This week, a group of international humanitarian non-governmental organizations and religious freedom advocates sent a letter to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo raising concerns and offering recommendations about the gross human rights and religious freedom violations occurring in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The letter was spearheaded by the Hindu American Foundation in cooperation with ten partner organizations who work actively to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations around the world.
“Pakistan has shown a complete and utter disregard for human rights and religious freedom and was recently labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the US State Department for its ‘systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom’ against its religious minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Ahmadiyya Muslims, and Shia Muslims,” the letter states. “Religious minorities face systematic persecution and violence, and their religious freedom is severely restricted by the government through discriminatory laws. Furthermore, the government’s apathy toward large-scale anti-minority violence by radical militant organizations has allowed such groups to operate with impunity. State and non-state actors in Pakistan have similarly suppressed the basic civil rights of ethnic minorities such as Balochs, Sindhis, Kashmiris, and the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, among others.”
The letter addresses several ways in which the Islamic Republic of Pakistan violates the human rights and religious freedom of its citizens, namely through: Blasphemy Laws; Abductions/Forced Conversion; Discriminatory Education System; Sectarian Attacks; and Enforced Disappearances/Extra-Judicial Killings. The organizations also offered recommendations to the U.S. government and called for “targeted sanctions on Pakistan and [to] instruct USAID to focus its efforts on protecting minorities.”
“The Hindu American Foundation would like to thank all of the signatories for standing up for the rights of persecuted minorities in Pakistan and around the world,” stated HAF Managing Director Samir Kalra, Esq. “Whether it is Pakistan or Malaysia, Bhutan or in the Caribbean, HAF will continue to voice our concerns and advocate for the religious freedom of Hindus and other minority populations in order to create a safer, more pluralistic world,” Kalra said.
The letter to Secretary Pompeo was signed by the following organizations: The Hindu American Foundation, World Sindhi Congress USA, Human Rights Without Frontiers, The Church of Almighty God, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), International Center for Rights and Justice (ICRJ), Red Eagle Enterprises, Happy Science USA, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Save the Persecuted Christians, and Institute for Religious Freedom and Tolerance (IRFT).