Religious intolerance in Pakistan widespread:


* International Religious Freedom report says discrimination against minorities prevalent
* Says promotions for minorities limited

By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: While Pakistan was credited with have taken ‘some steps’ to improve the treatment of religious minorities, the International Religious Freedom Report, released at the weekend, described the general situation on this front in pretty negative terms.

The report, covering 2007, said, “The government took some steps to improve its treatment of religious minorities during the period covered by this report, but serious problems remained. Law enforcement personnel abused religious minorities in custody. Security forces and other government agencies did not adequately prevent or address societal abuse against minorities. Discriminatory legislation and the government’s failure to take action against societal forces hostile to those who practice a different religious belief fostered religious intolerance, acts of violence, and intimidation against religious minorities.”

It said, “Specific laws that discriminate against religious minorities include anti-Ahmadi and blasphemy laws. The Ahmadiyya community continued to face governmental and societal discrimination and legal bars to the practice of its religious beliefs. Members of other Islamic sects also claimed governmental discrimination.”

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