Protection Sought for Minorities in Pakistan

Church leaders in Pakistan have criticized their government for showing a “lethargic attitude” toward attacks on religious minorities. The government has, in effect, given free reign to the Taliban, thus encouraging “the imposition of jazia—a tax for being non-Muslim—by militant organizations,” as well as “kidnapping for ransom, target killing and internal displacement,” said a February statement from the Pakistan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission. The statement noted that recent violence against Sikhs, Hindus and Christians poses a “grave threat to the life, liberty and property of the members of religious minorities in the country.” Christians have been harassed in the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province and other areas, it said. “The federal and provincial governments should treat these incidents as an alarm bell and must take stringent measures to control the situation.”

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