Geneva, [Switzerland], Sept 13 (ANI): Highlighting the deplorable conditions of minorities in Pakistan, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) on Thursday urged the European Union to designate Islamabad as a violator of religious freedom.
"Today, I was speaking about religious freedom in Pakistan, especially Sindh. I highlighted that there has been very significant and long going issue of freedom of religion in Pakistan," Secretary-General of UNPO, Ralph Bunche, told ANI on the sidelines of an event during the ongoing 42nd session of the Human Rights Council.
"In November 2018, the US Department of State designated Pakistan as a country of particular concern under the U.S. international religious freedom acts which puts Pakistan in the company of some horrible states in terms of religious freedom and says finally that you can't ignore the big problems with religious extremism, religious persecution in Pakistan", he added.
Pakistan has been condemned internationally for cracking down on the minorities living in their countries.
Islamabad has also been discriminating against its religious minorities which is manifested in various forms of targeted violence, mass murders, extrajudicial killings, abduction, rapes, forced conversion to Islam, etc., making the Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyyas and Shias one of the most persecuted minorities in the region.
Expressing concern over the EU inaction against Pakistan over religious restrictions, Bunche said: "European Union is not acting in the same way. In fact it is going in another direction, it is granting Pakistan, a preferential trade treatment on the basis of finding that Pakistan complies with 27 international human rights conventions. Even though officials in the EU know very well it does not."
"UNPO hopes that European Union will follow the lead of the US and recognise Pak as a huge violator of international religious freedom standards and take action to make sure that it no longer get a good pat on the back that it's getting from the general system of preference program," Bunche added.
Last month, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada had raised the issue of suppression of religious freedom by China and Pakistan and slammed the two Asian nations for "persecuting and repressing" their religious minorities.
During the meet on Safety of Religious Minorities, the US, UK and Canada expressed concerns over the increasing, widespread and undue restrictions on religious freedom in the two countries. They also highlighted the discrimination suffered by the Uyghur community in China and of Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan. (ANI)