Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chief Zohra Yousuf has said that members of the minority Hindu and Hazara communities had been compelled to seek sanctuary abroad as they were facing numerous problems within the country.
Yousuf made the remarks while speaking at the launch of a HRCP report on problems faced by religious minorities at the Karachi Press Club last week.
She expressed concern at growing problems confronting the minorities.
The growing threats to minorities had been compounded by the government’s failure to take measures to address them.
Targeted killings, kidnappings for ransom, and incidents of violence and intimidation linked to religion had shaken the confidence of minorities in the state’s ability to effectively protect them, she said.
Shia Hazaras from Balochistan and Hindus had felt compelled to seek sanctuary abroad, she said.
At the same time, raising the issue of the rights of non-Muslims too had become increasingly dangerous, she said.
Yousuf noted that the authorities had failed to make any breakthrough in apprehending the killers of federal minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian.
Bhatti was gunned down by terrorists near his home in Islamabad last year after he criticised the controversial blasphemy law.
The government has not taken any action on promises of revising or repealing laws misused by radical elements to persecute the minorities, Yousuf said.
Authorities remained passive spectators in the face of hate speeches against religious minorities and this emboldened those who instigated violence, she added.
The government’s commission for minorities was an eyewash and there is no effective forum to protect minorities from intimidation and discrimination, she said.
The government had also failed to take steps to prevent forced conversions and to give minorities adequate representation in parliament, Yousuf said.