The United States on Tuesday said it remains”deeply concerned” over reports of human rights abuses and discrimination faced by people in the nation due to their faith. Describing declining area for civil society and press freedom in Pakistan as”bothering”, it urged that the Pakistani authorities to sustain the rule of law and the freedoms enshrined in the nation’s Constitution.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells at a prepared statement to Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation of this House Foreign Affairs Committee expected that the reforms Pakistan is project under its present IMF program will lay the basis for greater economic management and growth, resulting in an improvement in the democratic process and human rights scenario.
“In the last few decades, we’ve observed some troubling tendencies within Pakistan, such as decreasing area for civil society and press freedom. Stress on the press and civil society — such as harassment, threats, and fiscal and regulatory actions, has improved over the last year,” she explained in a prepared statement filed into the Congressional subcommittee on the eve of this hearing”Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Area”.
Oftentimes, she said, these abuses are committed by non-state celebrities.
In Britain’s yearly report on human rights and democracy, published in June, persecution of both Hindu and Sikh minorities in Pakistan figured among the serious concerns. Maintaining Pakistan one of 30’human rights priority nations’, the report states the principal concerns were limitations on freedom of expression and also on civil society, intolerance towards and discrimination against members of religious and other minorities, failure to maintain girls and children’s rights, the incidence of bonded labor, and the continuing imposition and application of the death penalty.
The US,” Wells stated, continues to advocate the Pakistani authorities to uphold the principle of law.
Including the right of classes that criticize the direction and security institution, such as the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, to peacefully assemble, she added.
Pakistan has taken measures to offset lots of the nation’s most virulent terrorist organizations posing an immediate threat to the nation, for example Lashkar-e-Jhangvi along with also the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, ” she explained. Wells said Pakistan’s Supreme Court also took an important step in January 2019 by imitating its October 2018 acquittal of Asia Bibi on blasphemy charges, which enabled her secure departure from the nation.
The court’s verdict underscores the requirement of inter-faith tolerance rather than”curtailing the rights” of members of minority groups, each of which are crucial to enhancing religious freedom in Pakistan, ” she said.
Yet, she said, Pakistan’s policies and laws are still discriminate against members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim neighborhood.
Its ongoing enforcement of blasphemy legislation, which has caused dozens of Pakistanis on death row or serving life sentences in prison, in addition to episodes of mob violence after blasphemy allegations, stay profoundly troubling, she added.
“In Pakistan, religious minorities continue to suffer from persecution, possibly in the control of non-state celebrities or through discriminatory legislation and regulations,” stated US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback.