Faith rights persecution extremely serious in Pakistan

Human rights abuse in Pakistan is still extremely serious with deadly attacks on different faith groups throughout the country, according to the United Nations.

Christian Aid issued a parliamentary briefing on the country, the sixth most populous country in the world, following the publication of a US Commission report on international freedom.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, contrary to international law. Religious minorities suffer mob attacks and vigilante violence, especially in Punjab. The US Commission said Pakistan used these blasphemy laws at a level ‘incomparable’ to anywhere else.

The report says that more than 300 Shia Muslims have been killed by Sunni militants since January 2013. Hindu temples have been attacked several times and the desecration of Ahmedi Muslim graves has also been reported. Christians face false charges on property and business rights – and a suicide bombing killed 81 worshippers and injured 130 others during a church service in September 2013.

The Christian Aid briefing said: “According to the UN, the human rights situation in Pakistan is extremely serious. Human rights are alleged to be violated in Pakistan with impunity. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, 6982 people were killed in Pakistan in 2013. There is judicial corruption, honour killing, trafficking of women and children, torture in custody, disappearance after arrest, suicide attacks on religious sites, forced marriage, and poverty levels have risen to 34 per cent.”

Law enforcement and security agencies are legally allowed to shoot suspects on sight, search houses without warrant, confiscate property and tap telephones after two ordinances were made without parliament approval; following the merger of the Ministry of Human Rights with the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Women and girls of all faiths face persecution, with a danger of being killed if they assert rights to education, work or for making personal decisions. The poorest girls in Pakistan are twice as likely to be out of school than those in India and six times as likely as those in Bangladesh.

At least 11 journalists were killed in Pakistan last year, 2013. Some 1,200 websites are also banned by the Government.