The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report reveals that the cries and shouts of Pakistani establishment at different world forums are shallow and hollow regarding the protection of human rights of minorities in Pakistan. The report serves as an eye-opener for the world
On April 30, 2020, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) released an annual report by the independent commission of the Pakistan Human Rights comprises of almost 264 pages. Pakistan has failed to protect its most vulnerable: reports of child labourers being sexually abused in mines surfaced in Balochistan, while news of young children being raped, murdered and dumped has become frighteningly common. Women continued to bear the brunt of society’s fixation with ‘honour’, with Punjab accounting for the highest proportion of ‘honour’ crimes. Equally, Pakistan does not protect those to whom it has a duty of care: prisoners in the country’s sorely overpopulated jails remain relegated to a subhuman level.
The HRCP report said that even journalists reported that it had become even more difficult to criticise state policy. Former HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf says that this, coupled with the erosion of social media spaces and a deliberate financial squeeze on the media, ‘led to Pakistan’s position slipping on the World Press Freedom Index.’ However, people continued to be reported ‘missing’ during the year. The government must deliver on its commitment to criminalise enforced disappearances. Equally, the continued operation of internment centres cannot be justified on any grounds. HRCP director Farah Zia said, “In the case of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa)—both historically under-reported provinces—the acknowledgement of real issues and their political resolution is vital if the state is serious about strengthening the federation.”
It includes that there is neither freedom of speech and expression for minorities nor a fundamental right that delivers justice to them. In spite of this, the report has pointed out that religious minorities remained unable to enjoy the freedom of religion or belief guaranteed to them under the constitution. For many communities, this has meant the desecration of their sites of worship, the forced conversion of young women, and constant discrimination in access to employment. There has been several incidents of forced conversions and number of cases of violence, brutality and other discriminations with the Hindu, Sikh and Christian minorities living in Pakistan. This annual report of the Pakistan Humans Rights Commission has exposed not only Pakistan and the present government but also an eye-opener for world bodies that Pakistan has failed to protect the rights of the minority communities who are living in Pakistan since 1947. Several cases of underage forced marriages involving Sikh and Hindu girls have been reported in recent times, between 12 to 18 yrs of age forcibly get converted and married with older men, three to four times of their age. The atrocity on religious minorities is a continuing process from the last many decades that’s why the population percentage of these Hindu, Sikh, Christian and other minorities who are living in Pakistan is decreasing day by day. If we say 1947 times there was 23 per cent of Pakistan’s population was comprised of non-Muslims (religious minorities) but today, the proportion of non-Muslims has shockingly declined to just 2-3percent. In the present situation of the pandemic disease of COVID 19 (Corona virus) the minorities were further discriminated to the extent where they were not even given ration and relief this clearly shows the callous and discriminatory attitude of the authorities of Pakistan towards minorities. They have failed to provide food and other essential commodities to these Hindu-Sikh minorities, which is a very unfortunate and inhuman act and also gross violations of the Human Rights Act. Shockingly, many social non-governmental organisations have distributed food and other items on communal basis and had totally ignored the minorities in Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report reveals that the cries and shouts of Pakistani establishment at different world forums are shallow and hollow regarding the protection of human rights of minorities in Pakistan. The report serves as an eye-opener for the world.
(The author is an Advocate from J&K)