Brussels, Belgium: In an online conversation on the future of Pakistan, Siegfried O. Wolf, Director of Research at South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), said that political instability in Pakistan is endemic.
South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), a Brussels-based think tank, held an online session on the future of Pakistan and the human rights situation in the country, moderated by SADF’s director Paulo Casaca.
The conversation was focused on the human rights situation in the country and several complementary sides to the problem were addressed.
Willy Fautre, Director and Co-Founder of ‘Human Rights without Frontiers’ (HRWF), had many concise numbers and facts to share on the situation in Pakistan and called it a ‘grim’ situation. He noted that Pakistan restains freedom of speech and has many unjustified restrictions.
Among other issues, he pointed out that violent attacks on freedom of religion and on all minorities; the Ahmadi Muslim minority for instance which is banned, faces violence and jail. It was noted that Pakistan’s 4,600 death row prisoners are mostly from marginalized sectors of society.
A generalized lack of protection against all sorts of injustice and violence, from anonymous beatings to extrajudicial killings to law-enforced death row sentences linked to blasphemy laws, was also discussed.
Tabassum Yousaf, a Karachi-based lawyer, defended the rights of minorities, children, and victims of various forms of discrimination.
“The problem is that laws and mechanisms are either not enforced at all or enforced in such a way that victims of discrimination are not protected,” the lawyer said adding, “It is hard to imagine the levels of injustice, violence, and indeed terror faced by minorities in Pakistan, namely female members of minority religions who are victims of kidnappings and forced marriages.”
Shahid Mobeen, founder of the ‘Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy noted, “Islamabad serves the world with some of the most horrifying examples of Christianophobia and antisemitism while daring to accuse others of Islamophobia.”
“Islamabad’s policies have done much to contribute to the type of religious extremism that can foster Islamophobia in less well-informed sections of the non-Muslim world,” he concluded.