Minorities under attack: Faith-based discrimination and violence in Pakistan



1. Introduction
Following growing incidents of violence, intolerance and discrimination towards members of
religious and sectarian minority communities across Pakistan, the Human Rights Commission
of Pakistan (HRCP) convened the Working Group on Communities Vulnerable because of their
Beliefs in June 2010, to bring together representatives from minority groups across Pakistan to
address the growing faith-based challenges they face.
Building on the meetings held by the Working Group, FIDH and its member organisation
HRCP organised a workshop in Karachi on 25 and 26 January 2014 with representatives
from various religious minorities in Pakistan, to discuss the challenges and discrimination on
the grounds of belief faced by minority and vulnerable communities across Pakistan, and to
develop recommendations on how to end the violence, discrimination, and marginalisation they
face. The workshop served as a joint forum for community representatives to exchange views
on the problems they face and possible solutions, and aimed at identifying institutional reforms
and strategies to enhance freedom of religion as well as the protection of religious minorities
in Pakistan. The workshop was an opportunity for representatives from minority communities
to learn from one another, and to be exposed to broader perspectives on these issues, through
the exchange of experiences with human rights defenders from Pakistan and other countries
in the region who were invited to participate. A broad range of communities were represented
in the workshop, including the Ahmadi, Bahai, Christian, Hindu, Muslim (among them Shia
including Hazara Shias), Sikh, and Zoroastrian (Parsi) communities from across Pakistan.
Several HRCP members, international experts, lawyers, lawmakers and media representatives
also participated.
International experts invited to the workshop by FIDH included Shawan Jabarin, FIDH Vice-
President and Director of Al Haq (FIDH’s member organization in Palestine); Rosemarie
Trajano, FIDH Vice-President and Secretary General of FIDH’s member organization the
Philippines Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA); Antoine Madelin, FIDH Director
for intergovernmental organizations; and Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Director of the Center for the Study
of Religion and Democracy in Indonesia.
The present report is a summary of the main forms of discrimination facing religious minorities
in Pakistan that emerged from the testimonies and discussions shared during the two-
day workshop, responses to questionnaires which FIDH and HRCP sent out to community
representatives, and consultations held by HRCP with community leaders. Although the
problems faced by the various minority communities represented in the workshop are not
identical, many challenges are similar. This report also highlights a number of recommendations
addressed to the government of Pakistan in order to end the violence and the institutionalised
discrimination facing these minority groups.


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Content Courtesy- FIDH/HRCP – Minorities under attack: Faith-based discrimination and violence in Pakistan