South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The human rights activists from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Saturday demanded of the government due amendments in Constitution enabling minorities to enjoy their rights as Muslims do.

The demand was made in a press conference which beside others was addressed by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan leaders Kamran Arif, Justice (retd) Sher Mohammad Khan and Prof Ijaz Khattak.

The amendments in the Constitution, they said should be worded in line with Article 20 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to read as follow, “any advocacy of sectarian or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to violence shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of up to 10 years or fine up to RS 2,500,000 or both.”

Kamran Arif said that the Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) Act, 1975 be repealed as a whole and evacuee properties be handed over to the recognized religious or community-based institutions/organisations of the relevant religious minorities. Chairman of the trust must be from same community, he remarked and added that non-Muslims should have accesses to Bait-ul-Maal funds and Ushr and Zakat as well.

Justice (retd) Sher Mohammad Khan said that the amendments in particular must be made for allowing minorities in tribal areas as part of traditional Jirga, along with other due rights in education, government employment and local government institutions. He said there should be due representation to non-Muslim women at all forums in tribal areas.

Similarly, the human rights activists have also suggested a council for Non-Muslims from all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and adjoining tribal areas whereas they should discuss and find out solution to their common social, religious, economic and administrative problems.

In response to a question, Kamran Arif maintained they supported merger of FATA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and along with common tribesmen, Non-Muslims from FATA should be given representation in provincial Assembly. He said that for ensuring education in accordance with their religious norms, Non-Muslims should be given representation in the Frontier Education Foundation.

Recently the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government started Naazra at school level but so far there is no any decision made regarding education of their religious norms and thoughts to children of Non-Muslim communities.

Updated On: 25-2-2017