Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Pakistani province announces plan to protect religious minorities

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By (CNA/EWTN)
12/14/2018 (11 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

A Pakistani official announced this week a new ‽Minorities Empowerment Package" and the creation of a task force to ensure the rights of religious minorities in the province of Punjab.

Highlights

By (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/14/2018 (11 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Pakistani province, plan to protect, religious minorities


Lahore, Pakistan, (CNA/EWTN News) - According to Dawn, Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ijaz Augustine said the package will include new legislation and implement existing laws to assist religious minority communities.

A newly formed task force will be composed of professionals in human rights, law, and academics from a variety of religious communities, with the purpose of monitoring the implementation of human rights policies.

Augustine made the announcement at the Alhamra Arts Council with the Christian Care Foundation, coinciding with Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.  The ceremony included the distribution of certificates for activists and employees of the human rights department.

The empowerment package will implement religious minority quotas in jobs, education, and housing. It also looks to establish a sentence remission system and skill development trainings. The money will be taken from a Minority Development Fund worth more than $3 million.

‽We are also focusing on skills development and have kept aside Rs25 million (nearly $180,000) for scholarships. We are also working on development and housing schemes specifically for the minority community," said Augustine, according to Dawn.

The minister said an action plan, drafted by the provincial Task Force on Human Rights, will aim to carry out the goals of the Punjab Human Rights Policy 2018.

‽We have also established a web-based Complaint Management System designed by the Punjab Information Technology Board for effective communication and resolution of human rights issues," he said.

A commission to oversee equality of religious freedom has been called for in the past. The Pakistani Supreme Court ordered the creation of a National Council for Minorities in 2014, but it was subsequently ignored by past governments.

The Pakistani constitution affirms Islam as the state religion, but articles in the document prohibit discrimination and aim to protect religious freedom of minorities.

In practice, however, ‽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.

The U.S. State Department this week declared Pakistan as one of 10 ‽countries of particular concern" when it comes to religious freedom. The designation allows for further actions, including economic sanctions, by the United States.

In July during his presidential campaign, the Pakistani President Imran Kahn said he supported laws imposing strict penalties for blasphemy " including desecration of the Quran or insulting Muhammad.

While no one has been formally executed for the crime of blasphemy in Pakistan, mob killings have followed public accusations of blasphemy.

Servant of God Shahbaz Bhatti was Pakistan's Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs and the only Christian member of Pakistan's cabinet. He was killed by the Taliban in 2011 after showing support for Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who in 2010 was sentenced to death for blasphemy. She was acquitted in October 2018, but her life is still in danger, as the ruling is under government review as part of a deal to appease groups that were leading riots in the streets.


Comments


More Middle East

Pope Francis prays for Iraqi people after 45 killed in protests Watch

Image of Iraqis protesting in the streets of Baghdad

Pope Francis said Sunday that he was grieved to hear of the deadly violence against protesters in Iraq and expressed his closeness to the ... continue reading


Experts say they have PROOF of Noah's ark in 3D scans of legendary site Watch

Image of Is this the site of Noah's Ark? A team of experts believe it is, and they claim to have proof.

A team of experts say they have 3D images of Noah's Ark and will release the pictures in an upcoming documentary about the Ark.  LOS ... continue reading



United Arab Emirates pledges to help rebuild Catholic churches in Mosul Watch

Image of Brother Nicolas Tixier speaks at the signing of an agreement between the UAE and UNESCO

The United Arab Emirates is partnering with UNESCO to rebuild two Catholic churches in Mosul that were destroyed in 2014 by the Islamic ... continue reading


Bishops in Middle East urge prayer for northern Syria Watch

Image of Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al Ayn during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria Oct. 17 2019 as seen from Turkey.

Bishops in Syria and Iraq have called for worldwide prayer as fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces further destabilizes northern ... continue reading


Moroccan king pardons woman who procured abortion, those who participated Watch

Image of Dr. Mohammed Jamal Belkeziz leaves the prison in Sale Oct 16 2019. He was pardoned after being sentenced to two years imprisonment for performing an abortion.

Morocco's king pardoned Wednesday a journalist, her fiance, and the medical team who last month were found guilty of procuring and ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.