Who will deliver rights to minorities? An op-ed in the Independent Urdu

Independenturdu.com/node/93766:   The esteemed news service issued this article on February 13, 2022. It is candid on various aspects of this important issue, so we produce below translation of a few extracts:

Who will deliver rights to minorities?

…Last year, the Senate Committee on Religious Affairs rejected the bill regarding the rights of minorities. Maulana Abdul Ghafur Haidari, the chair of the committee said that the minorities already enjoyed freedom in the country; as such, there is no need of a new law, the proposed clauses are already there in the current laws.

            The proposer and mover of the bill, Senator Javed Abbasi of PML-N said that it contained provisions regarding forced conversion, safeguarding the worship places of minorities, security of inheritance, security of their properties, etc; however, the Committee comprises many individuals of special mindset who think that minorities have no problems. 

            Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, met this year the Hindu community during his visit to Nangar Parkar and said that the minorities have equal rights in Pakistan and their protection is a state responsibility.

            On the other hand, on minorities’ rights, the situation has worsened, and many international associations have repeatedly criticized it in their reports….

            While the Parliament rejects the bill on minorities, the state is helpless in dealing with religious extremists. One remembers that Assistant Commissioner Zeenat Hussain said the same as General Bajwa in Nangar Parkar. AC Zeenat had said that Ahmadis’ rights should be respected as Pakistani citizens, however religious activists went over to her office and she had to apologize….

            While the US State Department, in its recent report, has included Pakistan in the list of countries where religious freedom is grossly violated, the European Parliament has passed a resolution whereby GSP Plus status of Pakistan will be revisited in view of the worsening of human rights and particularly the minority rights in Pakistan.

            However, as in the past in Pakistan, this government also takes provisional rather than permanent steps in the field of minorities’ rights. The aim is only to improve the country’s image for the time being and not to grant the minorities their rights on a permanent basis.

            In its 2014 verdict, the Supreme Court had ordered the federal government, in the context of minority rights to form a national council for minorities that would oversee the grant of Constitutional rights to minorities. Six years later, the federal government, rather than complying with the Supreme Court orders, has re-constituted the National Commission for Minorities. This Commission is little more than an adhoc committee.