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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international human rights instruments have embodied the right to profess any religion without any restrictions imposed by the state. Pakistan has undertaken these international commitments to ensure freedom of religion within its jurisdiction and embodied the provisions within its domestic legislation. However, the reports of human rights organizations reveal different realities on the ground level.
The religious minority communities living in Pakistan are confronted with multitude of economic, social, religious and political challenges. One of the most critical challenges faced by these communities is forced conversion. Most of the girls are minors who are abducted from rural areas and then married to an older man. The lack of uniformity in law with regard to the legal age of marriage and the lack of legislative instruments for forced conversion makes it impossible for the victims to seek justice in the courts. Even if the family members undertake the garrulous task, the inherent biases of the justice actors for conversion make it impossible for them to resolve the issue.
We are living in a globalised community where freedom of religion is recognized as the most fundamental aspect of human rights. As part of this civilised world, it is high time for Pakistan to take substantial measures to ensure freedom of religion within its boundaries and gender identity. The federal legislature should pass the bill for anti-forced conversion instead of succumbing to the pressure of some conservative aspects of society as it complies with the injunctions of Islam and its international commitments. The executive branch should enforce laws and protect the rights guaranteed by the constitution to the member of RMCs.
Resurrection of terrorism
After a few years of partial break, peace-disturbing factors are getting involved to destabilize the peace of Pakistan. Too many lethal events have taken place. For instance, the previous month’s suicide bomb attacks in the capital city of Pakistan have indicated that Non-State actors have re-activated to spread chaos and turbulence in an already struggling and shambling country. According to reports, in the year 2022, there have been more than two hundred fatal suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan. This shows and predicts the current and upcoming situation in Pakistan. In the previous month, the minister of foreign affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar visited Afghanistan to settle down the looming crisis, but by her immediate return, the Taliban attacked Pakistan‘s embassy and a few officials got severely injured.
All these inevitable events, underline that the current situation is deteriorating day by day. Contrary to this dilemma, our political actors are tied up with the blame game and point scoring. The political polarization and deficiency of harmony already penetrated our country in a traumatized circumstance. But, now the situation is different and unavoidable which has to be addressed and categorized by all political thespians.
In nutshell, it is a need of the hour to eradicate rifts and agree on a consensus to handle and mitigate a looming issue that is disturbing the peace of our country. Moreover, antiquated or traditional politics must be eliminated, and our political leaders must come up with political harmony because only political synchronization and amicable consensus drive us to peace, stability, and prosperity. Otherwise, we will be stuck in a quagmire and never be able to get out.