WASHINGTON: Religious freedom battered and wrecked in Pakistan as it tops the list of most hostile nations to their religious minorities. A U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom articulates this putrid fact in a report.
This commission, which counsels the government but does not take decisions, urged the United States to designate Pakistan as a “country of particular concern,” meaning it may well be subjected to sanctions if it falls flat to revise the ever worsening situation.
“Pakistan represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated as ‘countries of particular concern’ by the U.S. government,” the U.S. Commission brought out in open in an annual report. “The government of Pakistan continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief,” the Commission affirmed.
Evaluating the year through January 31, the commission further vociferated that religious freedom violations in Pakistan “rose to unprecedented levels due to chronic sectarian violence” that was directed at Shia Muslim minority.
“The government continues to fail to protect Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus,” the report alleged, indicting that blasphemy and other laws “are widely used to violate religious freedoms and foster a climate of impunity.” The commission however, repeated a recommendation it had made since 2002 that Pakistan be designated a “country of particular concern.”
”Pakistan is in a crisis right now with these particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” said Knox Thames – the commission’s director of policy and research. “The U.S. naming Pakistan as a country of particular concern would bring these challenges to the forefront of the U.S.-Pakistani bilateral relationship and hopefully move Pakistan to make concrete improvements,” Mr. Thames maintained.
The report says Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy law is often used to intimidate religious minorities. Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Sherry Rehman, was menaced by the blasphemy law as she voiced against theses laws. In the context of contending with these notorious laws, two eminent political leaders Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer lost their lives.