US Report On Religious Freedom Accuses Pakistan Of Attacking Minority Communities
An annual American report on religious freedom blames Pakistan for the targeted killing of Shia Muslims and other minority communities.
An annual American report released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department on religious freedom has voiced concern over the targeted killing in Pakistan of Shia Muslims, including ethnic Hazaras and Ahmadi Muslims in attacks believed to be driven by faith. The US ‘2019 International Religious Freedom Report’ documents major instances of the violation of religious freedom across the world, numerous instances of societal violence related to allegations of blasphemy, of efforts by individuals to coerce religious minorities to convert to Islam, and of societal harassment, discrimination, and threats of violence directed at members of religious minority communities.
The report further added, “There are also continuous attacks on holy places, cemeteries, and religious symbols of Hindu, Christian, and Ahmadiyya minorities.” According to Ahmadi civil society organisations, the State Department said that Islamabad failed to restrict advertisements or speeches inciting anti-Ahmadi violence, despite this responsibility being a component of the NAP. Civil society groups continued to express concerns about the safety of religious minorities.
The report said that visiting US government officials met with minority community representatives, parliamentarians, human rights activists, and members of the federal cabinet to highlight concerns regarding the treatment of religious minority communities, the application of blasphemy laws, and other forms of discrimination on the basis of religion.
According to ANI, on November 9, the Pakistani government opened a Sikh holy site, the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, along with a visa-free transit corridor for Sikh pilgrims travelling from India. However, minority religious leaders stated that members of their communities continued to experience discrimination in public schools and tertiary education, which resulted in very few religious minority applicants competing and qualifying for private and civil service employment.
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