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Shia activists raise the issue of sectarian and religious violence in Pakistan at UNHRC


ANI Geneva
During a side event at the 25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the topic of 'The Rise of Religious Intolerance', the Pakistani campaigners blamed Pakistan government for not acting tough against those promoting sectarian violence in the country.
They named it religious terrorism rather sectarian violence.
The session was hosted by the International Imam Hussain Council, International Association for Religious Freedom and Human Rights without Borders.
Pakistani authorities have been accused by rights groups of turning a blind eye to the banned sectarian militant groups and their relentless attacks on vulnerable communities such as Shia Muslims and other minority groups.
Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, Chair of the Imam Hussain Council, told members of the NGOs, campaigners and the UN officials that over 21,000 Shia Muslims have been killed in the last three decades in Pakistan "for which not a single one of the killers has been brought to justice".
Rubab Mehdi Rizvi, Chair of the Imam Hussain Council, and who is based in London, said:"What is happening is religious terrorism, because it is the same Lashkar-e Jhangvi, same Tehrik-i-Taliban that is also carrying attacks on the Hindus, Ahmadis, and Christians all of these and the security forces of Pakistan. So what we face is religious terrorism. The only solution is political will."
Dr Saleem Javed, a human rights activist from Quetta, said:"Today, the Hazara students would not go to universities and college because they are afraid they would be attacked. They have been attacked. They have been attacked on their buses they have been attacked inside the university, outside the university. Even the girls have not been forgiven. They have also been attacked. This has created a sense of total helplessness that everybody is now thinking that ok, don't think of education, don't think about moving forward, the first thing is to protect your life.
Hazara Human rights activist Dr Saleem Javed claimed that almost 1,500 Hazaras in 135 attacks have been killed in sectarian attacks in Quetta.
Hazara students have dropped out of university in Balochistan in entirety as their buses were targeted. The community has been effectively ghettoized in Warsaw like condition in their enclaves.
"The issue is unfortunately catastrophic. It has not been addressed properly, not yet despite the fact that there have been countrywide protests and international protests. We have been continuously demanding the federal government that they should come forward and support the provincial government if the provincial government doesn't have the capability to go ahead and capture the terrorists," he said.
"The fact is that the Pakistani political groups and the civil society should come forward and force the government to change its policy and to be very clear against terrorism and protect all the religious and ethnic minorities like Hazaras, Shias and Ahmadis and all religious minorities that we have inside Pakistan," Javed said.
The conference called on the government to increase law enforcement capacity in Shia-majority areas and during Shia religious gatherings to protect those who are most at risk.

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First Published: Mar 14 2014 | 6:36 PM IST

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