Sat, 27 Nov 2021

Lahore [Pakistan], November 23 (ANI): Religious and sectarian minorities suffer systematic discrimination and violence in Pakistan, an expert panel said during a seminar in Lahore.

This issue of discrimination against minorities was raised during the Asma Jahangir Conference 2021, where the speakers discussed the theme of 'Freedom of Religion and Belief' on Sunday.

"Despite all discrimination, we own this land and accept the Constitution of Pakistan," said speakers while attending a session on "Impact of extremism on religious and sectarian Minorities" on Sunday, The News International reported.

Prominent Pakistani academic Pervez Hoodbhoy said that the two-Nation Theory and the Objectives Resolution laid the basis for the systematic discrimination of minorities in Pakistan. He said that the Christians, Hindus and Parsis, over time, chose to leave Pakistan due to discrimination and violence.

Lal Chand Malli, Member of the National Assembly, said the government, under the Ministry of Human Rights, had formed a parliamentary committee to protect minorities against forced conversions, but the law was blocked at the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

A representative of the Hazara community termed Hazaras "double minority" as they faced systematic discrimination. "The extremists are empowered due to encouragement by the state as Hazaras suffer gross violations of human rights," Jalila Haider said.

There was confusion from the very outset as to what should Pakistan look like, said Haris Khaliq, secretary-general of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). "The Quaid-e-Azam advocated Pakistan to be an inclusive society for minorities, but at the same time declared it a laboratory of Islam," he said. Khaliq added that it caused a lot of confusion about the ideological roadmap of Pakistan, as quoted by The News International.

The annual HRCP report released earlier this year said the human rights scenario remains alarming with issues like marginalisation of communities and groups and increasing instances of honour killing as well as the poor state of religious minorities.

Spiralling cases of child abuse, enforced disappearances, targeted killings and attack against journalists are among fundamental human rights issues plaguing the country, highlighted in the International Forum For Rights And Security's annual report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) titled 'State of Human Rights in 2020'. (ANI)

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