PCMR calls for addressing underlying causes of ‘religious violence’

Expressing its deep concern over incidents in Nankana Sahib, Peshawar and Karachi over the past two days, the Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) called upon the government to prevent violence against minorities and take urgent action to address the underlying causes of these manifestations.

“Although the police have arrested the miscreant in Nakana Sahib, the incitement to faith-based violence reflects a trend which the government should take cognizance of. Minorities such as Sikhs are easily identifiable, and for this reason more vulnerable to hate crimes,” said the PCMR, an independent commission on the rights of Pakistani minorities, in a statement.

The PCMR has also shown its concerns over a gathering held to eulogise the assassin on the death anniversary of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, and the killing of Parvinder Singh, a Sikh, in Peshawar.

“The events are extremely disturbing developments, which should be taken seriously,” said the PCMR. Given the frequency and seriousness of such incidents, the police ought to be extra vigilant to prevent mob violence, and protect places of worship and worshippers, said the body. Special attention needed to be paid to regulating social media which may be used for incitement to further violence in the incidents’ aftermath, it stated. The PCMR said Pakistan was created by minorities of India at the time for the peaceful coexistence of people from all religions. “This harmony has been under threat and has been disturbed by internal and external factors. Keeping in view the situation in the neighbourhood, particularly India, it is necessary to establish accountability for human rights violations.”

The PCMR also said that the recently enacted Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 had created a spate of intolerance in India; therefore, the Pakistani government and people should commit themselves to respecting humanity, and to ensure that they would not be provoked by negative conduct of extremist groups in neighbouring country.

“We must demonstrate by our conduct that we are peaceful people who seek to maintain peace and good faith with all our compatriots and encourage our neighbours to also inculcate this attitude.” The statement was jointly issued by PCMR patron-chief IA Rehman, chairperson Peter Jacob and members Dr Kalyan Singh, Dr Rubina Feroze Bhatti, Dr AH Nayyar, Justice (retd) Nasira Iqbal, Pervez Hoodboy, advocate Kalpana Devi, advocate Saroop Ijaz, Khursheed Nadeem, MNA Aasiya Nasir, advocate Saqib Jillani, Dr Muhammad Khalid Masud, Fatima Atif, Sanawar Balam, Maria Iqbal Tarana, Najm-uddin, Imran Kabeer, Wajahat Masood and others.


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