South Asia Partnership-Pakistan is implementing a project to promote and protect rights of religious minorities in Pakistan. Human Rights Fund, HRF-III is being implemented with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN), and The Asia Foundation in Pakistan. It is primarily an advocacy project focusing four kinds of actors which includes;
- Parliamentarians and Political/Religious Parties
- Lawyers and Judiciary
- Civil society organizations
- To increase the protection and promotion of the rights of expression, association, assembly and thought (REAT) including religious freedom in Pakistan.
- The project envisages the establishment of National and Provincial Minority Rights Commission and a network of civil society organizations at national level dedicated to the promotion and protection of REAT with specific attention to freedom of religion.
Why this Project?
The minorities account for about 3 percent of the total population in Pakistan. It includes Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, Sikhs and some other too, but with very small numbers. The situation of minorities in Pakistan is not encouraging. They are facing victimization and persecution in most parts of the country. There are systematic patterns behind the present state of minority rights. The religious minorities have been living in the state of fear and terror since many decades and the situation is aggravating with each passing day. There are discriminatory legislations in the statute of the country causing unrest among the religious communities. They have been facing fabricated cases, mob attacks, destruction of properties and even the killings. It is matter of grave concern that a considerable number of Hindu communities have migrated to India and it is continued still. They are forced to leave their homeland out of fear and threats they are facing since long. Some of the major problems the religious minorities are facing are;
- Forced Conversions
- Discriminatory Laws
- Biased behaviours
- Hate speeches
- Religious extremism and lack of tolerance
- State Role/Constitution
South Asia Partnership-Pakistan plans to undertake certain activities aiming at protecting and promoting the religious freedoms and right to expression, association and assembly. Some of the major activities are;
- Advocacy for Legal and Policy Change
- Engagement with Journalists and Media Houses
- Sensitizing masses on Changing Attitudes and Behaviours towards religious minorities
- Development and Printing of IEC Material and dissemination