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Pakistan Chapter - 2017 Annual Report

Pakistan Chapter - 2017 Annual Report

Urdu Translation

Learn more about Abdul Shakoor, a Religious Prisoner of Conscience in Pakistan.

Key Findings

During the past year, the Pakistani government continued to perpetrate and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations. Religiously discriminatory constitutional provisions and legislation, such as the country’s blasphemy and anti-Ahmadiyya laws, continue to result in prosecutions and imprisonments. At least 40 individuals have been sentenced to death or are serving life sentences for blasphemy, including two Christians who received death sentences in June 2016. During the year, an Ahmadi and a Shi’a Muslim were convicted and imprisoned for five years, and four Ahmadis were charged under the anti-Ahmadiyya provisions. Religious minority communities, including Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims, also experience religiously motivated and sectarian violence from both terrorist organizations and individuals within society; the government’s longstanding failure to prevent or prosecute such violence has created a deep-rooted climate of impunity that has emboldened extremist actors. Provincial textbooks with discriminatory content against minorities remain a significant concern. Reports also continue of forced conversions and marriages of Hindu and Christian girls and women, although the Pakistani government took some positive steps on this issue and made other encouraging gestures toward religious minorities. Based on these violations, USCIRF again finds in 2017 that Pakistan merits designation as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), as it has found since 2002. Designating Pakistan as a CPC would enable the United States to more effectively press Islamabad to undertake needed reforms. Despite USCIRF’s longstanding recommendation, the State Department has never designated Pakistan as a CPC.