As concern grows over increased violence against Pakistan’s religious minorities, the recently formed National Commission for Minority Rights (NCMR) has expressed its grievances for the first time in public.
“We strongly recommend legal and constitutional backing. Without an independent and investigative role, our presence doesn’t even matter. We shouldn’t even be here,” said Albert David, chairman of the Pakistan United Christian Movement.
“I assure you we all have a very strong feeling about it and even shared it at the very first introductory meeting. A strong commission backed by financial support can help future members deliver. With the support of civil society organisations, we can make it more active.”
David was speaking on Aug. 11 via video link at a National Minorities Day convention titled “Democracy versus Tyranny of Majority” at a hotel in Lahore. The National Commission for Justice and Peace, the Catholic Church’s human rights body in Pakistan, jointly organised the event with local rights groups.
The speakers expressed deep concern over the escalation of violence against religious minorities and the institutionalisation of religious and sectarian intolerance, referring to recent legislation by the Punjab Assembly on the protection of Islam and the Punjab Textbook and Curriculum Board.