Islamabad: During a session of Pakistan's national assembly, Khawaja Asif, the country's defence minister, acknowledged that minorities are facing targeted violence in the name of religion.

Expressing concern over the daily killings of minorities, Khawaja stated, "Every day, minorities are being killed. They are not safe under the guise of Islam. I want to address the issue of minority safety, but the opposition is blocking my efforts. Pakistan is facing global embarrassment."

Asif emphasised that no religious minorities, including smaller sects within Islam, are safe in Pakistan, despite constitutional protections. Asif called for a resolution to safeguard minorities, highlighting that many victims of violence had no connection to blasphemy allegations but were targeted due to personal vendettas.

He said, "Even smaller Muslim sects are not safe in Pakistan, which is a disgraceful situation. We intend to propose a resolution to protect minorities. While our constitution guarantees minority rights, there are incidents of violence occurring across various locations. Those who have been killed so far did not have any evidence linking them to blasphemy; rather, these killings seem to stem from personal vendettas."

According to HRCP and Human Rights Watch reports, Hindus, Sikhs, and other minorities in Pakistan continue to face challenges such as forced conversions, kidnappings, killings, and attacks on their places of worship.

The situation remains precarious, with incidents reported across various regions. Moreover, the Ahmadiyya community faces severe persecution, including legal restrictions on their religious practices, hate speech, and violent attacks. They continue to be targeted due to their religious beliefs, with incidents reported nationwide.

Similarly, Christians face discrimination in employment, education, and blasphemy accusations leading to mob violence and attacks on churches. The community remains vulnerable to societal and legal persecution.

The legal framework in Pakistan discriminates against religious minorities, contributing to their marginalisation and vulnerability.

Laws such as the blasphemy laws are frequently misused to target minorities, leading to arbitrary arrests, violence, and societal ostracization.

(With Agency Inputs)