The test of our tolerance

Our country is plagued by chronic sectarian violence, which has escalated recently given the targeting of Hazara refugees, who also happen to be Shia. We have failed to protect our Christian, Ahmadi and Hindu minorities. On top of that, Pakistani authorities seldom bring perpetrators to justice or taken action against those who incite violence.

Given this reality, it is understandable if the international community criticises us for failing to adequately protect the rights of minorities. In its latest report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)  has suggested that the US government designate Pakistan and eight other countries as a ‘country of particular concern’, where sanctions are advised if there is continued failure to protect minorities.

Attacks on places of worship, on places of residence, targeted killings, forced conversions and blasphemy allegations are the different forms of persecution that minorities in Pakistan have incrementally faced over the past few years.

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by the minorities. And in Pakistan, our authorities, laws and attitudes, all prevent minorities from becoming successful citizens in Pakistan. We live in such an ideologically, insecure country hell-bent on maintaining our brand as Islamic Republic that we even undercount and under-report the percentage of Minorities in our census.

Monday 1 July 2013
22:40 hours

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