According to Genocide Watch in 2012, “the Pakistani government has carried out a cultural onslaught in the region targeting educated professionals such as Baloch historians, healthcare professionals and journalists … The inability of the Pakistan government to reign in its military and protect its people is a big human rights concern … In light of these violations, Genocide Watch concludes Pakistan remains at a risk [stage] level of 7 because of these indicators”.cvi Gregory Stanton defines stage 7 ‘Extermination/Current Massacres’ as follows: “Extermination begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally called ‘[physical] genocide’. It is ‘extermination’ to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes, the genocide results in revenge killings”.cvii
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in its 2012 Annual Report – Pakistan, also noted that “the government of Pakistan continues to both engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief. Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws and other religiously discriminatory legislation, such as the anti-Ahmadi laws, have created an atmosphere of violent extremism and vigilantism. Sectarian and religiously-motivated violence is chronic, and the government has failed to protect members of the majority faith and religious minorities. Pakistani authorities have not consistently brought perpetrators to justice or taken action against societal leaders who incite violence. Growing religious extremism threatens the freedoms of religion and expression, as well as other human rights, for everyone in Pakistan, particularly women, members of religious minorities, and those in the majority Muslim community who hold views deemed ‘un-Islamic’ by extremists. It also threatens Pakistan’s security and stability”.cviii
The religious freedom situation in Pakistan, it noted with concern, “remained exceedingly poor during the reporting period. The Zardari government has failed to reverse the erosion in the social and legal status of religious minorities and the severe obstacles to the free discussion of sensitive religious and social issues faced by the majority Muslim community. A number of Pakistan’s laws abridge religious freedom and freedom of expression. Blasphemy laws, used predominantly in Punjab province but also nationwide, target members of religious minority communities and dissenting Muslims and frequently result in imprisonment on account of religion or belief … A climate of vigilantism … has resulted in
societal actors killing accused individuals”.cix Anti-Ahmadi laws, it reiterated, “discriminate against individual Ahmadis and effectively criminalise various practices of their faith … Anti-government elements espousing an intolerant interpretation of Islam” also “continue to perpetrate acts of violence against other Muslims and religious minorities. The government’s response to religiously-motivated extremism remains inadequate … There also were concerns about extremist infiltration of the military, as a Brigadier General and four others were arrested in 2011 for links with religious extremist organisations, with the general being the highest-ranking official to be arrested on such charges in over a decade”.cx
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All proceeds from the sale of the book support the work of the BPCA. Much of the early sales will be used to support victims of the Peshawar bomb attacks – December 2013.