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EU Urged To Intervene Over Minorities’ Situation In Pakistan

EOPM staged hunger strike outside European Parliament in Brussels during the visit of PM of Pakistan. Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki, MEP met the demonstrators and assured them of their support (Photo: Pakistan Christian Post)

The European Organization of Pakistani Minorities (EOPM) organized a peaceful hunger rally on Friday, June 4, 2010, outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, during the visit of the Pakistani Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Pakistan Christian Post (www.pakistanchristianpost.com), has reported.

According to the PCP story the group of protesters included Christians and Sikhs from Pakistani groups representing Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The story said the demonstrators urged EU Women’s rights groups to help the women in Pakistan and force the Pakistani government to withdraw the Sharia Law [Islamic Law] and protect women from the alleged slavery of the Pakistani Army.

It said the demonstrators urged the EU to exercise its influence on the Pakistan government so that it ensures that it provides security to Sikhs living in conflict zones and not use them as security cover as well as bring to justice those behind the beheading of Sikhs in Pakistan.

They were referring to two Sikhs who were kidnapped over earlier this year and beheaded by the Pakistani Taliban in the country’s restive tribal belt.

The body of Jaspal Singh was found in the Khyber tribal region, located a short distance from the provincial capital of Peshawar, while the body of Mahal Singh was found in the Aurakzai Agency, sources said.

According to the PCP story the protesters urged the European Union to pressure Pakistan to allow international investigators to visit Gilgit-Baltistan and investigate alleged atrocities also recently committed by the Pakistani Army.

The demonstrators, according to the PCP story, urged EU to make the Pakistan government implement fully the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to ensure registration of all eligible voters in the new electoral rolls, including Ahmadi’s who are are reviled as heretics by mainstream Muslims for their belief that their sect’s founder was a savior foretold by the Koran, Islam’s holy book.

The PCP story said the demonstrators called upon the EU to influence the government of Pakistan to guarantee the human rights of minorities laid down in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notably Article 18, which provides that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

The demonstrators also demanded that the EU direct the Pakistani government to implement the proposed reforms of the education system and to regulate and inspect Madrassas [religious schools] and remove material promoting hatred against western countries from textbooks.

The story went on to say that the demonstrators sought EU intervention to see that the government of Pakistan facilitates a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, to Pakistan

According to the PCP story, the demonstrators sought EU intervention to ensure that Pakistani government gives special status to the Christians and give special protection to those areas where Christians are being forcefully converted to Islam.

The demonstrators urged the EU to direct the Pakistani authorities to do an “in-depth and fair” investigation into the recent alleged illegal detention of a 14-year-old Christian girl and her brothers in the secret torture cells run by the Pakistani Air Force officials and also take action against those involved.

The PCP story said that a group of Members of European Parliament (MEPs), including Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki, met the demonstrators and assured them of their support in taking up these issues in the European Parliament.

The story quoted the MEPs as saying that they do recognize the “enormity of the human rights problems in Pakistan” and the “failure of the Pakistani government in effectively handling issues relating to minorities and women in Pakistan.”

The PCP story said that the hunger and prayer demonstration was attended by more then 130 Pakistani men and women living in Belgium and other parts of Europe.

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