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Pakistan marginalizes voices & violates freedom of expression of minorities: Rights group

Rights group

By Zaini Majeed

State-sponsored terrorism and the deteriorating state of human rights in Pakistan has reached a“tipping point,” and there has been an insidious rise of religious extremism against the minority community within the country with curbs on freedom of expression, according to a rights group in Islamabad, reported ANI. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in a statement on Wednesday cited the recent Asma Jahangir Conference 2021 where speakers deliberated on the theme of ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief’ noting that the voices were being marginalised, particularly those from Balochistan and grassroots movements.

“HRCP is increasingly alarmed by attempts to smother freedom of expression and opinion in the country–from the PTA’s ham-fisted bid to disrupt internet services to the venue of the Asma Jahangir Conference and detractors questioning its funding, to the Pakistan Ulema Council’s demand that the state takes action against the convenors for having allegedly ‘defamed’ the army and judiciary,” the HRCP said in a statement.

Furthermore, the rights advocacy group said that in an environment in Pakistan where marginalised voices – particularly those from Balochistan and grassroots movements such as the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement had to revolt with the Imran Khan-led government for their human rights and freedom of speech and expression.

“Such steps are at odds with the government’s claim that Pakistan’s media is ‘free’,” the HRCP said. “Religious and sectarian minorities suffer systematic discrimination and violence in Pakistan,” an expert panel said at the Lahore seminar asserted.

Rampant discrimination and violence against minorities in Pakistan

Pakistani scholar Pervez Hoodbhoy, meanwhile, stressed that due to the deteriorating rights situation and increasing violence against the minority communities, the Christians, Hindus, and Parsis have fled Pakistan. He further lambasted the government for “rampant discrimination and violence” against religious minority groups. “The extremists are empowered due to encouragement by the state as Hazaras suffer gross violations of human rights,” said Jalila Haider, a representative of the Hazara community, according to ANI.

Pakistan’s Lal Chand Malli, Member of the National Assembly, lambasted the Imran Khan government for blocking the legislation aimed at protecting the minority communities from forceful conversion in Pakistan. He stressed that the parliamentary committee was formed under the ministry of human rights but the laws directed at safeguarding the minorities were blocked by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). Highlighting the oppression faced by their community deemed as “double minority” in Pakistan, a representative of the Hazara said that they were subjected to systemic discrimination and oppression in Pakistan as the Islamic extremists were empowered by the government.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from news feeds. It has not been edited by Minority Watch staff. Please click this SOURCE LINK that deserves the credit.

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