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UN Commission slams Imran Khan government over persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan

The CSW also stated that blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which criminalise anyone who insults Islam, are being misused to register false cases against the religious minorities and are a "source of controversy and suffering". 

In yet embarrassment for the terror state of Pakistan, the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has slammed Imran Khan government stating that their discriminatory legislation has empowered people with “extremist mindsets” to carry out attacks on religious minorities.

According to ANI report, the United Nations CSW in its 47-page report titled, ”Pakistan-Religious freedom under attack”, has expressed concerns over the increasing weaponisation and politicisation of the blasphemy laws and the anti-Ahmadiyya legislation which are being used not only to persecute religious minorities but also to gain political ground.

The CSW, a commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, said that Christian and Hindu communities, especially women and girls in Pakistan are “particularly vulnerable”.

“Each year hundreds are abducted and forced to convert and marry Muslim men. Victims have little or no hope of being returned to their families due to the serious threats and intimidation from abductors against the girls and their families. This is compounded by the lack of police will to take action, weaknesses in the judicial process and discrimination from both police and judiciary towards religious minority victims,” the report read.

Read: Religious persecution: Pakistan’s Sikh ex-lawmaker seeks asylum in India, says Army and ISI dictate Imran Khan

The commission also cited several prominent examples to substantiate that minorities in the country are portrayed as second class citizens.

In May 2019, Ramesh Kumar Malhi, a Hindu veterinary surgeon from Mirpurkhas in Sindh, was accused of blasphemy after he had accidentally wrapped medicines in pages containing verses from the Quran. Later, the Islamists and protestors had burned down his clinic and other shops belonging to the Hindu community.

The CSW also stated that blasphemy laws in Pakistan, which criminalise anyone who insults Islam, are being misused to register false cases against the religious minorities and are a “source of controversy and suffering”.

“The prolonged misuse of the blasphemy laws over the last three decades, combined with the rise of extremism, has had a damaging normative impact on social harmony. The sensitive nature of blasphemy cases serves to heighten religious fervour and has created an environment of mob violence in which people take matters into their own hands, often with fatal consequences,” the report read.

Read: EU parliament threatens to cut subsidies and trade preferences to Pakistan, warns against persecution of religious minorities

The CSW also recognised that cases of forced marriages and forced conversions are common among Christian and Hindu girls and women, particularly in the Punjab and Sindh provinces. The Hindu girls and women are being systematically targeted as they come from lower economic backgrounds in rural areas, who are generally under-educated.

In its report, the CSW further stated that it had surveyed children from religious minorities, who admitted that they were subjected to severe physical and psychological ill-treatment, including being segregated, bullied, teased, insulted and beaten on multiple occasions, by both teachers and classmates. The commission also said that human rights activists in Pakistan also face constant threats and intimidation from multiple sources, including the state and non-state actors.

“HRDs are subject to harassment, targeted attacks and enforced disappearance, with little protection provided by the government,” it read.

Pakistan is notoriously known for its persecution of not only religious minorities but also ethnic minorities within their own country. The forceful conversion programmes have often been unleashed against the minorities especially Christians, Sikhs and Hindus living in Pakistan with utmost brutality.

Read: Majnu Ka Tila: Hindu refugee family from Pakistan name their daughter ‘Nagrikta (Citizenship)’, father says she is ‘India’s daughter’

This violence against Hindus in Pakistan is now a common affair. A series of abductions and forceful conversions of minority Hindu and Sikh girls had recently rocked the country. In March, two underage Hindu girls Raveena (13) and Reena (15) were abducted from the Ghotki in Pakistan’s Sindh on the eve of Holi. The girls were later forcefully converted and married off to older Muslim men.

Earlier, Jagjit Kaur, a Sikh girl was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in Nankana Sahib which had caused a huge uproar. In another horrific incident, a 13-year-old Pooja Sotahar Kumari, daughter of Fatan Rathore, resident of village Bakhsho Laghari in Hyderabad district’s Hosri Taluka, was kidnapped, forcefully converted and subsequently married off to a man identified as Syed Irshad Shah.

In another attack on Hindus, a medical student was found dead under mysterious circumstances inside her hostel room at a college in Larkana area. The Hindu student Namrita Chandani, a final year BDS student in the Bibi Asifa Dental College of Larkana, Pakistan was found dead in her room on Monday. Namrita Chandani was found lying down with a rope tied around her neck under suspicious circumstances.

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