Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif admits minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, smaller Muslim sects — face persistent issues

Pakistan's Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, acknowledged the targeted violence faced by minorities in the name of religion. He expressed concern over the killings of minorities, highlighting the lack of safety for all religious minorities in Pakistan despite constitutional protections.

Written By Alka Jain
First Published25 Jun 2024, 08:58 AM IST
Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday acknowledged that minorities are facing “targeted violence in the name of religion”. During a session of Pakistan's national assembly, Asif expressed concern over the occurrence of targeted violence in the name of religion. 

“Every day, minorities are being killed. They are not safe under the guise of Islam. I want to address the issue of minority safety, but the opposition is blocking my efforts. Pakistan is facing global embarrassment,” the Defence Minister said, as quoted by Dawn.

Also Read | Muslim mob in Pakistan lynches tourist over alleged blasphemy

He claimed that religious minorities are not safe in Pakistan despite constitutional protections while calling for a resolution to safeguard marginalised communities. Asif also highlighted that many victims, with no connection to blasphemy allegations, were targeted due to personal vendettas.

“Even smaller Muslim sects are not safe in Pakistan, which is a disgraceful situation. We intend to propose a resolution to protect minorities. While our constitution guarantees minority rights, there are incidents of…those who have been killed so far did not have any evidence linking them to blasphemy; rather, these killings seem to stem from personal vendettas,” the Pakistani minister said.

Also Read | Mob burns Pakistani churches, vandalises cemetery over alleged blasphemy

Hindus, Sikhs, and other minorities in Pakistan persistently encounter issues like forced conversions, abductions, murders, and assaults on their religious sites, according to HRCP and Human Rights Watch reports.

Additionally, the Ahmadiyya community suffers intense persecution, facing legal restrictions on their religious activities, hate speech, and violent assaults. They are consistently targeted because of their faith, with such incidents reported throughout the country, Dawn reported.

Also Read | Pak Minister says ‘angry’ Imran Khan should remain jailed till 2029 to ensure…

Similarly, Christians also encounter discrimination in jobs, education, and blasphemy allegations, often resulting in mob violence and attacks on churches. The community remains susceptible to both societal and legal persecution. Pakistan's legal system discriminates against religious minorities, exacerbating their marginalisation and vulnerability.

The blasphemy laws are often misused to target minorities, leading to arbitrary arrests, violence, and societal ostracisation.

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First Published:25 Jun 2024, 08:58 AM IST
HomeNewsworldPakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif admits minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, smaller Muslim sects — face persistent issues

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