ISLAMABAD, Aug 11: The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) chairman, Shahbaz Bhatti, has asked the government to abolish all “discriminatory articles, sections and statues in the Constitution” to ensure equal rights to the religious minorities.
Speaking at a news conference here on Monday, Mr Bhatti said these discriminatory and “draconian” laws were increasing sense of insecurity and fear among the religious minorities and damaging the image of Pakistan.
“These laws are contradictory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and negate the founding principles of Pakistan,” he said and added it was no more a hidden fact that the blasphemy law was gravely misused in respect of non-Muslim citizens.
Mr Bhatti suggested the government should form a judicial commission to review the cases of blasphemy law because many prisoners had been waiting for trial under this law for the past many years and that they were facing extremely hostile situation in jails.
He said the APMA had formed a special committee of expert constitutional lawyers who would examine all these discriminatory laws and articles and make a draft for legislative reforms, which would be presented through minority parliamentarians in the Parliament.
The APMA chief also demanded of the government to recognize the role of minorities in the creation of Pakistan and include it in textbooks.
He said APMA would make a documentary film to highlight the contribution of minorities in Pakistan’s creation. The minorities commemorated August 11 as an important and memorable day in history as on this day the Quaid-i-Azam made a historical speech for the future of Pakistan and minorities, he added.
Mr Bhatti said the 56-year history of Pakistan had remained chequered in the backdrop of “myopic and ill-conceived polices of the leaders who shamelessly threw away the ideals of the Quaid”.
“Some fanatics, who opposed the creation of Pakistan, are now trying to Talibanize our beloved homeland to fulfil their vested interests,” he said.
He said the loyal and patriotic Christians were being wrongly attached to America and the West.
He regretted that during the past few years, terrorist attacks on churches and Christian institutions had increased in which many innocent lives had been lost.
The APMA chairman criticized the promulgation of Shariat Bill in the NWFP and Balochistan. The enforcement of “Talibanization” in the form of Shariat Bill was undemocratic and against the ideology of the Quaid-i-Azam, he added.
“We will not accept this undemocratic and unconstitutional bill and resist it at all levels,” he said.