Establish global commission to stop sectarian violence against Shias in Pak: AISHF writes to UN
Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], September 13 : The All India Shia Husaini Fund (AISHF) has written to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressing concerns over the rise in attacks against Shia Muslims and other minorities in Pakistan and demanded the formation of an international commission to stop sectarianism and religious hatred in the neighbouring country.
In the letter written by AISHF Secretary-General Syed Hasan Mehdi, the organisation highlighted the dire situation of the minorities in Pakistan, saying over 30,000 Shias have been killed in terror attacks in the past three decades.
"The situation in Pakistan is so worse that no minority in the country is safe, be it Shia Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Hindus. In the year 2020 alone, the terrorists have targetted huge populations of Shia Muslims. Like every year, these attacks have been on the peak during the month of Muharram," it said.
The organisation also expressed serious concerns regarding continued arbitrary arrests, detentions and harassment of Shias by terrorist groups in Pakistan.
The AISHF's letter comes after thousands of people rallied in Pakistan's Karachi on Friday in a massive anti-Shia demonstration, sparking fears that it could lead to a fresh round of sectarian violence in the country.
Meanwhile, the organisation said it is concerned about all minorities in Pakistan facing unlawful killings, life threats and use of inflammatory language against them.
"These violations are inconsistent with Pakistan's international obligations, including those under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These include obligations to respect and protect civil society's fundamental rights to the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. These fundamental freedoms are also guaranteed in Pakistan's Constitution," it wrote.
The group said that during Pakistan's universal periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2017, the government-supported recommendations to safeguard freedom of expression, protect the right to life and freedom of expression.
"It also committed to combat all forms of discrimination, particularly against ethnic minorities. But unfortunately, all went in vain," the letter read.
"We demand the establishment of an international commission to stop sectarianism, religions hatred and incitement, and formation of a truth and reconciliation commission to examine human rights violations committed by non-state actors," the AISHF said, adding that the organisation stands with the Shia Muslims in Pakistan.
It further said, "We respectfully request your office to extend your support to advance human rights in Pakistan, and we also ask you to stand in stark contrast to commitments outlined opted by the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution A/RES/53/144, which protects the right of human rights advocates to promote human rights at the national and international levels."
Social media in Pakistan was filled with posts, photographs and videos of the protest, in which a sea of protestors was seen chanting "Shias are Kaffir" (disbelievers) and holding banners of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, a terrorist organisation, linked to the killing of Shias over the years.
Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan and people convicted are given death penalty for allegedly making insensitive remarks on Islam.
In the last few decades, sectarian violence has gripped Pakistan with Shia and Ahmadi believers being attacked and their shrines targetted.