The latest US Commission on International Religious Freedom report has noted that “Pakistan represents one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom”.
Pakistan has always fallen short when it comes to protecting religious minorities. This includes various Muslim sects, not only Christians. When these short comings are amplified on a global level, the effect is harming.
And as a recently released annual American report on religious freedom indicates, 2014 was hardly a year to remember for Pakistan on this count
The document says Shias, as well as Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus experienced violence in the country, while it also highlights the reported forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam.
The report has also shown a critical analysis of the country’s blasphemy law, and the embracing prognosis of Pakistan’s religious problems needs to be fixed now so that the continuing ordeal that is faced by minorities of the region is finished.
So far, the current year has also shown no signs that those who kill in the name of faith are a spent force; the Shikarpur and Peshawar imambargah bombings, as well as the Lahore church attacks, serve as deadly reminders of their potency.
The state must realize that unless it acts against religious zealots who practice and preach violence, not only will Pakistan continue to get a bad press internationally, but such violence will have a detrimental effect on communal and sectarian relations within the country.
The report is not only critical to Pakistan but the problems faced by minorities in the surrounding nations of India, Bangladesh etc.