5, May 2014
Minority Rights in Pakistan
Human Rights can be defined as those basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity as human beings. Human rights are the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace. Their respect allows the individual and the community to fully develop. They are "rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled". Human rights are certain moral guarantees that people in all countries and cultures allegedly have simply because they are people. Calling these guarantees “rights” suggests that they attach to particular individuals who can invoke them, that they are of high priority, and that compliance with them is mandatory rather than discretionary. Human rights are frequently held to be universal in the sense that all people have and should enjoy them, and to be independent in the sense that they exist and are available as standards of justification and criticism whether or not they are recognized and implemented by the legal system or officials of a country. To violate a human right would therefore be a failure to recognize the worth of human life. Human rights are basic freedoms and welfare of all world citizens, with which governments have no rights to interfere. Every person has to live his or her life in accordance with the Universal Charter, irrespective of the creed, religion, territory, and race. The development of human rights has its roots in the struggle for freedom and equality everywhere in the world. The basis of human rights such as respect for human life and human dignity can be found in most religions and philosophies. In a country such as Pakistan, equal rights are usually taken away. Many people cannot answer why this, but the minorities that live in Pakistan can. There are many struggles minorities face in everyday life. The hardest thing for Christians, Hindus, Sheiks, and other minorities is fight for human rights. Accusation of blasphemy are usually that spark up attack to the minorities. The discrimination against religion, woman, employment, education, and even health are major issues that minorities go through in Pakistan. Minorities feel that the state fails to protect them, and even tolerates violence against them. Many complain the problem has become worse since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power last year. Non-Muslims make up a small fraction of the 180 million people in Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the country's creation as a haven for the sub-continent's Muslims, ushered in independence in 1947 with a promise to minorities that they would enjoy freedom of worship and equality without discrimination. However, for many members of Pakistan's minorities those words ring hollow. The US Commission on Religious Freedom said in a recent report that conditions in Pakistan had "hit an all-time low" and governments had failed to adequately protect minorities and arrest perpetrators of crimes against them. "Pakistan is increasingly failing to protect its minorities for two broad reasons: principally, rising religious intolerance and the space ceded to violent ideologies," said Sherry Rehman, who was a government minister and ambassador to the United States under the previous Pakistani administration. The government launched peace talks with the Taliban in February and rights activists fear that they and other militants have been emboldened by the talks to step up attacks on minority groups. Activists also say the tolerance of militancy provides cover for opportunist attacks by those who just want to grab land, homes, or businesses of minority neighbors under the guise of religion. Minorities say the situation has worsened since Sharif won an election last year. Sharif has close ties with Saudi Arabia, whose brand of conservative Islam is preached by many of the people who denounce minorities. Saudi Arabia, the center of Sunni Islam, has long supported hardliners in...