Islamabad, Pakistan, Dec 3, 2018 / 19:01 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A group of advocates for religious freedom have formed a commission for the protection of minorities’ rights in Pakistan, amid growing fears of intolerance toward religious minorities in the majority-Muslim country.
Local media reported that the new commission is comprised of professionals in human rights, law, and academics from various religious communities. Its aim is to encourage federal and provincial governments to honor constitutional religious freedom rights.
The Pakistani constitution establishes Islam as the state religion, but includes articles to protect the rights of freedom of religion and religious education. It also prohibits discrimination based on religion in relation to access to public places and provision of public services.
Despite this, “the government of Pakistan has not addressed the spread of sectarian or religiously motivated intolerant speech and has not prosecuted perpetrators of violent crimes against religious minorities,” according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Human rights activist Ibn Abdur Rehman, patron-in-chief of the new commission, said the body will be committed “to upholding rights of those people treated or declared as the minorities,” but that it would be “all-inclusive in pursuing equality” in terms of religious freedom.