Islamabad [Pakistan], August 12 (ANI): Pakistan has failed to uphold the promise which was everything for minorities that is safeguarding fundamental rights and freedom of religious minorities which was promised on August 11, 1947, but they still continue to suffer.
Qamar Rafiq, writing in Daily Times said that the minorities battle over the past decades for their rights suggests Pakistan is probably less kind than its founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who laid the foundation of a vision to see Pakistan as a diverse and inclusive nation.
Emerging testimonies from Pakistan confirm that it has betrayed the historic promise; instead, it has carved out an intolerant and bigoted culture of radicalisation that certifies which citizens are more equal to others in terms of civil liberties, status and rights, says Rafiq.
In fact, it has the same mindset that has certified Al Qaeda's founder Osama Bin Laden a martyr, who masterminded numerous terrorist attacks.
The dilemma of minorities shows how Pakistan amplified the trend of misuse of the blasphemy law and rampant violence against minorities stemming from personal enmity to professional or economic rivalry. As a result, religious minorities remain a soft target of non-state actors and religiously inspired extremists, reported Daily Times.
Meanwhile, the dogged persistence of state policies has failed to reboot the judicial system and rule of law. Religious minorities in Pakistan continue to face brutal robbery of their rights that not only include the vandalism of their sites of worship, but also lynching of their houses and the illegal acquisition of their property, lamented Rafiq.
The brutal killing of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti shows that Pakistan has failed to emerge as a bridging figurehead, able to blend humanity and modernity to spell out a coherent plan of progressive Pakistan as a matter of urgency.
The failure arguably lays at the heart of colour-blind dictatorship and civilian rule which failed to see the grip of uncontrolled religiously motivated violence, and religious freedom calamities in Pakistan, reported Daily Times.
Pakistan has become a hotspot of forced conversion and a thriving industry of hate preaching. Around 1,000 girls belonging to minorities are forcibly converted and married to their abductors. Moreover, it has also failed to bring an end to state-approved textbooks and curriculum which fuels an environment of religious fanaticism, wrote Rafiq.
According to Human Rights Watch, "Minorities continue to face violence, discrimination, and persecution, with authorities often failing to provide adequate protection or hold perpetrators to account". The authorities routinely use draconian counterterrorism and sedition laws to intimidate peaceful critics, reported Daily Times
Similarly, Minorities Alliance Pakistan (MAP) revealed in a webinar how religious oppression has brutally crushed the values of religious liberty in Pakistan. Extraordinary revelations came as a shock, particularly the role of police which often turns a blind eye to reports of forced conversion, setting up impunity for perpetrators.
That is deeply uncomfortable, the dark side has become a part of our identity, which is why this goes unexamined, said Rafiq.
After the rejection of the Protection of Minorities Rights Bill last year by the standing committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, it is sufficient to put up the message that minorities are not part of the government's agenda.
In contrast, there are many examples of how governments advance their democracies to bring considerable resources, develop policies, and provide space for dialogue to address the challenges of religious persecution, said Rafiq.
Time has proven that Jinnah's promise with religious minorities was an encouraging one but not a reliable one. We know that there is a yearning for a better kind of Pakistan than the one that serially descends into wholesale destruction of fundamental rights and freedom, wrote Rafiq. (ANI)