Religious intolerance in Pakistan
Pakistan came into being on the name of religion Islam .
So Islamization is the integral part of government policy. The religious intolerance in Pakistan is on its peak.
The constitution and other laws and policies restricted religious freedom and in practice the government enforced these restrictions.
The constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and it requires that laws be consistent with Islam.
Military dictatorship is born from the power of the gun and so it undermines the concept of the rule of law and gives birth to a culture of might, a culture of weapons, violence and intolerance. The example is , the permanent turmoil , war and violence in Pakistan since 1958 when for the first time but not the last , Martial law was imposed .
The government of Pakistan limited freedom of other religions in the interest of the glory of Islam.”
The government rarely investigated or prosecuted the perpetrators of increased extremist attacks on minorities and the majority promoting tolerance which deepened the climate of impunity.
Despite the government’s steps to protect religious minorities, societal intolerance and violence against minorities and Shia Muslims promoting tolerance increased and abuses under the blasphemy laws continued.
In Pakistan blasphemy directed against either the tenets of the Qur’an or the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is punishable, by either life imprisonment or death. The government, did not take adequate measures to prevent these incidents , or undertake reform measures , to prevent the abuse of the blasphemy laws.Blasphemy laws became increasingly heated.
Discriminatory legislation such as the blasphemy laws and the anti-Ahmadi provisions of law, and the government’s failure or delay in addressing religious hostility by societal actors, fostered religious intolerance, acts of violence and intimidation against religious minorities and Shia Muslims alike.
The country’s blasphemy laws, continued to be used as a legal weapon, against religious minorities and other Muslims like shias.
The Ahmadiyya community, continued to face governmental and societal discrimination and legal bars to the practice of its religious beliefs.
Members of other Religious sects like Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus also, are facing governmental and societal discrimination.
There were instances in Pakistan in which law enforcement personnel reportedly abused religious minorities in custody.
Reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice continued and there were increased reports of human rights, and religious freedom activists that members of minorities going into hiding due to a climate of intolerance and fear.
Relations between religious communities remained tense.
Societal discrimination against religious minorities was widespread, and societal violence against such groups occurred.
Non-governmental actors, including violent extremist groups and individuals targeted religious congregations.
Acts of violence and intimidation against religious minorities by extremists increased and exacerbated existing sectarian tensions.
Extremists in some parts of the country demanded that all citizens follow a strict version of Islam and threatened brutal consequences if they did not abide by it.
Extremists in Pakistan , also targeted violence against Muslims advocating for tolerance and pluralism including followers of Sufism and other moderate forms of Islam.
Several attacks were directed at Sufi and Shia gatherings and religious sites, resulting in numerous deaths and extensive damage.
Issues involving the blasphemy law also generated extremist responses.
In general , society is deeply polarized regarding proposals to amend the blasphemy laws and some religious leaders used incendiary rhetoric to convince much of the population that any attempt to amend the laws was an attack on the sanctity of Islam.
More moderate voices argued that the law was being misused, but those arguments were drowned out by the more emotional and extremist elements and the fear of violent retaliation from those elements.
The government imposes limits on freedom of religion particularly on the religions of the minorities .
A 1974 constitutional amendment declared , that Ahmadis are non-Muslims.
Anti-Ahmadi laws,” prohibited Ahmadis ,from calling themselves Muslims.
Some individuals brought charges under these laws to settle personal scores or to intimidate vulnerable Muslims sectarian opponents, and religious minorities.
In cases in which a minority group claimed its religious feelings were insulted, the blasphemy laws were rarely enforced and cases were rarely brought to the legal system.
Blasphemy Laws continued to be used against Christians, Ahmadis, and members of other religious groups including Muslims like shia.
Here this serving judge is kissing Mumtaz Qadri , the murder of the Governor Salman Taseer.
Lower courts often did not require adequate evidence in blasphemy cases which led to some accused and convicted persons spending years in jail, before higher courts eventually overturned their convictions or ordered them freed.
District governments often refused to grant the minorities permission to hold events publicly; therefore, they held their meetings in members’ homes.
The government can also,shut down these gatherings if neighbors reported hearing the recitation of Qur’anic verses.
Government policies did not afford equal protection, to members of majority and minority religious groups.
The marriages of non-Muslim men remained legal upon conversion to Islam.
If a non-Muslim female converted to Islam, and her marriage was performed according to her previous religious beliefs, the marriage was considered dissolved.
Children born to Hindu or Christian women who converted to Islam after marriage were considered illegitimate unless their husbands also converted.
The only way the marriage can be legitimated and the children made eligible for inheritance was for the husband to convert to Islam.
The children of a Muslim man and a Muslim woman who both converted to another religious group were considered illegitimate and the government could take custody of the children.
The government of Pakistan generally enforced existing legal and policy restrictions on religious freedom.
Public pressure routinely prevented courts from protecting minority rights and forced judges to take strong action against any perceived offense to Sunni orthodoxy.
Complaints by religious minorities of discrimination against them were rarely brought before the judiciary.
Ahmadis were restricted from going on the Hajj because they were unable to declare themselves as Muslims.
Discrimination against Hindus, Sikhs, and Ahmadis in admission to higher education institutions persisted.
Most minorities groups generally complained of discrimination, in hiring.
The public school curriculum included derogatory remarks in textbooks against minority religious groups particularly Ahmadis, Hindus, and Jews, and the teaching , of religious intolerance is widespread.
Police reportedly tortured and mistreated those in custody, on religious charges and were accused of at least one extrajudicial killing in a blasphemy case.
For example a young Christian man, Robert Fanish, who had been accused of blasphemy died while in police custody.
Judges and magistrates seeking to avoid confrontation with or violence from extremists,often continued trials indefinitely.
Aasia Bibi, was sentenced to death for blasphemy, the first such sentence of a woman in Pakistan, by a district court in Nankana Sahib, Punjab.
An Ahmadi family, removed the body of a relative recently buried in a Muslim cemetery after local police officials indicated that objections to the burial had been registered and in the interest of peace and harmony, the family was asked to remove the body.
Religious intolerance in Pakistan is deep-rooted.
Pakistan’s minorities bear some of the brunt of this mob violence in a trend that is getting worse.
However, this is the fact that the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan has created a situation where opportunistic individuals or clerics , can easily incite mobs against religious minorities.
Due to the perception among many that Ahmadis or Shias are blasphemers and many individual Pakistanis believe that they deserve death.
The Pakistani Penal Code declares that “whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by an imputation, or insulation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.”
On the name of Religion the common people are kept silent in a society like Pakistan where the religion and the interests of the exploiting classes; Army, military & civil bureaucracy and Jihadist are intertwined. To say any thing in Pakistan, against the interests of these mentioned classes , is considered against Islam.
In a society like Pakistan if you are in the minority, you are lamb , if equal then a fox and if in the majority then you are a tiger. In Pakistan , Pujabi majority, has made the minorities like the lamb, and the Punjabi like the tiger.In short the intolerance has made Pakistan hell for its people.
But the world community is silent they don’t hear how the Pukhtuns, Baloch , Sindhis and minorities are mourning on the dead bodies of their love ones.
In Pakistan , Punjab with the help of power full Punjab Army, military and civil establishment, has made the lives of the other nationalities in Pakistan just like a hell. They want to get rid of Pakistan and make it a part of history.About 210 millions people are living under the siege of Punjab dominated Army tyranny. But where are the human rights commissions, why they are turning blind eye to all these calamities.
We the Pukhtuns , Baloch , Sindhies and minorities are not human beings in Pakistan. We don’t have the right to live and enjoy peaceful life?
The world community should help them to get freedom from the occupying state of Pakistan.
Pakistan has also been involved to destroy the Afghan society to export religious intolerance there for its personal strategic objectives.
Death for the religious intolerance and death for those countries like , Pakistan and Iran which have been promoting religious intolerance both internally and externally.