Lahore, The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has expressed concern over the continued marginalization of religious minorities in the country. The panel has mentioned several incidents in its report titled ‘A Breach of Faith: Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2021-22’. These are alarming developments, the commission said, which undermines the state’s commitment to freedom of religion or belief.
Incidents of forced conversions are alarmingly frequent in Pakistan’s Sindh. HRCP chairperson Hina Jilani said there were reports of desecration of places of worship of religious minorities, but when such incidents included places of the Ahmadiyya community, there was no reaction from Pakistan.
Hina Jilani said the mandatory declaration of faith for marriage certificate in Punjab has further marginalized the Ahmadiyya community.
Minority communities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and Ahmadis, still live under the shadow of fear and persecution by the majority community. In 2022, several cases of blasphemy against members of minority communities were reported in cities and towns of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The HRCP has reiterated the need for a representative and autonomous statutory National Commission for Minorities in the spirit of the 2014 Supreme Court District judgment.
The HRCP has also called for immediate legislation to criminalize forced conversions. Among other recommendations, the HRCP demanded that the state make concerted efforts to combat communal violence.SS1MS