We thank the Special Rapporteur for her report and take note of recommendations of the ninth Minority Forum.
Pakistan is a multi-religious, multi-cultural, pluralistic society where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds are living together. The Government of Pakistan is committed to promote and protect the rights of all Pakistani citizens, including minorities. Minorities have immensely contributed to the development of Pakistan. Through various measures, the Government of Pakistan has striven to establish an inclusive society with all people living in harmony. Specific measures taken include:
- Reservation of 10 seats for minorities in the National Assembly, 4 in the Senate and 23 in the Provincial Assemblies for ensuring political participation.
- Celebration of 11th August as Minorities Day. Also,Festivals of various religions are officially celebrated in Pakistan in which political leaders, including Prime Minister and President participate. These festivals include Christmas and Easter for Christians, Holi and Diwali for Hindus, Biasakhi and Birthday of Guru Nank for Sikhs, Nauroze for Zoroastrian, Eid-e-Ridvan for Bahai’s, Festival of Lights for Buddhist community and Chelum Jhust for Kalasha people.
- 5 percent jobs quota for minorities in all federal services.
- Suo Moto Action by Supreme Court in cases of violation of rights of minorities.
- Interfaith Harmony Committees have been established by the Provincial Governments which are playing a positive role to create healthy environment among different communities.
- The new Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony works for harmony in society. It is formulating the National Interfaith Harmony Policy.
- On July 2014, the Terms of Reference of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) were revised to make it more effective.
- Hate speech and incitement to hatred which leads to violence has been criminalized. Thousands of cases have been registered against individuals and entities which are involved in hate crimes and action is being taken against them.
- To combat terrorist threats, the Government has enhanced security around places of worship of all communities throughout the country.
I thank you.