Pakistan escapes list of states violating religious freedom

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Galaxy, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Pakistan escapes list of states violating religious freedom

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    The omission, however, angered another federal government agency, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which demanded on Wednesday to put Pakistan on the list.

    WASHINGTON: The US State Department has not included Pakistan in a list of eight “countries of particular concern” whose governments have engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

    The omission, however, angered another federal government agency, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which demanded on Wednesday to put Pakistan on the list.

    The eight countries on the list are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

    Assistant Secretary Michael H. Posner, while releasing the annual report on international religious freedom, said the United States was concerned about the blasphemy law in Pakistan, and about the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti.

    “We have great concern about the overall situation of extremism and intolerance in Pakistan, and we stand ready to work with the government to try to address that,” he said.

    But USCIRF chairman Leonardo Leo urged the State Department to correct “glaring omissions” of countries like Pakistan which he believed deserved to be on the list.

    “Pakistan continues to be responsible for systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief. Two high-profile members of the ruling party were assassinated during the reporting period for their advocacy against Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws,” said the commission’s report on international religious freedom in 2011.

    “In light of these particularly severe violations, USCIRF again recommends in 2011 that Pakistan be designated a country of particular concern.” Since 2002, USCIRF has recommended Pakistan be named a CPC, but the US State Department has not followed that recommendation.

    The commission dedicated its 2011 report to the memory of the former Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, Mr Bhatti.

    “Shahbaz was a courageous advocate for the religious freedoms of all Pakistanis, and he was assassinated on March 2 by the Pakistani Taliban for those efforts,” the report noted.

    At the State Department briefing, Assistant Secretary Posner noted that the government of Pakistan had not yet reformed a blasphemy law which had been used to prosecute religious minorities and, in some cases, Muslims who promoted tolerance or to settle personal vendettas.

    “This year, there have also been several assassinations of those who called for reform of the blasphemy laws, including Governor Taseer and Mr Bhatti, whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I met in February before he was killed,” he said.

    Mr Posner, however, pointed out that the government of Pakistan had taken steps to address these rising concerns. For example, in March, Shahbaz Bhatti’s brother, Paul, was appointed a special adviser on religious minorities to the prime minister.

    In July, the government created a ministry of national harmony, which will have oversight for protecting religious minorities at a national level. And in August, President Zardari celebrated National Minorities Day and committed his government to support protection of minority religious rights.

    Pakistan escapes list of states violating religious freedom | Newspaper | DAWN.COM
     
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  3. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Religious freedom report: Pakistan one of 10 countries ‘failing to protect minorities’ rights’

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    US state department report states that the Pakistani govt failed to protect minorities against abuse, discrimination

    KARACHI: akistan was cited among 10 countries “failing to sufficiently protect religious rights”, in a report regarding religious freedom released by Washington on Wednesday.

    The other countries, mentioned in the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom report for the second half of 2010, included Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

    However, Pakistan was not included in the list of ‘countries of particular concern’ regarding religious freedom – much to the dismay of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The list named China, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, North Korea, Eritrea, Iran, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

    “… the current list continues with glaring omissions, such as Pakistan and Vietnam. We respectfully urge Secretary Clinton to consider the six additional countries we recommended for designation,” said USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo.
    The report details actions such as active state repression, violence against religious groups, apostasy and blasphemy laws, anti-Semitism and restrictions on religious attire and expression.

    The report bluntly states that the constitution and laws in Pakistan “restricted religious freedom and, in practice, the government enforced these restrictions.”

    Citing acts of violence against religious minorities as well as societal and governmental discrimination, it states that “the government rarely investigated or prosecuted the perpetrators of increased extremist attacks on minorities and the majority promoting tolerance, which deepened the climate of impunity.”

    The report includes a long list of case studies of violence and discrimination against Ahmadis, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other Muslim sects.
    The controversial blasphemy law, Aasia Bibi’s case in particular, and discrimination against the Ahmadiyya community take centre stage in the 30 pages of the report dedicated solely to Pakistan. “The government did not undertake reform measures to prevent the abuse of the blasphemy laws.
    Toward the end of the reporting period the public discourse regarding the blasphemy laws became increasingly heated, which contributed to the government’s reluctance to address the issue. For example, after initially signalling he was considering pardoning Aasia Bibi’s death penalty sentence for alleged blasphemy, President Zardari refrained from doing so,” the report states.

    It adds that the government, in fact, distanced itself from a bill introduced by a member of the ruling party that would have amended the blasphemy laws to prevent abuse.

    Terming the blasphemy laws “a legal weapon against religious minorities and other Muslims”, the report says that the government’s failure in addressing religious hostility fostered intolerance and acts of violence against minorities and Muslims alike.

    However, the report gives credit to the slain minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti for promoting religious tolerance and taking an active role in assisting victims of religiously motivated attacks on Christians and Ahmadis.

    The report states that, according to the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), between 1987 and 2010, a total of 1,068 persons were charged under the blasphemy laws. In 2010, blasphemy complaints were registered with the police against 17 Christians, eight Muslims, five Ahmadis, and seven Hindus, according to the report.

    (ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
    Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2011.

    Religious freedom report: Pakistan one of 10 countries ‘failing to protect minorities’ rights’ – The Express Tribune
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Right, Pakistan is not violating religious freedom because there is no religious freedom to begin with. Anyways, State department didn't want to antagonize pakistan anymore than it has already done, so it makes sense that it is out of this list but everyone and their nana knows what is the reality. And US state department's list is not a gospel either for us to believe.
     
  5. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    False one, thats why i posted 2nd one too.
     

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