First minority Hindu woman to contest on general seat from Thar Desert:

 

ISLAMABAD: Sunita Parmar, a 31-year-old Hindu woman, has emerged as a beacon of hope not only for minorities but also for women, who make up 52 per cent of the country’s 220 million population.

Parmar has taken a difficult decision of contesting general elections being held on July 25 and is confident of challenging stereotypes in the process.Hailing from Tharparker’s Hindu Meghwar community, Sunita has made history as the first Hindu woman to contest provincial assembly election. She is contesting from Tharparkar district (constituency number PS56) in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province as an independent candidate.

Unveiling her agenda in her native town of Islamkot, Sunita vowed to improve standards of education for women and revitalise poor health facilities in Thar. “I will try to improve standards of education for women and health facilities in Tharparkar,” she said. “Previous governments did nothing for the people of this area. Even in the 21st Century, we lack basic health facilities and proper educational institutes for women,” Sunita said.

Despite hardships and pressure from society (to stop studying), she did her Masters in Education. “I believe in girl’s education. This is the only way to make women stronger and help them prosper,” she said. “Gone are the days when women were supposed to be weaker and inferior. I am confident of winning the election,” Sunita said. Backed by her family, relatives and the community, Sunita is breaking several social and political barriers, Al Arabiya English reported.

“This is 21st Century and we are even ready to fight the lion,” a confident Parmar said. In march this year, Krishna Kumari Kolhi from Pakistan’s Sindh become the first-ever Hindu Dalit woman Senator. Kolhi, 39, from Thar is a member of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), one of the main political parties in Pakistan. She won the election for the reserved seat for women from Sindh province. Her election was a major milestone for women and minority rights in Pakistan.

“Women like Sunita and Krishna are real face of Pakistan. I’m sure they will contribute to make Pakistan prosper,” Zareen Gul, a women’s rights activist said.

Officials’ Religious Belief is Public Matter, Rules Judge:

–IHC Justice Siddiqui says every citizen has right to know religious beliefs of persons holding key posts, orders govt to make Raja Zafarul Haq’s report public,

–Says amendment to Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath by a Law Ministry draftsman was meant to benefit minority Ahmadi community

 –Orders govt to investigate ‘alarming and visible difference’ in population record of Ahmadi community available with NADRA and figures collected through recent census.

 ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered the caretaker federal government to make the Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee’s report on the issue of Election Act 2017, public, as it ruled that every citizen of Pakistan has the right to know the religious beliefs of persons holding key positions in the country.

Issuing the 172-page verdict in the case pertaining to controversial amendments made to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood (PBUH) oath in the Elections Act 2017 last year, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ruled that an affidavit must be sworn by applicants of the Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC), passport, birth certificate, electoral rolls, and appointment in government and semi-government institutions especially the judiciary, armed forces and civil services. He stated that a Law Ministry draftsman had deliberately changed the affidavit in the oath to benefit the minority Ahmadi community. The order said that the court, “in the larger interests of the country”, is avoiding disclosing the names of many who held high positions in the bureaucracy, judiciary, military, naval, and air forces and other sensitive and important institutions while hiding their real religious identities as part of the Ahmadi community as it would “bring a bad taste”, but that the practice “has to be brought to a halt”.

The order went on to say that “Every citizen of the country has [the] right to know that the persons holding the key posts belong to which religious community, the persons scheming syllabus for their children profess what religious beliefs, the persons formulating their policies tend to hold their beloved Prophet (PBUH) in what esteem, the persons believed to be the ambassadors and representatives of their Islamic ideology… last but not the least, the defenders in whose hands the defence of Islamic Republic of Pakistan rests belongs to which religion? This was the responsibility of the State, and the Federal Government in particular, but it has badly failed to discharge it.” Regarding the change in the affidavit related to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath, the court noted that it appears that a deliberate and motivated effort was made by the draftsmen of the bill to bring the Ahmadi community into the loop of majority in order to “diminish their separate identity as nonMuslims”. The court observed that parliamentarians had failed to identify the motive, lacuna and an effort to frustrate the constitutional amendment. However, soon after it was pointed out, the parliament, in its collective wisdom and understanding, made it conform to the requirements of the constitution.

The court verdict appreciated Senator Raja Zafarul Haq “for his legal acumen as a lawyer and experienced legislator as well, who by chairing the committee made a very commendable report. Moreover, with his honesty and wisdom he handled all the points very comprehensively, which annulled all the negative impressions.” It is mandatory for the State to safeguard the sentiments and religious beliefs and also protect the rights of minority according to the religion of the State of Pakistan “Islam” declared by the Constitution of Pakistan. Citing Raja Zafarul Haq’s report, the court pointed out that the then law minister Zahid Hamid being chairman of the committee that prepared the Elections Act 2017 admitted his failure to overlook the mistake of draftsman.

The court declared that appointment of non-Muslims to constitutional posts is against organic law and rituals. Non-Muslims do not qualify to be elected to certain constitutional offices, Justice Siddiqui stated, adding that there are seats reserved for non-Muslims (minorities) in most institutions, including Parliament. “When any member of the minority group conceals his/her religion and belief through fraudulent means… is actually an open defiance to the words and spirit of the Constitution,” the judge stated. To prevent this disobedience, the state must take immediate measures, he declared, adding that a citizen doing so would betray the state, resulting in exploitation of the constitution. Justice Siddiqui observed that minorities residing in Pakistan held a separate identification in reference to their names “but one of the minorities did not hold a distinct identification due to their names and general attire, according to the constitution”. “These matters demand such sensitivity and unity,” he stated. “Due to their names they can easily mask their belief and become part of Muslim majority,” he stated, “[and] they can gain access to dignified and sensitive posts resulting in accumulation of all benefits.” The IHC ruled that parliament may make necessary legislation and amendments to the existing laws to ensure that all the terms specifically used for ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslims’ were not used by the persons belonging to any of the minorities for hiding their real identity or for any other purpose. “The matter of absolute and unqualified Finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH), the last of the Prophets, is the nucleus of our religion,” the order stated. It asked NADRA to fix a timeframe for citizens who intended to make corrections or changes to their existing particulars, especially religion. The court also advised all the institutions to engage Muslim teachers for teaching Islamiat/Deenyat as a subject.

Justice Siddiqi asked the government to take immediate steps to conduct an inquiry concerning the “alarming and visible difference” in the population record of the Ahmadi community available with NADRA and figures collected through recent census. “It is binding on the state to take care of the rights, feelings and religious beliefs of the Muslim Ummah and to also ensure the protection of rights of minorities in the light of teachings of Islam being the religion declared by the Constitution of the country,” Justice Siddiqui stated. The amendment to the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat oath had led to weeks-long sit-in in Islamabad following which the then PML-N government capitulated to the demands of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and sacked its law minister, Zahid Hamid.

I’m Jewish and Pakistani… let me go to Israel:

The only things that can stand in the way of progress are the laws made by the majority to rule over the people in the minority. It is only by reviewing each law comprehensively, and changing it according to the demands of the time that we can ensure that the path to progress remains open. Fishel Khalid

As I try to write, I stare at my computer’s blank white screen, imagining it is the white segment on Pakistan’s lag that represent its religious minorities. Does that sound a bit theatrical? I suppose it does, but its purpose is to capture your attention. I request you set aside any preconceived notions you might have about the status of minorities in Pakistan and approach my hypothesis with an open mind.

To begin with, let’s admit that logically a perfect world cannot be achieved. Human beings were never designed to, nor can they completely achieve the utopian idea of complete equality. It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world right now, or at any time in history, and the same is true for Pakistan as well. Here, even people with slightly different backgrounds, than those in the majority, struggle to attain equal rights or representation. The divide amongst the different segments of society is widening daily, and with it changes the ideals and views of society in reference to an individual belonging to a speciic cast, creed or religion. And yet, the most troubling notion is that, we as a society excel at ignoring these divisions and denying that there even is any discrimination taking placed against minorities, even when the evidence opposing this belief is so apparent.

As per the constitution, every citizen has the right to practice their religion, including religious pilgrimages. How can the state be justiied in prohibiting not only Jews, but Pakistani Christians, Messianic Jews, and even Muslims, from travelling to Jerusalem?

Now I am not trying to be melancholic because there is still hope. The only things that can stand in the way of progress are the laws made by the majority to rule over the people in the minority. It is only by reviewing each law comprehensively, and changing it according to the demands of the time can we ensure that the path to progress remains unimpeded. It is just such one rule of law that I hope to challenge, in order to provide some respite to the minorities that are affected by it.

I am stuck in a real life conundrum. Being a practicing Jewish man, I want the freedom to perform my religious duties, a right granted to me and other minorities in the country by the constitution. However, the reality is that my Pakistani passport states that ‘this passport is valid for all countries of the world, except Israel’. As per the constitution, every citizen has the right to practice their religion, including religious pilgrimages. How then, can the state be justified in prohibiting not only Jews, but Pakistani Christians, Messianic Jews, and even Muslims from travelling to Jerusalem? This self-conlicting sentence on our passports is lawed and inconsistent with our constitution, and it is time to challenge this archaic law.

All I simply want is to invoke my given constitutional right to perform a religious pilgrimage without having the threat of criminal persecution from the state of Pakistan hanging over my head. This is a law in the laws that govern the state of minorities in the country and it specifically discriminates against the small community of Jews, Christians and Muslims that want to observe their rights.

I want to observe the Passover (Pesach) Seder in Jerusalem next year in April, and as the situation stands at the moment, I am unable to do so. But we need to realize that even though laws are not meant to be broken, they are supposed to evolve, so that any laws can be ironed out over time. If the lawmakers today realize how the law banning Pakistanis from travelling to Israel, despite their desire to just perform a religious pilgrimage, is contradictory to the rights highlighted in the constitution, then I implore them to amend the laws accordingly.

Pakistani Christians looking for leaders willing to solve their problems:

As elections draw nigh, Pakistani Christians look for political leader willing to solve their problems. In this regard, a seminar themed “Elections 2018 and rights of religious minorities”, was held in Karachi. Christians and other minorities’ members from all walks of life attended this seminar.

The seminar was attended by more than 80 including churchmen, Christian political activists, rights activists and others. On this occasion, Peter Jacob Director of “Social Justice Center” stated: “We must look for political leaders willing to take care of our rights, challenges, problems, the development of our community and work to provide protection and integral promotion of minorities”.

Further explaining, he went on saying, “Our Christian areas are not yet developed. The problems have been the same for decades. We should vote for candidates and political parties that really deal with minority rights issues”. At the same time, light was shed on the challenges Pakistani Christians face. Participants shared views on problems including religion based discrimination, violation of fundamental rights, misuse of blasphemy law, indifference from government, intolerance etc.

Another participant Riaz Nawab, talked about issues regarding the legislative assemblies: “The members selected to occupy the seats reserved for minorities in Parliament are not useful for the community, they do not visit the minority areas. They are chosen by political parties, they work only for them”. The attendees demanded for greater and fair participation and representation of the representation of minorities in the electoral and government making process. Furthermore, the participants demanded the historic ruling of Supreme Court regarding the religious minorities in Pakistan should be implemented. On June 19, 2014, the apex court had directed the government to establish a Commission which will be assigned with the task to investigate and deal with issues related to religious minorities. There was also discussion on the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling of 19 June 2014 on religious minorities and, among the proposals raised, it was asked to set up an autonomous National Commission to examine issues related to religious minorities. The participants also discussed the matter of biased curriculum being taught in the schools and universities; hate content against minorities is inculcating religious intolerance among the students. The participants demanded for a review of the curriculum and the education policy in order to eradicate discrimination based on religion. The participants also called for implementation of 5%quota allocated for minorities in government jobs sector.

Hafiz Saeed the master mind of 26/11 Mumbai attack, heads a terrorist outfit & Pakistan's hidden PM, very upset when he found no wall in #Balochistan written "Pakistan zindabad", but says he found it on every single wall written *"Pakistan murdabad" which means death to Pakistan

Pakistani children recruited for suicide attacks: U.N. report:

The annual report of the U.N. Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict said the Pakistan-based terror outfits have released videos of children being taught how to carry out suicide attacks. Armed groups in Pakistan continue to recruit children, including those from madrassas, and allegedly use them for suicide attacks, according to a U.N. report released on Thursday. The annual report of the U.N. Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict said the Pakistan-based terror outfits have released videos of children being taught how to carry out suicide attacks. “In Pakistan, the United Nations continued to receive reports of the recruitment and use of children, including from madrasas, and allegations of the use of children by armed groups for suicide attacks,” said the report covering the January-December 2017 period.

“In January, Tehrike Taliban Pakistan released a video showing children, including girls, being instructed how to perpetrate suicide attacks,” it said. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “concerned” by the continued attacks on schools by armed groups, particularly the targeting of girls’ education. He called on the Pakistan government to prioritise measures to deter future attacks on schools. The report also said while the age-disaggregated data on civilian casualties were limited, incidents of children killed and injured in attacks in Pakistan by armed groups continued to be reported. It cited the February suicide attack in Sehwan in the Sindh Province in which at least 75 people, including 20 children, were reportedly killed. Eight attacks on educational facilities and students were also reported, four targeting girls’ education, it said. In March, unidentified individuals vandalised the Oxford Public School in Ghizer Valley of the Gilgit-Baltistan, and threatened to bomb the school if female teachers did not cover themselves. In the same month, a girls’ school located in Qila Abdullah in the restive Balochistan Province was damaged in an attack through the use of improvised explosive devices, it said. Taliban militants stormed military-run Army Public School in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December 2014, killing at least 150 people, mostly children.

Pakistan: Ensure Ahmadi Voting Rights:

At last The Pakistan Repeal Discriminatory Laws Against Religious Community.

The Pakistani government should immediately act to allow the full and equal participation of members of the Ahmadiyya religious community in the general elections scheduled for July 25, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should drop discriminatory provisions in the electoral law that effectively exclude Ahmadis because of their religious beliefs. The Ahmadiyya community regards Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of their sect, as a prophet, a claim that the dominant Muslim faiths and Pakistani law reject. To register as voters, Ahmadis must either renounce their faith or agree to be placed in a separate electoral list and accept their status as “non-Muslim.” Self-identification as Muslims, however, is the cornerstone of Ahmadiyya religious belief, and thus they end up not voting at all. “The elections in Pakistan can’t be ‘free and fair’ if an entire community is effectively excluded from the electoral process,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Religious disagreements cannot justify denying people their right to vote.” Anti-Ahmadiyya violence has intensified in the past year, exemplified by the government’s pandering to groups using inflammatory language against the Ahmadis and seeking to exclude them from the political process. Human Rights Watch interviewed 13 members of the Ahmadi community to discuss entrenched problems in their participation in elections. Elections held in 1985 under the military dictatorship of President Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq reversed universal voting rights and introduced a system of separate electorates that required nonMuslims to register as a separate category and vote for non-Muslim candidates. To vote, the Ahmadis had to register as non-Muslims. Since then, Ahmadis have in practice been denied the right to vote in local, provincial, and national elections. In 2002, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf abolished the separate electorate system and restored the original joint electorate scheme with one major amendment. Through an executive order, he created a separate category for Ahmadis. Executive Order No. 15 states that elections for the members of the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies shall be held on the basis of a joint electorate, but the “status of Ahmadis [was] to remain unchanged.” As a result, Pakistani citizens have been moved to a single electoral list, leaving only Ahmadis on a “non-Muslim” list. The new Election Act 2017 retains the provisions regarding the status of the Ahmadis. If anyone raises an objection against a particular voter identifying them as non-Muslim, the election commission can summon the person and ask that they declare they are not Ahmadi or be put on a supplementary special voter list. “The choice is between practically renouncing our faith or vote,” said an Ahmadi activist. “This is not a real choice. It would have been better had the government outright banned Ahmadis from voting since then they would rightly receive international criticism for doing that.” In addition to being denied suffrage, the Ahmadiyya community has faced deadly violence by militant Islamist groups. The separate list of all registered Ahmadi voters with contact information places them at greater risk of targeted attacks. In recent years, hundreds of Ahmadis have been injured and killed in bombings and other attacks by militants. The government effectively legalizes and even encourages persecution of the Ahmadiyya community. The penal code explicitly discriminates against religious minorities and targets Ahmadis in particular by prohibiting them from “indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim.” Ahmadis are prohibited from declaring or propagating their faith publicly, building mosques, or making the call for Muslim prayer. Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law,” as section 295-C of the Penal Code is known, makes the death penalty mandatory for blasphemy. Under this law, the Ahmadi belief in the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is considered blasphemous insofar as it “defiles the name of Prophet Muhammad.”

“This is a vicious cycle,” said an Ahmadi businessman. “We are persecuted and discriminated by laws which ensure that we don’t get a voice in the parliament, and since we don’t have a voice, there is nothing that we can do to have these laws changed.” The authorities continue to arrest, jail, and charge Ahmadis for blasphemy and other offenses because of their religious beliefs. In several instances, the police have been complicit in harassment and filing of false charges against Ahmadis, or stood by in the face of anti-Ahmadi violence. Pakistani laws against the Ahmadiyya community violate Pakistan’s international legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), including the rights to freedom of conscience, religion, expression, and association; to profess and practice their own religion; and to vote and be elected at genuine periodic elections. Pakistan ratified the ICCPR in 2010. The government of Pakistan should also investigate and prosecute as appropriate intimidation, threats, and violence against the Ahmadiyya community by militant Islamist groups. “The Pakistani government’s continued use of discriminatory laws against Ahmadis and other religious minorities is indefensible,” Adams said. “As long as such laws remain on the books, the Pakistani government will be seen as a persecutor of minorities and an enabler of abuses.” Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan The Ahmadiyya community has long been persecuted in Pakistan. Since 1953, when the first post-independence anti-Ahmadiyya riots broke out, the relatively small number of Ahmadis in Pakistan have lived under threat. The community boycotts the census but estimates that there are approximately four million Ahmadis in Pakistan out of a total population of 220 million. Between 1953 and 1973, this persecution was sporadic, but in 1974 a new wave of anti-Ahmadi disturbances spread across Pakistan. In response, Pakistan’s parliament, instead of acting to protect the community, introduced constitutional amendments that defined the term “Muslim” in the Pakistani context and listed groups that were deemed to be non-Muslim under Pakistani law. The amendment, which went into effect on September 6, 1974, explicitly deprived Ahmadis of their identity as Muslims. In 1984, Pakistan amended its penal code, giving legal status to five ordinances that explicitly targeted religious minorities, including a law against blasphemy; a law punishing defiling the Quran; a prohibition against insulting the wives, family, or companions of the Prophet of Islam; and two laws specifically restricting the activities of Ahmadis. On April 26, 1984, General Zia-ul-Haq issued these last two laws as part of Martial Law Ordinance XX, which amended Pakistan’s Penal Code, sections 298-B and 298-C. Ordinance XX undercut the activities of religious minorities generally, but struck at Ahmadis in particular by prohibiting them from “indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim.” Ahmadis thus could no longer profess their faith, either orally or in writing. Pakistani police destroyed Ahmadi translations of and commentaries on the Quran. They banned Ahmadi publications, as well as using any Islamic terminology on Ahmadi wedding invitations, offering Ahmadi funeral prayers, or displaying the Kalima – the statement that “there is no god but Allah, Muhammad is Allah’s prophet,” the principal creed of Muslims – on Ahmadi gravestones. In addition, Ordinance XX prohibited Ahmadis from declaring their faith publicly, propagating their faith, building mosques, or making the call for Muslim prayer. In effect, virtually any public act of worship or devotion by an Ahmadi could be treated as a criminal offense. With the passage of the Criminal Law Act of 1986, parliament added section 295-C to the Pakistan Penal Code. The “Blasphemy Law,” as it came to be known, made the death penalty mandatory for blasphemy. General Zia-ul-Haq and his military government institutionalized the persecution of Ahmadis as well as other minorities in Pakistan with section 295-C. The Ahmadi belief in the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was considered blasphemous because it “defiled the name of Prophet Muhammad,” meaning that Ahmadis can be sentenced to death for simply professing their faith. Though the numbers vary from year to year, Ahmadis have been charged every year under the Blasphemy Law. In October 2017, after parliament changed the language of the oath for incoming members by replacing the words “I solemnly swear” with “I believe” in a proclamation of Muhammad as the religion’s last prophet, hardline Islamist groups held protests in the federal capital, Islamabad. They viewed the change to be “blasphemous” and to be extending a concession to Ahmadi beliefs. The government blamed a “clerical” error for the change and quickly restored the earlier wording.

Ahmadis also face legal barriers in obtaining government identification and travel documents. Pakistani law requires citizens to declare their religion when applying for a Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) or passport. Every person who declares themselves a Muslim when applying for a passport has to sign a declaration titled “Declaration in the Case of Muslims” that states, “I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an imposter nabi and also consider his followers … to be Non-Muslims.” The identification card application process requires a similar declaration. The requirement effectively mandates Ahmadis to renounce a tenet of their faith to obtain basic travel documents. One consequence of the passport declaration has been to bar Ahmadis from performing the Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage that Ahmadis believe to be a religious duty.

India Grants Citizenship to 90 Hindus from Pakistan:

Since 2016, the Ahmedabad collectorate has awarded citizenship to 320 people: Collector Vikrant Pandey As many as 90 Hindus from Pakistan, who had migrated to the city years ago, were awarded Indian citizenship by the district authorities at a function held here on Friday. District Collector Vikrant Pandey handed over the certificates of Indian citizenship, issued in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, to the 90 applicants. “In 2016, the Centre had decentralised the process of issuing citizenship to the minority communities, such as the Hindus and the Sikhs, of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan,” Mr. Pandey told reporters. Through a gazette notification issued in December 2016, the district collectors of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Kutch in Gujarat were given powers to confer Indian citizenship to the applicants from these communities living in Gujarat, he added.

“With today’s tally of 90, Ahmedabad becomes a leader among all the districts in the country in awarding such citizenship since the new arrangement came into effect,” Mr. Pandey said. 320 people since 2016 “Since 2016, the Ahmedabad district collectorate has awarded citizenship to 320 people.No other district in the country has awarded these many certificates of citizenship. Ninety per cent of the 320 applicants were from Pakistan, while the rest were from Bangladesh,” the Collector added. Mr. Pandey said since these people were now Indian citizens, they could apply for Aadhaar, passport and various other benefits. “The names of these citizens will also be included in the electoral rolls,” he added. Those who were awarded citizenship today thanked the administration and expressed joy for finally being able to call themselves “Indian.” Some of them shared their experiences in Pakistan, which forced them to leave behind their businesses and loved ones and come to India on long-term visa. “Hindus an easy target in Pak” Bharatkumar Khatwani (35), who used to live in Karachi, said Hindus were an easy target in Muslim-majority Pakistan. “I have been living here since 2009. I used to own a super-store in Karachi, but I had to migrate here due to the law-and-order situation there. Hindus are an easy target there. It is more rampant in small towns. Hindus have to hide their identity in order to save themselves in Pakistan,” he said. Nanakmal Chandvani, who lived in Badin district of Pakistan till 2010 with his family, claimed that threats were issued to Hindus and even their children were abducted by the hardliners. “I used to run a kirana [grocery] shop there. Unknown persons used to threaten me by dropping letters at my shop. One day, men armed with Kalashnikov rifles stormed into my house and threatened to abduct my kids. This has happened with many Hindus,” Mr. Chandvani, who now works at a textile shop, said. Meeraben Maheshwari (70), who lived in the Sindh province before migrating to India years ago, claimed that her daughter was abducted and converted to Islam. “My daughter was abducted by Muslims, who converted her. Though I had approached a court there, she was never found. The locals forcibly took possession of our house and shop. I was left with no other option but migrate here,” she said.

Christian killed Target by Driving:

 Tariq Masih (42) and Nasreen Bibi (55)   were the brick Kiln laborers and killed   targetlly for not converting into Islam.   Both were brother & sister resident of   Chak no 122 JB Nawab Wala   Faisalabad. There was a man named   Hashmat Ali (belonging to religious   militant group), a friend of Brick kiln   factory owner, having business of   bricks  carrying through his dumper, he   always offered them if they became   converted into Islam their all debts will   be forgiven by factory owner, but   actually he was interested his wife   Shameem to convert her and to marry   with her.

 For multiple times trying by Hashmat Ali, on 15 December 2017 Tariq and Shameem replied that they cannot leave a true religion. On this reply, Hashmat became aggressive and said you mean our religion is false. Hashmat said further that after these views, you and family are not able now to live more.

On 18 December 2017 Tariq Masih, Nasreen Bibi, Basharat Masih (Brother of Tariq) and Shameem Akhtar were traveling from Lalian to Faisalabad on Faisalabad-Chiniot Road on 2 different motorbikes. A Dumper numbering FDD 9532 driven by Hashmat Ali hits on Tariq Masih and Nasreen Bibi who were on a motorbike numbering FDY 7925 and both died on the spot.  

When Hashmat Ali realized that accident was due to his targeted killing through driving, he tried to skip from the accident site but Basharat Masih who was on other motorbike ran and grabbed him. Further Basharat Masih called to police and police arrested to Hashmat Ali.  Hashmat Ali submitted application for bail and its hearing was conducted on 6 January 2018 with order to appear with evidences that it was not an intentional act but Hashmat failed to provide evidence so on 12 January 2018 bail of Hashmat was dismissed and on 18 January 2018 court said again that Tariq and Nasreen are died due to the targeted killing by hitting dumper of Hashmat Ali so their request of bail will not be passed.

Now Hashmat Ali and his religious and political companions are threatening to Bashart Masih & family and they wanted to kidnap Shameem Akhtar ( wife of Tariq Masih) & family to forced for marrying with Hashmat Ali and to take back the case . Basharat Masih and Shameem Akhtar visited HRFP office and asked for urgent help. Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) is providing them Legal Aid, Moral & Financial support also.

Tariq Masih family: Shahmeem Akhtar (41, Wife), Arona (13, Daughter), Muskan (23, Daughter), Afzal (8, Son), Mehek (6, Daughter), Sahil (5, Son) Afzaal (3, Son).

Nasreen Bibi family: Emmanuel Masih (57, Husband), Shahzad (40, Son), Samina (35, Daughter).

Pakistani Christians in limbo after Church Closure:

Community cry foul after parish blasted as affront to Muslim faith but new land deeds outside village still not forthcoming. Christians have been told to remove all religious symbols from the church in Nayya Sarabah village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, which belongs to the Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA) group. Six months after villagers in Muslim-majority Nayya Sarabah (Chak 336) in Pakistan's Punjab province colluded with police to shut down the only Christian church in the village,

negotiations remain deadlocked pending a new land deal. Christians claim they are being persecuted after the church, run by Pastor Samuel Masih, held its last service in December and has since been sealed, with orders in June to remove all religious symbols and traces of Christianity from the property.

The community of 40 Christian families in this village of 400 people in Toba Tek Singh district near Faisalabad has since been holding weekly prayers in their homes. But they claim they are being treated unfairly in not being able to practice their religion freely and are now operating under almost impossible conditions. "We paid to have this church built," said 70-year-old Christian Rafaqat Masih, a retired army officer and union councilor for minorities who is at the vanguard of efforts to resolve the issue. "You can still smell the fresh coat of paint. But the musical instruments that were once used by our church choir have now been removed," Masih told ucanews.com. His uncle Rafiq Masih owns the land on which the church was built.

"Our houses are blessed by God but worshippers are being forced to congregate on people's verandas as there is no proper ventilation inside, and the humidity is getting worse," added Rafaqat, who hosted the latest round of Friday prayers on June 8. He was referring to the church belonging to the Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA), an evangelical group working in the country. Rafaqat said the church, located just meters from his house, is at risk of being torn down as authorities sketch out plans to relocate it outside the village, where it is less likely to foment religious tension. Muslim resident Hajji Muhammad Siddique was quoted by other media as suggesting the property was an affront to local sensibilities. "Muslims are in the majority in this village so we can't allow a church here," said the 73-year-old, who runs a local dispensary. "Now we are working with the civil administration to give a piece of land to Christians outside the village," he added. "We will make [them] write an agreement that they will sell this current church building or at least dismantle the church structure and crosses."

Treaty offers state-owned land

In an affidavit signed on June 5, the local administration proposed that a new church be built on state-owned land outside the boundaries of the settlement. The pact, agreed after consultations with Christians and Muslims, also mandates that all religious symbols must be removed from the current church as a preliminary step. For Muslim shopkeeper Shamshad Ali, who has been lobbying to have the property shuttered since it was established in 2012, the news could not have come a moment too soon. He said Muslims who live nearby see its existence as a threat to their religion and an intrusion on their social lives on various levels.

 

"The Christians make a loud noise when they pray and they have caused widespread anger among the public," he said. "We are worried this will affect our children and their faith. For example, who would marry our daughters once their suitors learn that we live next to a church?" he asked. He said he sympathized with the Christians' plight and has been working with others to support them and stave off any threats to their safety.

"Moreover, the proposed new site covers the same area [177 square meters] as the old church building," he added.

According to Turbaiz Sadiq, the district's assistant commissioner, the church was never properly registered so requests to hold prayer meetings there could not be entertained."The plot was acquired under a scheme that prohibits any commercial or religious usage of the land," he said. "We couldn't even build a mosque there if we wanted to."He said the church had been built in violation of local laws but the issue did not come to light until Muslims began kicking up a fuss.

"We want to prevent any clashes resulting from the growing tension between the two parties," he said. "The police have also been asked to keep a lid on things by maintaining law and order in the area."Churches not registered with the Auqaf Department, which supervises important religious monuments and holy places, are deemed illegal by the government.

In January, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which shares a border with Punjab, closed six churches in the capital city of Abbottabad — where Osama bin Laden was found and killed in a U.S. raid — but they have since reopened.


Challenges lie ahead

According to Pastor Taskeen, acting as a spokesman for the FGA Church, the situation in Nayya Sarabah is unique."Muslims from a neighboring village helped to ensure the church got built when the Christians faced a funding shortage and were unable to finance the construction of its roof," he said.

"Now we have been forbidden from observing our religious rituals there and we've been ordered to remove the cross, too," he added. "But we don't plan on doing that until we've received the ownership papers for the new plot from the police. We're also wondering who is going to pay to establish the new church building."Police oversaw the signing of an agreement in December 2017 during which Christians pledged to hold all future religious ceremonies in their homes rather than at the church.

"We were warned that legal action would be taken if we violated that agreement, but now we are hearing that religious gatherings are even being prohibited inside our own homes," Pastor Taskeen said. "Last Christmas was a very sad time for us," he added. "When relatives came to visit, they weren't coming to wish us seasonal greetings. They came to give us their condolences." Easter prayers in April were also organized under police protection, he said.

Churches in Pakistan are considered at high risk of attack from militant groups and Islamic extremists with at least three hit last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

"Although there was a drop in the number of terrorist attacks in 2017, violence against 'soft targets' such as religious minorities and law enforcement agencies [is] on the increase," the HRCP's annual report stated last year.

Pakistan ranked No.4 among 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, according to a 2017 watch list by Christian support group Open Doors World.

Critics say the violent persecution of Christians is a common occurrence in Pakistan, where they are subject to bombings, murder, rape, abductions, forced conversions to Islam, fabricated cases of blasphemy and evictions from their homes and communities The HRCP has recommended that any judges called to rule on such cases be appointed based on pre-set criteria including a broad exposure to human rights issues. "Candidates who demonstrate a bias against gender or minorities should not be elevated to the bench," it said in the report.

British Parliament reproves of Pakistan’s treatment of religious minorities:


Pakistan’s treatment of its religious minorities has been sharply criticized by the British parliamentarians. British parliamentarians called on Pakistan to protect the religious minorities while safeguarding their fundamental rights.

The UK Parliamentarians while taking part in a debate in the House of Commons; voiced concerns about persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan. They also highlighted the plight of minorities in Algeria and other countries. They criticized hate preaching, and focused on its impact on public. At the same time, the UK lawmakers urged their government to warn government of Pakistan to tackle with the issue of mistreatment of minorities.

About 21 Parliamentarians took part in this debate, as they urged the UK government to make sure hate preachers are not allowed to enter the UK. On this occasion, the Minister for Asia and Pacific Mark Field, briefed the House about the UK government’s stance on these issues and the steps taken in this regard.

Briefing the House, Mark Field said: “I hope the world outside, in particular the countries mentions today that clearly discriminate against Ahmadi populations, do not think that calm does not underpin a certain amount of anger and our real sense of mission. The plight of the most peaceable of communities should be in our hearts. I hope we continue to work consistently and persistently on it.”

The UK also recognizes that Christians and Shi’a Muslims also suffer too. In November, 2017, the UK government exerted pressure on Pakistan to take steps in order to safeguard its religious minorities. Pakistan was urged to announce measures taken in order to tackle with the issue of blasphemy law being misused as a tool against the religious minorities.

“In 2017, religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims, continued to face attacks and discrimination from extremist groups and society at large. The government of Pakistan failed to protect these groups adequately, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations. Various media outlets promoted intolerance against religious minorities. Abusive enforcement of the country’s strict blasphemy laws resulted in the suppression of rights for non-Muslims, Shi’a Muslims, and Ahmadis”, latest Unites States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said.       

Pakistani police restrains Christians from conducting prayer services at church and houses:


40 Christian families in Nayya Sarabah Chak 336 village in Punjab province have been restrained from conducting prayer services at a local church. Local police has imposed a ban on these Christians not to hold prayer services. Consequently, these Christians haven’t held a prayer service since before Christmas last year.

Details emerge that these Christian villagers were forced to sign a pledge that they will not hold prayer services. Moreover, after half a year these Christians were warned to eliminate every visible sign of Christianity from the sole church in the village. “Muslims are in the majority in the village, we can’t allow a church here”, Pakistani Christian journalist Asif Aqeel quoted Muhammad Siddique, a local Muslim villager in his report.

“Now we are working with the civil administration to give a piece of land to Christians outside the village. When it is done, we will make the Christians write an agreement that they will sell this current church building or at least dismantle the church structure and crosses”, Siddique was quoted. “Most of the Christians of the village work as brick-kiln laborers. It is only Rafaqat Masih, who, being a retired army personnel, is trying to be a leader and has helped build a church in the village.”

The church run by Pastor Samuel Masih, hails from the Full Gospel Assemblies group. A local Christian union councilor Rafaqat Masih is striving to get the matter resolved. Christian villagers landed into trouble when the Rajana police called Christian and Muslim villagers of Chak 336 on December 14, last year. The Rajana Police forced Christian villagers to sign a pledge stating that the Christians would “hold religious ceremonies in their houses. There will be no programme in the church. If anyone will violate this agreement, then legal action will be taken. Christians will not gather in any house for a religious programme. If there will be any violation of this, legal action will be taken”.

After few days the Muslim villagers called for closure of the FGA Church; the local police responded by taking side of the Muslims. The concerned civil administration and the police told the Christian villagers that their church was listed among the churches that are to be provided security on Sundays during the prayer services. Police used this fabricated reason, in order to bar the Christian villagers from holding prayer services at the church.

‘Human rights violations are being normalized’

Advocate, human rights activist and former caretaker government advisor Sultana Kamal said in a Press conference few months backed that although Bangladesh has improved in many areas, it is falling behind in addressing human rights issues.

“Violations of human rights now occur so frequently that they are being normalized in our society” she said. She made the remarks during the inauguration of the Manobadhikar Sanskriti Foundation (MSF) at the National Press Club on Thursday morning.

During her speech, she also said that violence against women is very frequent, despite the progress made by Bangladesh to ensure women's rights. “Women are subjected to torture, harassment and other forms of violence everywhere, including their workplace, home and educational institutions. 87 out of every 100 women are being subjected to some kind of violence in their family,” she said. Referring to a report from a human rights organization, she said that at least 800 women were raped in 2017.

“The statistics from One Stop Crisis Center is horrifying, which says that more than 2,000 women were victims of physical and sexual violence. Risha, Tonu, Rakib, Sagor, Rupa are just a few names among the many we know, yet none of them have received justice yet.” Sultana Kamal added that there were over 1,500 cases of child abuse, murders and violence in 2017.

She said that people in Bangladesh are concerned about the recent rise in enforced disappearance cases. Regarding extrajudicial killings, the former advisor to the Caretaker Government said that “crossfires” were killing at least one or two people every day. She continued: “Although the government claims these things have stopped, but in 2017, there were 151 cases of extrajudicial killings. These human rights violations are not acceptable.”

Left with dreams, returned with Nightmares

 

Abused female workers back from Saudi Arabia empty-handed; govt offers no help

Sharmeen (not real name), 35,  of Munshiganj, returned from Saudi Arabia on May 24, five months after she had gone to the kingdom for work. “My husband is not accepting me. He asked why I did not send money and why I returned home,” she told this correspondent on June 6. Sharmeen proceeded to recount harrowing tales of both physical and sexual exploitation at her employers' homes in Riyadh.

 

Failing to endure it, she informed the local recruiting agent, who then transferred her to another employer in Jeddah. Even there the abuses did not end and Sharmeen fled.

Soon police found her with physical injuries and admitted her to a hospital in mid-April. After primary treatment, she was sent to a safe house. After over a month's stay there, she was sent home. She then received treatment for an infection in her sexual organ.

Left by her husband, Sharmeen now lives with her sister. Her tale is similar to the accounts of other female migrant workers who returned from the Gulf country. Instead of returning with money that could change their fate, they came back with shocking tales of abuse.

 

Almost of all of them left their homes and loved ones for a distant land, determined to earn money and make a better life for their families back home. In stark contrast to their aspirations, they experienced exploitation -- physical, sexual, psychological and financial.

Some were abandoned by their employers who threw them out of their homes. When police spotted the workers, they were picked up and deported.

 

Failing to endure the unending abuses, many others decided to return home themselves and took shelter at safe homes managed by the Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh or Jeddah of Saudi Arabia. When the migrant workers finally returned home empty-handed after months of ordeal, they received no support from the Bangladesh authorities.

 

In many cases, the families also refused to accept them, owing to the associated stigma. Their hopes and dreams shattered, they are left worse off than before they had left.

 

At least 4,000 such workers returned to Bangladesh last year with many instances of it this year as well, according to Brac estimates.  Dulshan, 37, of Chuadanga, returned home empty-handed mid-March this year after seven months of work in Riyadh. She faced non-payment, 18 to 20 hours of daily work and physical torture, all of which forced her to flee.

 

With savings from earlier job stints in Jordan and Dubai, she bought a three-decimal land and dreamt of building a house there with what she earned in Saudi Arabia.

“After returning home, I had to take treatment and my elder daughter had to bear the expenses. I am now staying at her residence and unable to pay my 10-year old daughter's educational expenses,” Dulshan said. Industry insiders say the number of abused women workers in the Middle East is growing as more women go abroad for domestic work.

However, the Bangladesh government does not have any data on how many women are returning home after facing abuse.

 

According to estimates by Brac Migration Programme, every month between 300 to 400 female migrants return from the Middle East, mostly Saudi Arabia, after being tortured.

Estimates by the expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry show some six lakh Bangladeshi women are put to work in the Middle East, mostly in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan and Oman.

 

Shariful Hasan, head of Brac Migration Programme, said it was good that women had labour mobility, but when hundreds of women return home empty-handed -- especially after physical, sexual and economic exploitation -- authorities need to work rigorously to protect them. Another worrying trend was of these workers not being accepted by their family. Health and financial conditions of the abused returnees have already worsened, which is also needed to be taken care of, he said.

“When the migrants send home remittance, authorities appreciate them. But, tragically, when they return home with trauma, nobody is there to support them. This is unfortunate,”

“Where would a woman go if she is rejected by her family?” he said, suggesting emergency health and psychological support to them upon their return and then eventually taking up programmes to rehabilitate them.

 

Professor Tasneem Siddiqui, chair of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) of Dhaka University, said over 50 percent of the women going abroad as domestic workers were either divorced or deserted by their husbands. Their financial vulnerability may have forced them to go abroad.

“As these women work within the household, it is difficult to ensure their security. It is more so as the Bangladesh embassy doesn't have a strong monitoring mechanism,” she said. As they return home in a more vulnerable condition than before, the government should take the initiative to rehabilitate them. The government could engage NGOs and the private sector to employ them or conduct income-generating activities for them.

British Parliament Reproves of Pakistan’s Treatment of Religious Minorities:

 

Pakistan’s treatment of its religious minorities has been sharply criticized by the British parliamentarians. British parliamentarians called on Pakistan to protect the religious minorities while safeguarding their fundamental rights.

The UK Parliamentarians while taking part in a debate in the House of Commons; voiced concerns about persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan. They also highlighted the plight of minorities in Algeria and other countries. They criticized hate preaching, and focused on its impact on public. At the same time, the UK lawmakers urged their government to warn government of Pakistan to tackle with the issue of mistreatment of minorities.

About 21 Parliamentarians took part in this debate, as they urged the UK government to make sure hate preachers are not allowed to enter the UK. On this occasion, the Minister for Asia and Pacific Mark Field, briefed the House about the UK government’s stance on these issues and the steps taken in this regard.

Briefing the House, Mark Field said: “I hope the world outside, in particular the countries mentions today that clearly discriminate against Ahmadi populations, do not think that calm does not underpin a certain amount of anger and our real sense of mission. The plight of the most peaceable of communities should be in our hearts. I hope we continue to work consistently and persistently on it.”

The UK also recognizes that Christians and Shi’a Muslims also suffer too. In November, 2017, the UK government exerted pressure on Pakistan to take steps in order to safeguard its religious minorities. Pakistan was urged to announce measures taken in order to tackle with the issue of blasphemy law being misused as a tool against the religious minorities.

“In 2017, religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims, continued to face attacks and discrimination from extremist groups and society at large. The government of Pakistan failed to protect these groups adequately, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations. Various media outlets promoted intolerance against religious minorities. Abusive enforcement of the country’s strict blasphemy laws resulted in the suppression of rights for non-Muslims, Shi’a Muslims, and Ahmadis”, latest Unites States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said.       

Lahore’s Historic Taxali Gate Cemetery in shambles due to willful Ignorance by Authorities:

 

Lahore’s historic Taxali Gate cemetery (a Christian burial ground) is in shambles owing to negligence of concerned authorities. The graveyard is in a very bad condition and the graves are desecrated and sinking into the grounds. The cemetery situated on a 170-kanal land lacks maintenance and repair, while there is no place in it for further burials.

In keeping with a report by Daily Times, the oldest gravestones seem to be date back to 1800. The old graves are being razed in order to construct new ones over them. The report further stated that waist high shrubs have grown all over the cemetery. The marble over the graves dating back to 1800 and 1900 have been stolen.

This cemetery is one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in Lahore. It is located adjacent to Taxali Gate of Lahore. This cemetery was developed after the British established their rule in Punjab, it served as primary cemetery for the British in Lahore. It is most commonly referred to as Gora Qabaristan, literally means the white graveyard. Notable personalities from the British era were buried in this cemetery. The records of this cemetery are not available, while two wall tablets at the gate house give map of the cemetery. The graves are desecrated and the plots cannot be defined exactly.

Daily Times reports that when the then Minister for Minorities of Punjab Tahir Khalil Sandhu said that this matter was taken dealt with under the Shehr-e-Khamoshan Bill which was passed by the Punjab Assembly. “This is a fundamental human right that they rest in peace after death, but the funds were given to the six MPAs from Lahore for improving the Taxali and Jail Road Cemetery along with the development of new ones. We are developing cemeteries in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Gujranwala and we will also be improving the conditions of the existing ones,” Daily Times quoted him.

General Secretary of National Council of Churches in Pakistan Victor Azariah, told DT that no improvement was made in the Taxali Gate cemetery. “In my opinion, it’s an ancient graveyard and was built by the British when they took over Punjab. During the British India period, soldiers camped in the fort near the cemetery and that was the reason that a cemetery was constructed nearby.

 

The soldiers, army personnel and high officials of the British Raj were buried there. People don’t know the facts about this graveyard. The grave of Dr. Forman who was the pioneer of regular education system in Punjab and started a school in Rang Mahal and later founded Forman Christian College is also in the Taxali Cemetery”, he said.

 

 

Pakistani Police restrains Christians from conducting prayer services at Church and houses

 

40 Christian families in Nayya Sarabah Chak 336 village in Punjab province have been restrained from conducting prayer services at a local church. Local police has imposed a ban on these Christians not to hold prayer services. Consequently, these Christians haven’t held a prayer service since before Christmas last year.

Details emerge that these Christian villagers were forced to sign a pledge that they will not hold prayer services. Moreover, after half a year these Christians were warned to eliminate every visible sign of Christianity from the sole church in the village. “Muslims are in the majority in the village, we can’t allow a church here”, Pakistani Christian journalist Asif Aqeel quoted Muhammad Siddique, a local Muslim villager in his report.

“Now we are working with the civil administration to give a piece of land to Christians outside the village. When it is done, we will make the Christians write an agreement that they will sell this current church building or at least dismantle the church structure and crosses”, Siddique was quoted. “Most of the Christians of the village work as brick-kiln laborers. It is only Rafaqat Masih, who, being a retired army personnel, is trying to be a leader and has helped build a church in the village.”

The church run by Pastor Samuel Masih, hails from the Full Gospel Assemblies group. A local Christian union councilor Rafaqat Masih is striving to get the matter resolved. Christian villagers landed into trouble when the Rajana police called Christian and Muslim villagers of Chak 336 on December 14, last year. The Rajana Police forced Christian villagers to sign a pledge stating that the Christians would “hold religious ceremonies in their houses. There will be no programme in the church. If anyone will violate this agreement, then legal action will be taken. Christians will not gather in any house for a religious programme. If there will be any violation of this, legal action will be taken”.

After few days the Muslim villagers called for closure of the FGA Church; the local police responded by taking side of the Muslims. The concerned civil administration and the police told the Christian villagers that their church was listed among the churches that are to be provided security on Sundays during the prayer services. Police used this fabricated reason, in order to bar the Christian villagers from holding prayer services at the church.

Policemen Booked over man’s Killing:

GUJRAT: Three policemen were booked in a murder case of a man, who was allegedly tortured to death by police in Civil Lines police precincts late on Tuesday, 31st may 2018. However, no arrests had been made till the filing of this report.

Waqas Masih, 25, a resident of Daulatnagar, had gone to his maternal uncle’s house to assist him with some construction work when police dragged him out of the house. He was allegedly tortured severely, which resulted into his death. Masih’s body was shifted to Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital where doctors conducted an autopsy and later handed over the body to his family. The post-mortem report was yet to be issued.

The case was registered against constables Shoaib, Shahbaz and Saqib under sections 302 and 34 of PPC on the report of Khalida Bibi, the mother of the deceased. A police spokesman said they had started investigation into the case as initial reports suggested the deceased was a drug dealer. However, Masih’s heirs denied the allegations and accused police of murdering an innocent man.

The Situation of Hindu Rohingyas Aggravating in Bangladesh

The Rohingyas had entered Bangladesh between August 25 and February 11 in 2017. According to official estimates, at least 523 people belonging to 165 Hindu families have entered Bangladesh since last August. The refugee Hindu Rohingya families mostly women and children whose husbands and fathers have been slaughtered by  covered Mask Goons in Myanmar. There are 122 people have been slaughtered by the Blacked Covered Mask People. The People didn’t do anything for the Ritual duty for their ill fated relatives. Global Human Rights Defence and Dhaka based Research and Empowerment Organization-REO are working for Hindu Rohingyas in Bangladesh and did ritual duty for ill fated Hindu Rohingya.

According to the survey reports, he told us that there are 523 Hindu Rohngya passing the miserable lives in the camp. Previously, ALL were shelter in a small chicken farm’s owned by the Jogodish and Sawpan Sharma. Now they shifted to the adjoin places where the government allocated a land.

The report prevails that the government providing for 25kg Rice, 2 Litre oils and 2 kg Potatoes per family per month. However, 2500 Masque and Madrasha is made by the government and local Islamic group Hafajot Islam in Bangladesh for the Muslim Rohingyas but there is no any worship for the Hindu Rohingya. Even no one can do anything for them. “Covered Mask Muslim Rohingyas who actually have bullied and massacred the Hindu Rohingya males and now pressure rising Hindu women to convert and marry them, are enjoying global attention, sympathy, support, and rehabilitation in every possible way; but the Hindu Rohingyas have become a neglected entity by the Global Human Rights bodies and the Hindu organizations too”. The situations of Hindu Rohingyas are worsening and now it's becoming unmanageable to handle the daily expenses to feed and sustain a livelihood for the Hindu families. The government provides 25 kg Rice, 2 Kg Dal, 2 litre iol and 2 kg Potatoes.  

Dismal Condition:

“They shot my husband and laws including everyone in front of eyes. The Mask covered people killed and telling marry us and convert to Islam, I agreed to save my life. They took me into the jungle for 2 days. After this covered man brings me to Bangladesh said, Anika Dhar.

 A   Anika Dhar a resident of Chikarjuri, Hindu area in Fakirbazaar, Myanmar- said “I lost my husband; the Black mask covered people slaughtered my husband in front of me. 24 days have gone but I didn’t do anything for the ritual funeral for my husband even I am pregnant for six months who will give me shelter as well my children”- She is crying.

Promila Shil told to us “I lost everyone in my family. The Muslim goons slaughtered my laws, brothers-in-laws including 6 members of my family. Somehow I managed myself with my son and fled to Bangladesh”.

The children and young girls are affected much. Orphaned Kishore Kumar, Tarpan Shil, Palash Shil are rescued two days back from different camps at Kutupalong. The young Hindu girls also rescued from Muslim camps with the help of local Hindu people.

However, 12 Hindu girls have been raped in Bangladesh by the Muslims even army men do not behave well of the Hindus Rohingya. Even few Islamic groups are working and trying to convert Hindu Rohingya to Islam. 

However, Islamic few People visited with relief to Hindu Rohingya people but while they are giving to relief to the Hindu Rohingya, they are inviting them to convert to Islam. 



Peshawar’s Administration turns a blind eye as Christian Colony turns into a Garbage disposal Site:

Residents of Peshawar’s Christian Colony wallow in municipality’s neglect. The garbage from the entire city is dumped at the neighborhood. The unsanitary and foul conditions are causing trouble to the occupants of the Christian Colony. In this regard, Christian activist Yasir Bhatti said that, “Christian community who cleans the entire city is forced to live at a place which is a garbage disposal site”.

Christians in Peshawar:

Christian Colony nestled on Ring Road, is a predominantly Christian neighborhood, where heaps of garbage can be seen everywhere. The residents complain of the negligence of the concerned authorities as the municipality dumps waste in the colony. The roads and other parts of the colony remain littered, the neighborhood has severe garbage disposal problem. The problem is not limited to just dumping of the waste; soon after the waste is disposed of, cows, dogs and birds begin gorging on the trash. As a result, the waste is scattered everywhere.

Christian activists joined the residents in raising voice against blatant negligence displayed by the Peshawar administration. They urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa to take notice of the pathetic situation of the residents of Christian Colony.

Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:

“Today I urge the Chief Justice of Pakistan and Army Chief to have pity on us… for God’s sake. I request you to visit us once. Spend some time with us… the role of Christians in the establishment of Pakistan is not a hidden from anyone.

Peshawar Municipal Corporation:

We cast our votes in favor of Pakistan at the time of independence; which resulted in formation of Pakistan. The Christian community of this colony that clears away trash from the entire city, on the other hand, waste from the entire city is dumped at their neighborhood.

As a result of this, our children and the elderly are suffering from various diseases. Therefore, I request the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Government of Pakistan, Army Chief and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to pay heed to the cries of the residents of Christian Colony”, Yasir Bhatti said.

Christian Persecution watchdog urges UNHRC to Protect Pakistani Christians:

The United Nations Human Rights Council has been urged to protect Pakistan’s Christian community. In this regard, a legal submission has been made to the UN body seeking action in order to guard Christians in Pakistan from religion based persecution.

This submission was made by the American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ). The Washington-based watchdog maintained in its submission that: “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan continues to violate the human rights of its religious minorities. Instances of mob violence; police torture; false accusations of blasphemy; rape, murder, and other forms of violence occur on a regular basis. Authorities in Pakistan have shown a continuous inability or unwillingness to protect its minorities from human rights abuses. These aren’t isolated incidents. Christians are being specifically targeted.”

The watchdog further maintained that “Pakistani Christians are being terrorized, tortured, murdered – even sentenced to death – simply because of their faith. The Pakistani government seems unable or unwilling to protect its Christian citizens. We are asking the world’s leaders to take urgent action.”

The ACLJ said that the churches are being targeted and damaged frequently, what is more Christian neighborhoods have also been attacked repeatedly. It claimed that the Pakistani government has turned a blind eye to the plight of the Christians so much so that, “Christians can’t even count on the local authorities to protect them.”

“We are aggressively fighting for persecuted Christians through our office on the ground in Pakistan. We also continue to advocate for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who we’ve told you has been sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws for offering a Muslim coworker a glass of water. Pakistan has allowed these easily misinterpreted laws to cause innocent people – particularly Christians like Asia Bibi, and other religious minorities – to suffer and even die,” the ACLJ submission stated.

The American Centre for Law and Justice briefed the UNHRC that the blasphemy laws are being widely misused. “As a result, the blasphemy laws are easy to misuse and charges often result because of personal vendettas between the parties. Since Pakistan enacted these laws in the 1980s, over one thousand cases have been registered and over forty people are on death row or serving life sentences. Over fifty people have been killed over blasphemy allegations and hundreds are serving or have served prison terms ranging from three to ten years,” ACLJ said.

The ACLJ urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to exert pressure on the Government of Pakistan to comply with the international agreements it endorsed in order to protect the religious minorities nestled in the country.

“We must act now to protect our persecuted and dying Christian brothers and sisters. We will continue aggressively to advocate at the U.N. and through our office on the ground in Pakistan, but we need you. Be the voice of Pakistan’s frightened and dying Christians,” the ACLJ urged.

Apex Court Directs to officially to Christians as 'Masihi' instead of 'Esai':

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed all the authorities to refer to the Christian community as ‘Masihi’ officially. For this purpose the authorities were directed to make all necessary arrangements in official documents, records etc. to use the word Masihi instead of Esai. On May 11, Friday, a two member bench of the apex court issued directions while hearing the petition case filed by a Pakistani Christian Samuel Pyara. This two member bench was chaired by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar himself. Justice Ijaz ul Hassan was the other member of this bench hearing the case number H.R.C.No.20171-B of 2018. Samuel Payara had moved the court regarding use of word ‘Masihi’ for Christians instead of ‘Esai’.

 “It has been complained despite the decision taken by the Council of Islamic Ideology in its 175th meeting held on 28-29th September, 2009 that there was no harm, as per Shariah Injunctions, to refer to the members of Christian community as “Masihi” instead of “Esai”, no steps have been taken by the government in this regard. Let the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology be implemented in letter and spirit and arrangement should be made in all official records, documents, correspondence etc. to refer to the Christian community as Masihi instead of Esai,” the court order reads. In 2016, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) also issued orders regarding use of Masihi for Christians instead of Esai, in the column for Religion. In this regard, Christian MPA Shakeel Ivan Khokhar struggled greatly to get this directive officially issued from NADRA. MPA Shakeel Ivan Khokhar, had written a petition to the Director of National Database and Registration Authority Headquarter in Islamabad, seeking official directions regarding the use of word Masihi for Christians in the NADRA forms, data and records.

A Hindu Minor Girl Pinki Mali's Story

Pinki Mali 14 a Minor girl, D/O Khapu Mali -42 at Durgahata, Gabtoli, Bogra raped brutally by one Mohammed Saheb Ali -55 years. On 7th July 2016 at around 7 pm Pinki went to collect their clothing near the house. The Perpetrator Mohammed Saheb Ali was waiting there, he told to come to his house that was adjoined. When Pinki enter into his house Mohammed Saheb locked the door and shown to her a knife and ordered with anger “Open your Salowar and Kamiz” (cloth). Pinki tries to shout- suddenly, Mohammed Saheb captured her mouth with her cloth and started to open her Salower and Kamiz and bring to her into the bed and raped her.

After everything, while Pinki was crying, Mohammed Saheb told with Sought Keep quiet and don’t tell to anyone. If you tell anything to anyone then I will kill you including your parents. Frequently, Perpetrator threatens to Pinki that she should keep quiet. On 28th November 2016, Pinkis’ Physical condition has declined and her mother brings her to a doctor and doctor confirmed her pregnancy and it has matured level. When Pinki’s parents charged perpetrator and informed the local people. The perpetrator Mohammed Saheb threatens to kill them.

On 14th December, Pinkis’ father informed to Research and Empowerment Organization–REO (GHRD local partner) asking for help. Bikash Sornokar, A local representative at Bogra complained to the officer in Charge at Gabtoli Thana, Bogra and did an FIR under a section of child and women Nirjaton act 2003 on that day. However, on 16th February 2017, REO arranged to admit her into the Hospital at the emergency basis and on 17th February 2017, Pinki gave a birth to a boy of the rapist.

Human rights remain at alarming in Bangladesh

Bangladesh sees more than 17,000 rape cases registered in four years. The number of rape, sexual assault and incidents of violence against women is increasing year after year.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has said on 18th February 2018, more than 17,000 rape cases have been registered in past four years in Bangladesh from January 2014 to December 2017, a total of 17,289 cases of women and child rapes were recorded throughout the country.

The total number of victims in those cases 17,389, of which 13,861 were women and 3,528 were children.

During the period 673 people were convicted and sentenced in 3,430 cases disposed of by the courts with 17 death penalties, 80 life imprisonments and 576 in different prison terms.

Past events

 

Pakistan, Stop Underaged Forced Conversions and Marriages!

Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) is pleased to announce that the event “Pakistan, Stop Underaged Forced Conversions and Marriages” was a success. The two documentaries,“Who am I” and “The Trapping Faith”, were not only informative but also sparked an educative discussion among the audience.

GHRD has honored Mr. Naveed Walter, President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, for his remarkable work for religious minorities in Pakistan. Walter is a human rights defender who has been working on the issues of human rights for over 20 years. During his work he faced tremendous obstacles, but he never gave up his work because of his believe in equal rights for everyone. GHRD is thankful for his dedication, commitment and hard work.

GHRD is also appreciative for the filmmakers Mr. Prakash Jha and Ms. Anuradha Mishra for making the documentary “Who am I?”.

GHRD would like to thank everyone who has been a part of this event as a guest and as a supporter.

Human Rights Award 2017

Human rights activist and President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, Naveed Walter is honored with Human Rights Award a mark of recognition by international human rights organization Global Human Rights Defence.

NEWS

BANGLADESH: Dysfunctional justice system and increasing extremist violence

Secular bloggers, academics, gay rights activists, foreigners and members of religious minorities including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists have been victims of targeted killings and many of them hacked to death. The wave of targeted killings began in 2013 and intensified since April 2016. Many of the attacks were claimed by Islamic militants. The initial response from the authorities lacked decisive action and was inefficient to prevent future attacks. In June 2016, almost within 5 days, the government arrested over 11,000 people, most young men, in connection to the spree of killings. According to the police sources only 145 of those arrested were suspected militants having a membership to militant organisations. Though this is not a sufficient evidence to show that they were connected to the brutal killings. The authorities should investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice, but the mass arbitrary arrests without proper evidence of a crime will lead to lack of assurance that the monstrous killings will be stopped and those responsible will be found while due process is upheld.

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BANGLADESH: We Demand Justice for the brutal killings of civil society members including LGBT rights activists

The month of April witnessed vicious killings of civil society members in Bangladesh. The killings are a harrowing indication of the authorities’ failure in protecting individuals who are exercising their right to freedom of expression and engaging in peaceful activism. Xulhaz Mannan, the founder of the first LGBT magazine in Bangladesh, and his friend, Mahbub Tonoy were the latest to be murdered in the killing spree. The slaughter of LGBT rights activists underscored the mounting violence faced by those promoting human right and equality.

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We for Us Project – Making a Difference

In collaboration with Global Human Rights Defence, the Organisation for Socio-Economic Development Nepal (OSED) organised the ‘We for Us’ project to improve the living conditions of marginalised communities in Khokana, Nepal. In the context of this project, OSED produced a number of events and seminars dedicated to raise awareness on human rights and women’s rights. Concurrently, OSED has made significant efforts to build collaborations with other local and international organisations to widen the reach of the impact of OSED’s activities and improve their human rights platform.

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UPDATES

GHRD celebrated its Special Consultative Status with the United Nations together with its supporters and partners by a joyful reception event on 12th November. The attendees enjoyed the speech by Mr. Sradhanand Sital, Chairman of GHRD along with Naz Tuncay, Human Rights Officer and Tatsiana Yankelevich, Lobby and Advocacy Officer.

The event underscored the achievements of GHRD and local partners in the pursuit of a sound respect for human rights. Since 2003, GHRD together with its local partners have brought attention to the forgotten issues and atrocities faced by minorities in South Asia. Acquiring the Special Consultative Status is an important milestone for our international lobby and advocacy efforts to put minorities on the agenda of international human rights mechanisms.

GHRD thanks all who joined our reception event to celebrate this memorable achievement with us. We would like to specially thank Ron van den Berg, director at Bruynzeel Keukens for their generous donation to support our core human rights work. Without our supporters and dedicated team, it would not be possible for us to reach this important milestone.

Reports

Annual Report 2014

31-08-2015

2014 has been a year of increased cooperation for GHRD, as well as its local and international partners. Marked with 27 international events celebrations, increased coalitions memberships, independent hands-on research, and various campaigns and trainings in Europe.

Donate!

GHRD needs continued support to maintain our human rights monitoring activities and aid projects in South Asia. If you believe in our cause and would like to support our activities, please donate via our website or if you are interested in supporting a specific project, please contact us at: info@remove-this.ghrd.org

Your donation counts, no matter how big or small!


GHRD's Human Rights Blog

GHRD continues to involve brightest minds from Asia and Europe as contributors to our human rights blog. If you are interested in raising a human rights issue and becoming a contributor, send us an email at education@remove-this.ghrd.org

Check out our blog here  


Health Camp in Bangladesh

Networking the Youth

International Women Day Observed in Bangladesh

Fact findings in Bangladesh

Donating Nets and Utensils for Needy Fishermen at Nasirnagar, Bangladesh

Sewing Machine Project at Manikgonj