Pakistan minorities seek constitutional reforms

Laws which are being misused to instigate violence should be reviewed and a judicial commission constituted

Pakistan
August 12, 2016
Pakistani Christians have held public gatherings calling for constitutional reforms to ensure equal rights for all citizens.

"Our hearts are crying. There is nothing to celebrate. Unless the constitution is amended, there is no other way to end religious discrimination," said Samson Salamat chairman of the interreligious Rawadari Tehreek (Movement for Tolerance).

"An independent minority commission should be constituted at federal and provincial levels. The laws which are being misused to instigate violence should be reviewed and a judicial commission should be constituted to re-investigate the incidents where settlements of minority communities were mob attacked," Salamat said at a seminar in Lahore Aug. 11 to mark the National Minorities Day.

Similar programs were held around the country in which speakers, belonging to different faiths, expressed their concerns at the increasing intolerance and abuse of blasphemy laws.

"Pakistani minorities feel alone and insecure; it is the need of time to protect their lives, property and dignity," said Bishop Joseph Arshad of Faisalabad in another program in Lahore.

"Minorities cannot become president or a prime minister. We don't have electoral rights," said J. Salik, Convener of World Minorities Alliance, in Islamabad.

Pakistan is ranked sixth on the list of countries where Christians are most persecuted, according to World Watch List 2016.

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