Religious minorities are given a cold shoulder in Pakistan says former Governor Punjab

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Former Governor of Punjab Chaudhary Sarwar has expressed deep sorrow over the sorry state of affairs for the religious minorities living in Pakistan. He was addressing an audience of Pakistanis in London, when he told them that they are a minority in the United Kingdom, but they are enjoying every possible right for a citizen under the auspices of the government.

Religious minorities suffering in Pakistan

Former Governor of Punjab was attending the Jung Forum in London when he spoke about the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan. On this occasion, he grievously mentioned the heinous incidents of lynching of a Christian couple Shahzad and Shama by a furious mob in Kot Radha Kishan and an entire Christian neighborhood torched in Lahore’ Joseph Colony. Both incidents are an obvious example of insecurity of Christians in Pakistan.

“You are a minority here in the UK, yet you enjoy all rights. You are being heard, however, in Pakistan the religious minorities are being ill-treated,” he told the audience from the Pakistani community in London.

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He expressed great grief over the incidents of violence against the religious minorities in Pakistan, especially the Christians. Blasphemy accusations are oftentimes an excuse for mass vandalism against the Christians. There have been several incidents where entire Christian neighborhoods were torched over mere accusations of blasphemy.

Lahore’ Joseph Colony, Shanti Nagar incident and the Gojra incident are enough to clarify the dire situation of the minorities in Pakistan. However, currently, Christians in Chak 44 of Mandi Bahauddin District are facing a same situation where local Muslims have threatened to torch houses of all the Christians in the village over blasphemy accusation on a local Christian.

A recent report compiled by the United States’ Commission for International Religious Freedom USCRIF, has listed Pakistan among some of the worst violators of the Religious freedom. The report highlighted, that there are various factors which are contributing to the rising phenomenon of deteriorating religious freedom in the country.

“In 2015, the Pakistani government continued to perpetrate and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations. Religiously-discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation, such as the country’s blasphemy law and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, intrinsically violate international standards of freedom of religion or belief and result in prosecutions and imprisonments,” the report criticizes the Pakistan government.