Inter-religious leaders in Pakistan urge protections for religious minorities

Catholic News Agency | 8/9/2019 | Staff
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Karachi, Pakistan, Aug 9, 2019 / 10:09 am (CNA).- Catholic and other religious leaders signed a joint resolution Thursday encouraging the Pakistani government to adopt policies to protect religious minorities.

The leaders held a press conference in Karachi Aug. 8 organized by Aid to the Church in Need - Italy and by local advocate Tabassum Yousaf.

Attendence - Fr - Saleh - Diego - Vicar

In attendence were Fr. Saleh Diego, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Karachi, who represented Cardinal Joseph Coutts. Representatives of the country's Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Baha'i communities were also present and signed the resolution.

The join resolution, sent to prime minister Imran Khan and obtained by CNA, includes 10 recommendations meant to safeguard the rights of minorities and women.

Pakistan - State - Religion - Islam - Percent

Pakistan's state religion is Islam, and around 97 percent of the population is Muslim.

The country's authorities have consistently failed to implement safeguards on behalf of religious minorities, despite numerous policies in favor of economic and physical protections for members of non-Muslim religions.

Point - Resolution - Urges - Age - Marriage

The first point adopted in the joint resolution urges that the minimum age for marriage be made 18 years; the current marriage age for women is now 16.

The religious minorities also ask for the opportunity for better economic development, which they are not guaranteed at the moment.

Leaders - Ministry - Minorities - Application - Quota

The religious leaders encouraged a federal ministry for religious minorities, and the application of a quota for educational scholarships given to minorities.

In 2013 the then-governing party, the Pakistan Muslim League (N), promised a quota for jobs in the educational institutes and the public sector for members of religious minorities. The Pakistan Peoples Party discussed an Equality Commission to monitor job quotas in Sindh.

Parties - Opposition - Parliament - Safeguards - Action

Both parties are now in the opposition in the national parliament, and the proposed safeguards have not been put into action.

The joint resolution urges protection of minorities' houses of worship from government seizure; designated minority worship areas in jails,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Catholic News Agency
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