- Aftab Alexander Mughal
- Mar 29th, 2022
The latest study of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan has revealed that hate speech is having a psychological and socioeconomic impact on religious (non-Muslim) and sectarian minorities in Pakistan.
Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis, Shia Muslims live under constant fear for their security. The study on ‘Hate Speech: A Subtle Discrimination! Trends of Religious Hate Speech in Sindh’ was launched in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan. With a population of more than 47 million, Sindh in south east Pakistan is one of the country’s four provinces. The majority 96.47% are Muslims, while by there are 2.14% Hindus, 1.27% Christians, 0.09% Ahmadis and 0.02% others.
The study states: “Experiencing hate speech on a daily basis for a longer period of time results in persistent stress on victims, which adversely affects their productivity in all walks of life, especially education, workplace performance and social spaces,”
“With an increasing sense of inferiority in victims, they tend to isolate themselves, which further leads only towards the worsening of their mental health,” it says.
The study demands that the state should monitor religious sermons, speeches and statements, which promote hate against minorities.
The study demands that the state introduce monitoring, regulation and standardisation mechanisms for religious sermons, speeches and seminary curriculum, and enact a comprehensive policy on equality and non-discrimination.
It calls for criminalisation of forced conversion in Sindh, and asks political parties to pass the piece of legislation that was attempted in November 2016 in the provincial assembly but succumbed due to religious parties’ pressure.
It also demands setting the legally valid age for marriage at 18 years across Pakistan for both boys and girls, and asks senior civil judges to ascertain the presence of free will, consent, the factual accuracy of age and marital status of the parties involved.
Aftab Alexander Mughal, a Pakistani Christian journalist, now based in England, is editor of Minority Concern Pakistan, and a former Executive Secretary of the J&P Commission of (Leadership Conference of the Major Superiors of Catholic Church) Pakistan.