy or for violating anti-Ahmadi laws;
• Work with federal and provincial parliamentarians to support the passage of marriage bills recognizing
Hindu and Christian marriages;
• Call for the repeal of the blasphemy law and the rescinding of anti-Ahmadi provisions of law; until
those steps can be accomplished, urge the Pakistani government to reform the blasphemy law by
making blasphemy a bailable offense and/or by adding penalties for false accusations or enforcing
such penalties found elsewhere in the penal code;
• Ensure that a portion of U.S. security assistance is used to help police implement an effective plan for
dedicated protection for religious minority communities and their places of worship; and
• Provide USAID capacity-building funding to the provincial Ministries of Minority Affairs, and work
with Pakistan’s government and minority religious communities to help them reach agreement on
measures to ensure their rights and security in the country.