Wednesday, August 16, 2023

What is the history of religious freedom in Pakistan?

The history of religious freedom in Pakistan has been marked by periods of tolerance and discrimination since its independence in 1947. Initially, Pakistan sought to provide a safe harbor for South Asia's Muslims, while also welcoming all citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike
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 However, over time, the situation for religious minorities in Pakistan has deteriorated.In the early years of Pakistan, non-Muslims comprised 23% of the total population, and non-Sunni Muslims made up a quarter of the Muslim population
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 Today, religious minorities in Pakistan face discrimination, persecution, and violence. The country's blasphemy laws, which carry a possible death sentence for anyone found guilty of insulting Islam, have been heavily used against religious minorities, particularly Christians and Ahmadis
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The shift from an inclusive policy to an exclusive one can be attributed to the influence of religious and political leaders who invoked a new vision for Pakistan
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 The situation for religious minorities has worsened over the years, with reports of forced conversions, targeted killings, mob violence, and desecration of houses of worship and cemeteries
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Pakistan's 1973 Constitution guarantees religious freedom for all religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs
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 However, the enforcement of blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, as well as authorities' failure to address forced conversions of religious minorities, severely restrict freedom of religion or belief
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In summary, the history of religious freedom in Pakistan has seen a decline in tolerance and protection for religious minorities. While the country's constitution guarantees religious freedom, the enforcement of discriminatory laws and the influence of religious and political leaders have contributed to the worsening situation for religious minorities in Pakistan.

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