Karachi 12/03/2013: Bolo Bhi appreciates the resolution passed by the Sindh Assembly over the misuse of the blasphemy law. The resolution condemns the arson and vandalism in Joseph colony; calls for the Government of Punjab to arrest and punish the culprits and ensure compensation is provided to the Christian community impacted by the attacks. We also appreciate the Government of Punjab’s pledge to ensure that justice will be served, and laud that rehabilitation work has already been initiated in the colony. However, we are concerned that no efforts are being made to provide a long-term solution to prevent incidents of this nature, and to end the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
After every such incident – which takes place quite frequently – we witness an outcry in the media as well as by political parties. However, the state has yet to take substantive measures against these attacks to ensure the rights of minorities are protected.
Rebuilding homes, arresting and punishing culprits and speaking out against terrorism is the duty of the state along with ensuring that these incidents are not repeated in future. It is high time that the government and law-enforcement agencies develop a long-term solution and strategy to ensure rights of minorities are protected in Pakistan.
As we head towards elections, we want to raise the following questions:
- What strategy and long-term solutions are political parties offering to prevent the abuse of the blasphemy law?
- What measures will be taken to protect minority communities in the country?
- What kind of counter terrorism strategy will be devised to deal with such situations?
Bolo Bhi means ‘Speak up’, in Urdu. We are a not-for-profit geared towards advocacy, policy and research in the areas of gender rights, government transparency, legislation, Internet freedom, digital security, privacy and empowerment. We, at Bolo Bhi, believe it is crucial to bridge the gap between rights advocates, policy makers, media and citizens. It is by bridging this gap that one can move ahead to chart a way forward and resolve issues through consensus, in a way that is mutually beneficial.