Religious minority rights in Pakistan recognised only on paper
According to Asia News, Saleem Masih, a 24-year-old Christian man, was beaten to death for bathing in a tube-well used by Muslims in Baguyana village in February 2020. This brutal incident, unfortunately, is only one of many recent indications of how religious minorities in Pakistan are vulnerable to discrimination and persecution.
Masih’s father, Ghafoor, spoke with Asia News about the incident that led to his son’s death. “I saw my son bleed, bruised, unconscious,” Ghafoor explained. “I shouted his name, splashed water on his face, and gently slapped him to wake him up, but he no longer moved.”
Pakistan became independent from India for the sake of religious freedom. However, cases of persecution, like the incident that led to Saleem Masih’s death, are increasing. This is not only true for Pakistan’s Christians, but also the country’s other religious minorities.
Religious discrimination goes back to 1949. In that year, the Constituent Assembly approved a resolution where all laws in Pakistan must conform with Islamic precepts. Since the measure was adopted and more discriminatory laws, such as Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, were added to the country’s legal code, religious minorities have lived in fear and faced significant discrimination.