Pakistan in Perspective | Minorities and Human Rights (Season 1, Episode 3)




Pakistan in Perspective | Minorities and Human Rights (Season 1, Episode 3)

Uploaded on May 9, 2020

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi barakatuh who and welcome to Pakistan in perspective a special series examining the state of minority and human rights in Pakistan from a historical legal and philosophical perspective in program we discuss the question of religion and whether a state can define who is or is not a Muslim for purposes of the law and we also discussed the particular discrimination against the Muslim community and how this discrimination is unique and distinct from other minority groups explorers closely the special case of the after the Muslim community in Pakistan what is the specific evidence of discrimination and persecution against athenes and how have anti minority laws anti-acne the laws been used to stay full and indeed criminalise the activities of the ahmadi community and joining me in the studio to discuss these matters are two special guests from the United Kingdom on my right is Lord Eric every who is a member of the House of Lords since 1971 and also vice chair of the UK parliamentary human rights group it’s an honour and privilege to have your hair like every and on my left here is Mr Lionel Blackman who is the solicitor advocate and current chairman of the solicitors international human rights group it’s an honour and privilege to have you heard from Blackman the international community has taken note of the recent assassinations of two very prominent Pakistani governmental officials and vocal proponents of minority rights and that is Punjab governor salmaan this year and minority affairs minister shahbaz Bhatti both of whom were created advocates for minority rights and both of whom tragically and sadly or assassinated and those assassinations have had sent ripples in the international community particularly here in the west and raised questions and concerns about the future of minorities and minority rights in Pakistan in light of those political events I wanted to turn first to you Lord Avery and just your reactions and impressions about the state of Pakistan today seems to be suggesting that the criminal who murdered has here should be exonerated and I find that so in comprehensible that people should actually believe there’s a murder murderer who committed horrible crimes and open public should nevertheless be exonerated and if that turns out to be a larger hillview I just Pakistan I really do think though that the moderates and the people who believe in the rule of law are being steadily eroded and that the extreme opinions which this represents are gaining ground to an extent which is absolutely horrified and alarming to Bridgendthe Liberal mind for example that the prime minister communicating to the United Nations just as recently as the 22nd of September the withdrawal of reservations that have been applied by Pakistan when it ratified in April 2010 the international covenant on civil and political rights that maybe perhaps just symbolic there’s more work to be done on the ground to realise the significance of that withdrawal of the reservations particularly article 18 relating to Religious freedom and freedom of conscience and belief but it’s an important step in the right direction and as more liberal minded people stand up against the if we could call them the absolutists the sort of people that would justify and Garland the assassination of the former governor of Punjab there is open it needs to be supported by the international community in every way and there is an opportunity to do so in the following critical 6-months when submissions are required for Pakistan’s next universal periodic review towards the end of 2012-13 in the iccpr and specifically how Pakistanis currently as perhaps or in violation of those international legal Commitments a bit later in the program I love every I wanted to ask email you’ve been a vocal advocate and supporter of human rights in the House of Lords and spoken outspoken about human rights abuses of broad interest in the issue of minority in human rights generally first founder and chair of the parliamentary human rights group from 1976 until 1997 and that led me to consider in the rights and the great many different countries have not just in Pakistan and I do believe it is one of the fundamental challenges that face all human rights campaigners is that when you look across the world you find that minorities are universally discriminated against it’s Curious function of human behaviour that somehow people fear and dislike the oranges and are prepared to do horrible things to them either in the name of religion or political reason none of which of course have any validity in human rights terms but which stem from some aberration in the human mind and and and I think you know it is one of the fundamental tasks of Human Rights campaign is to expose the treatment of minorities leverage impact on the lives of human beings and try and get people to conform with universal values as regards the improvement of human rights and speaking of Pakistan and obviously has special expertise in leadership on this issue of Human Rights abuses in Pakistan and turning to the App of the Muslim community when did you first learn or come to learn of the persecution of ahmadis in particular is back a long time I had the opportunity of visiting Benazir Bhutto and asking her to repeal the blasphemy laws and being told you see it’s all very difficult and then she didn’t say that she didn’t wish to it repeal the blasting goes but that shoes off against forces in the in the community which made it difficult for her to enact the legislation necessary for those repeals again when when I met President Musharraf he was trying to water down the blast and say that they should only be brought into operation by a senior official of the police but as soon as he said that as a large public meeting that I attended there was a huge outcry and he’s forced to BackTrack on it so and as long as I can remember and it goes back to the days of there’s always been a substantial section of opinion in Pakistan which saw that the blasphemy laws were evil and should be repealed but they were up against these forces of popular opinion which they didn’t dieglass me like self-perception 295c applied broadly 20 chest minority groups which include the ahmadis and which include Christians or Muslims but also Muslims and that the majority of arrests under these laws are actually of must know that that the impact of the laws are felt a lot more broadly and then just simply to minority groups in a question I have for you every is with respect to the ahmadi community because we know that the blasphemy law does exist but that is just one particular lol but there are specific provisions in Pakistan penal code that target the actual activities of the Ahmadiyya community and mention those activities by name what what are your impressions of those laws in Pakistan when did you first learn of the conditions particular conditions of the activities there shortly before my invitation to join the delegation but I Began my research and that perhaps reflects that there is more to be done to raise the awareness of the British Public as to the plight of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan that someone in my position wasn’t particularly well aware of the situation and I went on the delegation in early 2010 and to my mind I would describe there being Innocence three levels at which there is discrimination at with or without the discriminatory laws there will be a problem with the sermons of the absolutists that incite hatred and insight ultimately at murder that takes place and there is the if you like the Hetty discrimination where the fact that the Aberdare community are ostracized is there in a very convenient basis for an a Jealous neighbour to make a false accusation and then 30 of course there is the state actors themselves that either at throughconditions that were conducted by the group and I wanted to get into the tales about those because they’re very illuminating the first was a mission that was specifically geared towards understanding the situation of activities in their headquarters in Pakistan at town that they referred to as rubber but that has been renamed effectively as chenab Nagar and the second investigation and that was in 2006 and the report subsequently the year later and in 2010 this 9 attend a mission to broadly focused on religious extremism to which Mr black and also participated you to commission each of these missions was prompted by the fact that in Ireland Asylum system  The UK Borders Agency the body is responsible for the enforcement of the law on Asylum was saying that are models could relocate within Pakistan to the city of Rab why was you mentioned because that was controlled by the artist and they were perfectly safe from persecution there so the first mission went to rabois it comprehensively refuted the idea that this was a safe place for that they were in some way in from the persecution that their brothers Saturday the rest of Pakistan and so that had been removed as a an argument with UKBA could induce in the asylum tribunals to show that our model could be returned to Pakistan because there was always somewhere safe for them to go with in with the decision rapper myself and many of my colleagues have used the findings of that report in court in the United States in arguing Asylum cases and has had tremendous impact and the notion that there that internal relocation will somehow lessen the severity of the persecution is quite the Light by a finding that the prosecution is especially pernicious and severe in the largest concentrated city of Forever these in in pakistan so so we are very much command those findings on the individuals and the lawyers I understand there are several who went to rub wine Pakistan what specifically if you recall some examples of what specifically did they observed that that they reported that would contradict the notion that rubber would be safer than other locations the restrictions on the activities of people and rubber are very tight the operations that they can conduct within the city and closely controlled and they can’t have businesses and universities in all the things that you would expect in a normal city are very tightly restricted and prevented so the idea that Rob why was a normal city where people could bring back their own business was completely wrong and had to be rebutted from the point of view of the immigration tribunals and then the second and can I come onto the second yes I wanted to I was just asking you about the second mission in 2010 I mean having having done the mission to Rob well we sort in the parliament human rights group that this had to be setting context of what was happening to the Ahmadiyya community in the rest of Pakistan what was the nature of the phenomenon that caused this discrimination against them and one thing to add to what Land Rover saying earlier on is the total impunity which is enjoyed by people who commit the most gas the offences against individual members of the band The murders the discrimination incitement to hatred the open incitement to murder you find in the literature of the captain Abbott who circulating pamphlets calling the members of the Ahmadiyya community washable cattle which means worthy to be killedthe effect of causing extremists to say we must do this in the name of our religion we must kill people because that is the way that we go to Paradise as they’re told by the people who inciting these crimes so and I do think that’s an additional feature of the discrimination which is after the evil and needs to be confronted although it tell them it is is the total impunity of the people who commit these offensive and so one of the observations of those who would defend the current regime last me Raheem in Pakistan is that the kinds of activities that every has just illuminated and discuss the kind of the kind of religious extremism the kind of rhetoric the kind of sectarian strife is just that it is sectarian it is private it is not state sponsored is not institutionalised you spent several days in Pakistan particularly Karachi and met with these is that true and I think those to make those kind of statement overlooking the importance of the institutional mechanisms that effectively indoors acts of discrimination well we know the law to begin with is discriminatory but then the application of that law where they otherwise would be a discretion in a truly liberal democracy and is lacking accusations are taken on face value people are arrested they are detained for months sometimes years on just an allegation before ultimately at the High Court Bayern may be granted and so it is an institutional issue and must be addressed that level not just in terms of the wider debate between the absolutists and and the liberals in society whether religious or otherwise by the state is of course pernicious and problematic and in Pakistan case we do have actual laws that specifically target and minority group which is rather unique Islamic state even stayed in Action that is the failure to act in the face of the face of evidence of persecuted that idea of Acting with impunity the idea of failing to protect those were most susceptible or most vulnerable that is problematic from legal perspective is it is recognised by Pakistan that is problematic and I was reading the observations made by number of states that they 2008 universal periodic review and it was Denmark that took that very point that and in many mosques and mainstream Muslim mosques throughout the land making inflammatory speeches it affect reconstitute since deichmann to hatred and which is against another law and the penal code why isn’t it being enforced and the response of Pakistan is it is a huge problem and very difficult for state to tackle in a society at large and diffuse as as Pakistan that again something to hold Pakistan to account at the next with you I’m sorry I keep going on about it but there is this opportunity and it’s in the next 6-months at submission should be finalized for its action review next year and again the officials of Pakistan said that that would be something that will be working on that question is what have they done right the key document that is used to initiate a criminal case under the blasphemy law is what Scott is the FBI are forever I wanted to to get your thoughts on that because really bad in many ways is the source of a lot of the problem I have some of the the recent attempts to reform even as enduring president Is not acceptable to the vast majority of the fundamentalists and they were the ones that called the tune mean it is always a starting to me that although the extremists have very little voting strength and when it comes to elections in Pakistan they wield an influence that out of all proportion to their numbers and part of that is I think intimidation and that people are frightened of the extremist they don’t dare to confront them and you’ll see that in terms of the response to the atrocities that is difficult to change affect weight change when you in the slightest changes met with such resistance in the assassinations of these two officials were done only because they spoke about against these laws not really even instituting reforms problem that we face in Pakistan that this phenomenon impunity and that is that in the mosque is an address has a certain brand of Islam is be increased which depends on the ideology of modi and coach who explained that the world was divided into Hobbs dar Al harb and Daryl Islam and these were fundamentally in conflict with one another and the struggle would lead in the end to the supremacy of Islam which was spread over the whole globe which is so contrary to the vision of Muhammad Ali Jinnah where all religions would coexist and live in peaceful harmony with each other that you can’t believe that Pakistan has changed from that idea ideal at the present system where the the salafists the extremist wielding such an enormous ideological influence steady deterioration from where Pakistan was when it was founded upon to what it is today Mr Blackman one of the very troubling aspects of the situation of these is that a really comes down to the issue self-identification does it not that after these day can’t identify themselves as Muslim bye-bye by virtue of the Second Amendment to the constitution and really that makes their situation different and attractive to denial of the armadas right to vote I think is a very serious matter and one which will be raised in the universal periodic review because and that the way in which this is done by saying that the hardest have got to know their own religion in order to get onto the electoral roll again violation of Article 18 and would have to come under review and and I think you’re one of the problems that we we faces that the international community doesn’t sufficiently press Pakistan to remedy these violations of human rights that exist in their law we are told by our ministers that they raise the matters with their Pakistani counterpart but there’s no sanctions against Pakistan when they refuse to listen to the voices of the international community and I think that’s a very serious issue that we need to consider when dealing with our own when it says and same in United States that you will find that yes the state department do raise the scenes with the Pakistan is but what do they do when the Pakistan is say that they’re not going to lift a finger to correct the defects in their law which prevent the armadas from voting for example very interesting question to question of the day in a remains to be seen whether real electoral Reform and real reform of the blasphemy laws can take place in the current climate in Pakistan what’s a very it was just a pleasure and delight to have both of you hear on the programme that all the time we have unfortunately went very fast I’d like to thank you again for joining us and sharing your thoughts our special series on Pakistani prospective continues I join us for next week’s program and we take a comprehensive and thorough look into Pakistan’s and time minority and blasphemy laws from a legal perspective thank you very much

 36 total views,  2 views today

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: