Islamabad, September 18, 2020: Speaking on a point of public importance regarding the alarming escalation in hate campaigns and sectarian violence against the Shia community in Pakistan, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “20% of Pakistan’s Muslim population is Shia. We are reeling under a new surge of sectarian violence which is targeting Shias across the country and threatening new rounds of instability”.
“There has an alarming been a surge in target killings of Shias over the last month. According to few sources there have been 20 such cases where Shias were targeted on the basis of their faith but it’s extremely shocking that this issue is not being raised,” she added.
She said, “This wave of sectarian violence in Pakistan is extremely dangerous and all of us agree that to become a peaceful democratic society we cannot let such extremism and intolerance exist within us. It is crucial that the government gives a policy statement and takes action”.
“Rallies targeting the Shia Muslims are being orchestrated by proscribed terror groups on our roads where hate slogans are being chanted. This is an extremely sensitive matter which needs to be dealt with immediately . Our people have sacrificed a lot to eradicate terrorism from Pakistan,” said Rehman.
Stressing on religious tolerance, she said, “This is Jinnah’s Pakistan where “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” Federal government needs to protect these basic rights as Shias are also the citizens of this country. Their rights are enshrined in our constitution like every citizen. Muslim or non-Muslim, every citizen should have the equal protection of the law”.
“Our Prophet Muhammad PBHU always respected and protected anyone who was vulnerable and gave them space. We seek to be a progressive, inclusive country and such incidents will only tarnish our image in the world,” she added.
The Senator said, “All citizens are guaranteed equals rights in Pakistan and it is our duty to ensure it. Whatever the risk , it’s important that we raise our voice for the vulnerable and take action over it. It is also the responsibility of majorities to ensure all citizens are protected and guaranteed their constitutional rights”.
Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded her speech by saying, “This issue is a part of National Action Plan but nothing is being done about it. We all need to sit together and come up with an action plan to curb this issue before it escalates even more. The federal government also needs to urgently address the alarming increase in sectarian violence”.