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Time for Pakistan Government to protect its minority citizens is now!
The Coalition for the Rights of Minorities (CRM) demands the Government of Pakistan to take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of the mob violence in Joseph colony, Lahore before the law
11 March 2013
Over 100 Christian homes in the Christian Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore were burned in mob violence on Friday 8 March. The Government of Pakistan has yet again failed to protect their minority population.
The newly established Coalition for the Rights of Minorities (CRM) demands the Government of Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that those who instigated the mobbing of Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore are brought before the law. According to reports from the ground, Christians of the community have gone into hiding for fear of their lives and are waiting for help from the State and their fellow Pakistani citizens.
With elections coming up in Pakistan, these attacks are yet another example of how the Pakistan government is failing to protect its minority population. It is also another example of how the blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to incite violence against vulnerable minority communities.
This is not an isolated incident but is part of a systematic pattern of violence against the Christian community in Pakistan. For decades Christians in Pakistan have been victims of attacks. The Coalition has observed similar attacks in previous years and in similar localities, including the September 2012 attacks against the Church Compound in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkwa, attacks against the Christian Aziz Colony in Gujranwala in April 2011, and earlier attacks in Korian village, Gojra in July 2009. In all cases police authorities have been slow to act. Police inaction to protect these citizens only encourages the perpetrators of this violence to continue.
It is hypocritical that the Government of Pakistan stands in front of the international community giving examples of their positive human rights record while their citizens remain unprotected. This week a Pakistan Government delegation will stand in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. (See Global Human Rights Defence statement “Lack of government commitment to minorities during Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan” here). Meanwhile, minority communities in their country are in fear for their lives and remain unprotected by their State.
We, the Coalition for the Rights of Minorities affirm that no individual or group in Pakistan can take the law into their own hands, nor should any such act be condoned under any pretext. We affirm that it is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan to take action to protect all their citizens and to bring the perpetrators of this horrific act to before the law.