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October 13, 2017

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HRCP assails statement against minority group in NA

HRCP assails statement against minority group in NA

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed outrage at the statement made by a PML-N MNA in the National Assembly, targeting and calling for discriminatory actions to be taken against a religious minority group.

A statement issued by the Commission on Thursday said, “HRCP condemns in the strongest possible terms the targeting of any Pakistani religious minority group and any call for discriminatory behaviour against any such group at a public forum. The parliamentarian’s tirade in the National Assembly on 10th October 2017 targeted Ahmadis. The Ahmadiyya community is already the most persecuted religious minority group in Pakistan. Furthermore, the use of the National Assembly floor to advocate discrimination, hatred and exclusion for citizens in this manner is deplorable. 

The parliamentarian from the ruling party accused the faith group of acting against Pakistan’s interests and labelling them a threat to the country, its Constitution and ideology. He made demands, among others, that there should be a prohibition on the recruitment of Ahmadis into the armed forces and national institutions such as the Atomic Energy Commission of Pakistan. He also said that they would not stand for the Physics department at the Quaid-e-Azam University to be named after Nobel Laureate Dr Abdus Salam, because he was an Ahmadi.

This is an extremely disappointing trend in a country where one does not have to look far for methods of intimidation and discriminatory behaviour against religious minority groups. It is also a bad omen for Pakistan’s beleaguered democracy if members of political parties are able to express such intolerant and politically incorrect views at a public forum with such impunity. It is regrettable that no political party or attending parliamentarian condemned this parliamentarian as he made his speech.

Pakistan’s national and international human rights obligations do not support such vehement and uncalled for disregard of the human rights of any of its citizens, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed.

The government must ensure that such hate speech does not go uninvestigated and uncondemned at the highest level. This is vital in order to send a clear message that it will not allow such things to go unpunished.” 

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