Pak Govt. fails to shield targeted minorities from sectarian violence’

Karachi:   The Catholic Church human rights body in Pakistan has protested the killing of minority Shia Ismaili Muslims. The Catholic Church’s human rights body in Pakistan is called The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP). It has called for better protection of minority groups amid renewed threats against them by Islamist militants.

The demand is in response to a recent incident, where Sunni terror groups including Islamic State owned up to killing 45 Shia Ismaili men, women and kids in a gun attack on a bus in Karachi.

Ismailis are Shia Muslims who also revere Imam Ismail who died in 765 AD. They number about 15 million worldwide with about 500,000 living in Pakistan.

The militants responsible for last week’s bloodshed threatened to increase their attacks on minorities, including Christians.

In a joint statement condemning the attack, Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts and NCJP National Director Fr Saleh Diego said the May 13 “killing of innocent people on the basis of their faith is unacceptable”.

“We demand from both the federal government and provincial governments to take serious and effective measures to prevent such atrocities and also plead to increase security for all minority groups.”

A recent report released by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has listed Pakistan as one of the worst places in the world for religious freedom of countries not currently designated by the US as “countries of particular concern”.

“Pakistan continued to experience chronic sectarian violence targeting Shia Muslims, Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Hindus,” the report said.

“Despite positive rulings by the Supreme Court, the government has failed to provide adequate protection to targeted groups or to prosecute perpetrators and those calling for violence,” it said.

Meanwhile, The NCJP held a special service at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi to express solidarity with the Ismaili community and pray for the victims. Leaders of various religious groups, politicians and human rights campaigners attended the service.

Addressing the gathering, Archbishop Coutts said attempts were being made to create a rift among religious groups in Pakistan.

“Our aim should be to foil such attempts and bridge the distance between religious groups,” he said.

Fr Saleh Diego said murder of one human is equal to murdering the whole community. “We should demonstrate unity to raise our voice against atrocities being committed by militants in Pakistan,” he said.

“We want to give a message to terrorists that we all are Pakistanis and no force, no religious leader and no government can divide us.”

Mehnaz ur Rehman, a women’s rights activist and the director of the Aurat Foundation, said the attack had shocked the nation.

“Irrespective to our faith and religion, we should jointly fight for a terror-free Pakistan,” she said.

“How can we allow such groups to spread hatred and call other groups as apostates and infidel?” she said citing intelligence agency reports that said elements within the International Islamic University in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad were stoking extremism.

Share Button
Posted by on May 21, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,Pakistan,SOUTH-ASIA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login