[ View the story "Pakistan's fractured unity" on Storify] Pakistan's fractured unity What is driving the ongoing violence and prejudice against the country's minorities?
The Stream· Mon, Feb 10 2014 10:04:45
Last week, an area in Peshawar
by Shia Muslims was targeted by a suicide bomber. The attack took place a few hours after peace negotiations were initially postponed between the government and the Taliban. At least eight people were killed and 50 injured. This is the most recent incident of violence against Pakistan's
4.5 million-strong population of religious minorities.
Pakistanis online reacted with anger, condemning the government for considering peace talks with the Taliban and accusing it of not doing enough to protect the Shia minority. Pakistan's Shia Muslims make up
20 per cent
of the entire population.
Is anyone talking to #Shia`s killers too#PeshawarBlastNazrana Yousufzai
As long as civvies are dying and those too of the shia variety, we can continue playing muzakrat muzakrat. #PeshawarBlastImran Khan
: 6 Month Baby injured in Suicide Attack by Terrorist #Talban #PeshawarBlast @abidifactor @SenFaisalAbidi
Attacks against religious minorities have increased in recent months. Last year a pair of suicide bombers
at least 78 people in an attack on a church in Peshawar.
May God bless them all. MT @burema 1st big #church service in #peshawar after bombings #Christian @ weekend
Nurses attending a protest in Quetta against the terrorist attack at a church in Peshawar yesterday. Photo: EPA
Over 700 people were killed between January 2012 and June 2013, majority of whom were Shia Hazaras, a community that is ethnically Mongolian. In January, Hazaras in Quetta and Karachi
sit-ins, refusing to bury the bodies of their loved ones until the government agreed to take action against the perpetrators. The demonstrations took place after
more than 20
Shia pilgrims were killed while returning from Iran to Quetta.
last night it was -1Degrees..dead bodies in front participants not feeling cold but charged up! #Hazara #ShiaGenocide
For those who hav gone blind. See it's Genocide “@TehsinAbidi: Hamara Pyara Islamic Jamoriya #Pakistan #ShiaGenocide
Such attacks against religious minorities are not new. The Stream
the persecution of Hazaras in 2012.
Pakistan's Hazara under attackaljazeeraenglish
freedom of worship for all religious communities.
Subject to law, public order and morality:- (a) every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and (b) every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.pakistani.org
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a Shia Muslim, considered Pakistan's founding father made this speech upon the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
"You are free. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship...You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the state."southasia.foreignpolicy.com
However, blasphemy laws enshrined in the Pakistan penal code are widely considered to be responsible for suppressing such freedom. The clauses that prescribe punishments for offending religious sensibilities were
by Pakistan from the Indian penal code framed by the British in 1927. In 1986, President Zia-ul Haq's government
the death penalty as a punishment.
Section 295-C of the Pakistan penal code states:
Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.pakistani.org
have been handled under the blasphemy laws and an
1274 people have been charged with blasphemy between 1986 and 2010. Many have spoken out against these laws, including former Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer. He was later
by his security guard for seeking to change the laws and appealing for clemency for a Christian woman accused of blasphemy.
However, in the wake of recent attacks, many Pakistanis are calling for the government to do more to protect the rights of minorities. After the Mastung blast, this image of
, a Shia Hazara survivor in a Karachi hospital, was widely shared by
Humans of Karachi
, an offshoot of the popular blog
Humans of New York
Many people visited him in the hospital and offered him gift. Images of Muhammad Ibtihaj were shared on social media:
With the #ManOfSteal Muhammad Jawad Hazara, the #SonOfPakistan Ibtihaj and my favorite cynic @BilawalKhoso
Even Bilawal Bhutto, son of the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and chairman of the Pakistan People's Party met with Ibtihaj to hear his story. Bhutto recently
Surender Valasai, a member of the Hindu community as his advisor on minority affairs.
Just met Ibtihaj & his father.Shame on GOP. Shame on NA.Shame on me. Shame on us. The hell we expect our citizens to live in disgusted me.BilawalBhuttoZardari
On social media, many are speaking out for minority communities. The popular blog, Humans of Karachi also seeks to highlight Karachi's diversity including its Hindu temples and Diwali celebrations.
Happy Diwali! This is a photograph from last year when Hok went to the beautiful Shri Swami Narayan Temple. We received an incredibly warm welcome into the homes of the people who live in the compound and can never forget their hospitality. May today's celebrations be bigger and better than last years!Humans of Karachi
Last year, in the wake of an
against a church in Peshawar, activists organised human chains around churches in major cities.
THIS is my Pakistan- National Day of Prayer and Resistance: Mass & human chain StAnthony's church #Lahore Sun Oct6
In Lahore, #PakistanForAll has formed a human chain ard St Antony's church for Sunday Mass. A striking example of doing, not just denouncingAsad Hashim
The Stream's online community in Pakistan shared their personal experiences:
@AJStream my household staff refused to share crockery with a Christian colleague. Some ppl refuse to employ non-Muslim domestic help.Karachista
@mmbilal My family members have faced it, personally my friends even relatives ridiculed me after listening to mullahs @AJStreamSaira Niz
Many argued that the government was not doing enough to help these minorities:
@AJStream Pakistani state has spent decades marginalising or neglecting any forms of diversitytakhalus
@raisazaidi @butair @AJStream sadly its the government who is continously ignoring minorities, be it sindh punjab or kpk :-/Saqib Ali Kazmi
@AJStream the govt is too busy protecting its own turf to give a damn about minorities. they turn a blind eye to those activities.Shoaib Taimur
Some offered suggestions on how to promote interfaith understanding:
@AJStream There is an approx $90billion funding every year via charity from Wahabi countries to keep the madressahs alive -no paper chainAlia Chughtai
@AJStream Stop the funding in from the countries that fund madressahs that make people who believe in keeping Pakistan segregated by beliefsAlia Chughtai