Aurat Publication & Information Service Foundation
Institutionalized legal discrimination against religious minorities discussed, Karachi


Institutionalized legal discrimination against religious minorities discussed

A provincial consultation was organized by Pakistan Religious Freedom Initiative (PRFI): Leaders of Influence, Aurat Foundation, at Marriott Hotel, Karachi on February 24, 2015. The meeting was attended by activists, researchers, scholars, lawyers and journalists. There was deliberation on the discussion paper, ‘Institutionalized Legal Discrimination against Religious Minorities’ prepared by legal expert Maliha Zia.

The Asia Foundation (TAF) representative, Mr Kashif Kamal said TAF is currently supporting three different projects in the country, each focused on empowerment of marginalized sections - from grassroots level exercise to reduce magnitude of the issue; access to justice for non-Muslim communities; and policy modifications so as to address gaps if any in the laws.

Ms Mahnaz Rahman, Resident Director, Aurat Foundation - Sindh, said that NGOs may complement government efforts but never substitute for it, hence government ought to realize its responsibilities towards the citizens in terms of their basic needs as well as in the larger context of their constitutional and legal rights.

Ms Fareeda Tahir, Associate Project Manager, Aurat Foundation, said Women Parliamentary Caucus, including that of Sindh Assembly, exists while Religious Freedom Caucus is also being formed and this would be across party lines and that the caucus members should create religious freedom wings in their respective parties. She mentioned that during one to one meeting with government officials, as part of PRFI – Project, it was found that many had little idea about the 5% job quota for non-Muslims.

Syed Moazzam Ali, Consultant, shared the Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) reports which he conducted in different districts of Sindh. Mr Mohsin Naqvi, Mr Javed Qazi and Mr Shoaib Ashraf also spoke on the occasion. Thereafter the floor was open for questions and suggestions and meeting was adjourned at lunch.