Rising cases of human rights violations in Pakistan by Naveed Walter, HRFP.
By: Naveed Walter President, Human Rights Focus Pakistan
On August 11, 1947 the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah said in his historical address to the 1st Constituent Assembly said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State … We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State … I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
The minorities contributed well from founding country to now through different fields of life but still their general economic conditions are unsatisfactory. The situation of human rights in Pakistan for the minorities is also pathetic. The incidents of fictitious blasphemy charges, abductions, forced conversions, forced marriages of minority girls, discriminations, current electoral system, biased curriculum, violence and assassinations took place with the minorities.
Before introducing the blasphemy laws there were only 14 registered cases but from 1986 to now around 2,000 cases has been registered, which carry life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The minority girls become abducted around 1000 a year and are converting and marrying forcefully.
The Current Electoral System for minorities is with reserved seats which fully decided by the political parties through the Muslim elected members rather than the direct votes of minorities.
The curriculum being studying by school/colleges students the overall concept portrayed a negative image of minorities and their religions.
The violence and assassination of minorities many individuals/HRDs have threatened them for keeping silent.
Experience as Human Rights Defender; the Challenges:
Working as a Human Right Defender above 25 years in a field, belonging to minority in Pakistan is something which always put higher risk to me personally and threats on our activists.
My experience as a Human Rights Defender in terms of serving the target groups and raising voice for their deprived rights, I faced many challenges and experienced the activism a riskiest job. There are number of threats which are involved in working of our organizational and network goals but the strategies and commitments makes hope ever even the biggest challenge is the continuity of same vision & mission when that be contrary to the ideology offenders.