Karachi [Pakistan], August 12 (ANI): Human rights activists have called upon the Pakistan government to introduce legal and administrative safeguards for the protection of minorities against human rights violations and their forced conversions.
This was demanded at a joint press conference held by civil society and human rights activists at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday to mark National Minorities' Day, Dawn reported.
The press conference was addressed by Sindh Commission on the status of Women chairperson Nuzhat Shireen, MPA Naveed Anthony, Zahid Farooq of Urban Resource Centre, Naghma Iqtedar of the Knowledge Forum and Zafar Iqbal who is a minorities rights activist.
However, the government needs to introduce reforms for laws and policies that affect minorities," said Naghma Iqtedar while reading out a statement.
"A majority of the cases under charges of blasphemy are based on fabricated accusations which make the accused face several years of imprisonment. In contrast, the complainant making false allegations enjoys impunity despite committing forgery, and sometimes the accusations lead to mob violence against the accused, and the minority community, which must be stopped with legal and administrative measures on the part of the government," the statement added.
As per Dawn, the fulfilment of the rights of religious minorities is contingent upon an open acceptance of religious diversity and equal status as citizens, however, the real onus lies with the federal and provincial governments to address the gaps in governance, and address serious issues that minorities face in Pakistan.
They also sought a bill criminalising forced conversions to be tabled in the national and provincial legislative assemblies, and vetted by the standing committees of the parliament on human rights.
Moreover, the human rights activists urged that legislative and educational measures should be taken to ensure that girls and women were free from physical abuse, domestic and sexual violence, or being subjected to any medical procedure without informed consent, and deprivation of reproductive autonomy and rights. (ANI)