Essay on Violation of the Right to Security for the Pakistan Christian Populations

2021-06-08 22:46:49
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Wesleyan University
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Literature review
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The cases of the Christians in Pakistan being violated by the authorities as well as by the Muslim majority is evident from the many cases reported and remains unresolved. Many of the victims are women targeted and violated because of their religious beliefs and some allegedly accused for committing blasphemy, which is punishable by death.

Points of view

According to an article by the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council, some of the victims have had to escape the country and seek asylum in other countries to escape being persecuted for these religious reasons. A Pakistan girl by the name Rimsha Masih that was arrested in 2012 by the Pakistans law enforcement for allegedly, committing blasphemy had to seek the direct help of Jason Kenney, the Minister for Immigration in Canada and a civil organization called AVAAZ to escape the country. Media reports and her parents say she was eleven years old when she was arrested for burning the Quran, the Islamic holy book. She fled with her parents to Canada where they got permanent residency.

However, not everyone is able escape Pakistan as some continue to suffer from beatings by people they live with, the police kill some and others get imprisonments from the courts. Recently, three women who were Christians namely Arshad, Sajida and Sauriya were severely beaten and paraded naked by force by armed men sent by the property owner. The incident happened when the men in the family were away at work. The attackers jumped over the boundary wall to get into the house, started searching for the men and when they could not see them, they beat the women, took them to the streets, tore their clothes and paraded them naked.

Another woman by the name of Aasia Bibi was imprisoned by the Pakistani court with a death sentence under the laws on blasphemy. Her crime was allegedly making a statement that Jesus Christ is alive and the Prophet Mohammed was dead. The comment led to her getting brutal beatings from her co-workers who were Muslims and subsequent her subsequent arrest by the law enforcers. The cases of killings, oppressions and even public humiliation continue to take place frequently in Pakistan.

Many continue to be subject to long prison terms of sentence, burnings, beatings and even killings among the Christians in the country. For instance, reports indicate that in the last few months that the police killed three boys who professed to Christianity were killed for having romantic relationships with girls who were Muslims. Afzal Masih and Iftekhar Masih both aged 20 were killed on April 29, 2013 while Adna Masih was subjected to turture and then killed on June 10. An 11-year old boy was also found dead in August 2012 with his body parts severely mutilated after an alleged act of sodomy according to the police reports.

According to the report by an organization that deals with protecting the rights of children, over 2000 girls and women who belong to the minority sects have undergone rape, kidnappings and gotten tortured. Some others were forced to convert to Islam. For example in 2011, the number of people charged with blasphemy stood at 161 while in 2009 eight Christians were set ablaze to death in the Punjab province in Pakistan after rumors that they desecrated the Quran.

The US commission that deals with the international freedoms on religion gave a warning that the risks that the minority groups face had reached crisis level in 2013. According to the commission, the laws on blasphemy are used to infringe on the religious freedoms and promote impunity. The laws continue to be used a s the tool for persecuting the Christian community and are even sometimes used to settle personal scores. The laws came about after General Zia-ul-Haq pushed the amendment of the blasphemy laws that were present during the colonial era of the British especially with sections 295-C, 298-A, 298-C and 298-B being most controversial. According to section 295 part C, the use of offensive remarks when referring to the Holy Prophet is punishable by death or life imprisonment. Section 298 part A touches on the aspect of utterances that are intended to wound the religious feelings while section 298 part B is on misusing of the tittles, descriptions or even epithets that are reserved for holy beings or places. Section 298 part C spells out penalties to persons that pose as Muslims or do anything that outrages the feelings of the Islam. Since the passing of the laws in 1986, over 1200 people have been charged under them.

People have also continued to be killed in an extra-judicial manner after being caught up in blasphemy. In most cases, according to Nasir Khan a Pakistani, evidence is not mandatory before the court for one to be implicated. Verbal statements of accusations made by more than two people are sufficient to castigate a non-Muslim for the crime. The courts even advocate for killing of the accused persons without trial from the report of the Urdu newspaper.

The Christians in Pakistan are also used as scapegoats for political reasons with some even blaming them for their loss in elections in spite of them being the minorities. For instance on March 9 2013, Muslims acting on a rumor that a Christian had made a statement against Islam, attacked Joseph Colony and burnt over 170 houses. There are also many cases of young Christian girls suffering kidnappings, gang rapes and even murders like Lubna, a 12-year old in October of 2010.

Strengths of argument

The arguments made in the article are valid and a strong base. The many cases of Christians persecutions that remain unresolved and the government seem to condone these violations. Although the country is a Islamic majority, it is against basic human rights to subject people to torture and keep their lives at the mercy of the masses just because they have a diffract religious conviction. The extreme use of violence that is condoned by the laws is well articulated from the cases of killings, rape and torture that have been given. However, the article does not give of initiatives that are on the pipeline to counter these injustices. There could be bodies that are tackling these issues but that their work has not received enough coverage in the article. Some of the crimes meted on the Christian victims could be acts of the criminal elements in the society and it has nothing to do with the religious beliefs of the perpetrators or the victim.

Bias

The message in the article is that all the Muslims in Pakistan are against the Christian minority. This may not be always the case as some of the followers of Islam are not as extremists as depicted in the article. Some of the incidences articulated could be simply acts of criminals who happen to be Muslims and has nothing to do with religion such as the gang rapes. These acts could also be happening to the Muslim girls but since they do not speak out, they are not available in the public gallery thus these women suffer in silence. The story does not also talk about other minority groups in the country such as the Hindu.

Summary

The international community has a reason to be worried if these violations continue to happen and even protected by the law. The incidences of torture, rapes and killings are worrying in Pakistan at this day and age especially when they target particular religions. These acts of violence are against humanity and the article brings to light serious crimes that should not be happening.

References

Habib, M. (2017). Pakistan: Violations against Christians Soar. Gatestone Institute. Retrieved 7 March 2017, from https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3853/pakistan-christians-violations

Julius, Q. (2016). The Experience of Minorities Under Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws. Islam And ChristianMuslim Relations, 27(1), 95-115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2015.1108639

Misra, A. (2015). Life in Brackets: Minority Christians and Hegemonic Violence in Pakistan. International Journal On Minority And Group Rights, 22(2), 157-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/15718115-02202002

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