No laws made for minorities’ rights in three decades

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Current Affairs on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

ISLAMABAD: During the last three decades no legislation was made to protect the rights of minorities in Pakistan. Moreover, through the 18th constitutional amendment in 2010, the chapter relating to minorities was handed over to provinces, further narrowing the scope for them.

This was stated by Advocate Ali Imran at a ‘consultative meeting on draft bills on hate crimes and births, deaths and marriages’ organised by an NGO, Pattan, at a local hotel on Tuesday.

He said most of the legislation on minorities was made in the 19th century and later incorporated into the Constitution.

The Constitution says that every citizen has equal rights, while under Article 36, the state shall safeguard the interests and rights of minorities. However, during the last three decades, no legislation was made to protect the rights of minorities, he said.

Mr Imran, who played a role in drafting the bills, said the environment was now suitable to table the bills in parliament, claiming 78 parliamentarians had been taken on board over the rights of minorities and hate speeches.

He said the major reason for violence against minorities was hate speech, adding there is no definition of a biased motivated crime. Social media is being used for hate crimes, he added.