Human rights and religious freedom conditions continued to deteriorate at an unprecedented rate in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, according to a new report by the Hindu American Foundation(HAF). Hindus in Pakistan: A Survey of Human Rights, 2020 details Pakistan’s widespread violation of human rights and its tolerance of human rights violations by non-state actors.
“The treatment of minority women in particular, is emblematic of Pakistan’s blatant disregard for international human rights norms and basic human dignity,” said Samir Kalra, Esq., HAF Managing Director and author of the report. “Every year, the government sits idly by and watches as at least 1000 Hindu and Christian girls are stolen from their families, forcibly converted to Islam, and married against their will.”
The abductions and forced conversions of minority girls, along with the blasphemy laws, and violent attacks on religious minorities and their places of worship, has led the U.S. Department of State to label Pakistan as a Country of Particular Concern for its “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.”
In order to escape these rampant religious freedom violations, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Ahmaddiya Muslims have increasingly fled the country in the last several years. The annual influx of religious refugees from Pakistan, along with those from Afghanistan and Bangladesh, into India led to the passage of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 to provide them with fast track citizenship and humanitarian relief.
“The rising tide of religious extremism and government sponsored discrimination has left religious minorities in dire straits,” added Kalra. “It’s imperative for the United States to send a strong message by imposing sanctions on Pakistan and Pakistani officials under the International Religious Freedom Act.”
In addition to religious freedom violations, the Pakistani military’s support for terrorism, and suppression of the civil and political rights of ethnic minorities continued unabated. Human rights activists and organizations have long reported on the forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detentions, and torture of political and ethnic rights activists across Pakistan.
(The full report can be read here: https://www.hinduamerican.org/projects/human-rights-report/pakistan)