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2014-06-16

ASIA/PAKISTAN - New report: Pakistan, a dangerous country for religious minorities

Islamabad (Agenzia Fides) - Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for religious minorities: says the new report of the organization "Minority Rights Group International" (MRG), sent to Fides Agency. The document notes that, since 1980, attacks on minority groups (Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Shiites and Hazaras) have been on the rise and also the "targeted killings" have reached unprecedented levels. "Hatred speeches against minorities are widespread and circulate freely" notes the text.
The report, based on official figures, notes that the attacks against Shiite and Hazaras communities have a "disturbing level" (700 Shiites killed in 2013) and criticises the "totally inadequate" response of the Pakistani government, which "should send a clear message, showing that such attacks are unacceptable and do not go unpunished", said MRG.
"Turning a blind eye to the atrocities, the government legitimizes a culture of impunity among the militant groups, while minorities live in fear everyday. If criminals are not brought to justice quickly, more mass violence on minority groups is likely to happen".
The report states that most of the attacks are carried out by three militant groups: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TPP). The main targets are, above all, professionals, doctors, lawyers, politicians, businessmen, religious leaders and human rights activists. According to activists interviewed by MRG, these attacks intend to demoralize and marginalize minority communities in Pakistan, facilitating the exit from the country. The report points out that the "climate of fear" is fueled with hate campaigns conducted in mosques, schools, public spaces and social media. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 16/06/2014)

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