EU speaks for religious minorities in Pakistan

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 18 (ANI): Amid the recent surge in mob violence and religious persecution in Pakistan, the EU Parliament last month called for a review of Pakistan's GSP+ status, citing concerns over the latter's blasphemy laws and poor rights record.

On April 29, the European Parliament passed a resolution decrying the deterioration of what was already a terrible record of religious persecution in the country.

The resolution was overwhelmingly passed as EU Parliament noted the situation in Pakistan continues to decline as the governments have failed to end the misuses of blasphemy laws and protect religious minorities from abuse by non-state actors.

In an op-ed for Pakistani newspaper The Daily Times, London-based writer Qamar Rafiq explained that there is enough truth in the story to dig out how the Pakistan governments' wilful blindness and institutional inadequacies have engendered the ethical decline to cause moral panic in the EU Parliament.

EU motion also reminds us, how violence in the name of religion has become a trendsetting brand that has shredded egalitarian voices, Rafiq added.

The writer said incompatible mindsets of major power players and religious actors in Pakistan have very often disintegrated us to reboot both foreign and national policy, making it more ethically driven and focused on the questions of the justice system and human rights.

"Instead of upholding the values of freedom for all, most governments seem to believe that the best way to deal with threats to freedom of the press, and belief is to forget all about them and pigeonhole the key issues," he said.

Religious freedom conditions in Pakistan continue to worsen as the government systematically enforced blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, according to a report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

"Religious freedom conditions in Pakistan continued to worsen. The government systematically enforced blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws and failed to protect religious minorities from abuses by non-state actors. There was a sharp rise in targeted killings, blasphemy cases, forced conversions, and hate speech targeting religious minorities," the report stated.

It further said Pakistan's religiously discriminatory legislation, such as the blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, used in combination with new media rules, contributed to egregious human rights abuses and fostered an overall atmosphere of intolerance for religious minorities that often leads to violence and discrimination. (ANI)