Wednesday July 24, 2024

Resolution calling for action over violence against minorities passed in NA

NA passes resolution with overwhelming majority after lynching of man in Swat over blasphemy allegations

By Web Desk
June 23, 2024
(Left to right): MNA Bilal Kayani and federal ministers Azam Nazeer Tarar and Khawaja Asif talk during National Assembly session on June 23, 2024. — X/@NAofPakistan
(Left to right): MNA Bilal Kayani and federal ministers Azam Nazeer Tarar and Khawaja Asif talk during National Assembly session on June 23, 2024. — X/@NAofPakistan

The National Assembly has passed a resolution on the protection of minorities in the country amid surge in incidents of violence and lynchings over blasphemy allegations .

As the lower house discussed Budget 2024-45, the Sunday's session was marred by ruckus with government and opposition divided over a new military operation, Azm-e-Istehkam, announced yesterday to root out militancy from the country.

Besides the altercation between the opposition and treasury benches, the NA saw the passage of a resolution aimed at protecting the minorities with an overwhelming majority.

The resolution presented by Law Minister Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar stated that the federal and provincial governments should ensure the complete safety of members of minor communities in the country.

It also called for action against the individuals involved in violence against minorities.

The resolution comes days after another tragic incident of a man's lynching over allegations of desecration of the Holy Quran in Swat.

A violent mob had beaten the suspect of blasphemy, who was a local tourist, to death on Thursday night and later set his body as well as the police station ablaze, where he was kept after allegations.

While speaking during the session, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif expressed deep concern over the rising incidents of violence against minorities and said that the country is facing embarrassment at the international level due to such cases.

"Pakistan is not the country of a single person but every Pakistani who lives here is an equal citizen. All Hindus, Christians and Sikhs are equal citizens," he added.

The minister called for sending a clear message from the NA that the country’s parliament is committed to protecting the rights of minority communities in the country.

Giving a policy statement in the House, he said the National Assembly needed to adopt a unanimous stance against the misuse of religion.

The minister said that the message should be clear that the people are united to safeguard the rights of minorities, including Christians, Sikhs and Parsis.

"Our Constitution does not allow violence and the killing of innocents in the name of religion. People are exploiting religious sentiments for personal disputes," Asif said.

Referring to the resolution, the minister further stated that such a move was essential to improve the country’s international reputation.

Pakistan has witnessed a spike in mob lynching and incidents of violence against minorities in the name of religion during recent years.

Last month, a Christian man in his seventies was attacked by a mob on charges of desecrating the Holy Quran and later died of his injuries in Sargodha, Punjab.

Similaryly, over 90 Christian homes and 21 churches were vandalised when hundreds of people rioted through a Christian neighbourhood in Faisalabad's Jaranwala tehsil last year.

In 2021, a Sri Lankan factory manager was also lynched in one of the highest-profile incidents in the country. Six people were sentenced to death for their part in the lynching after the incident sparked a global outcry.

— Additional input from APP