ISLAMABAD: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has established a National Interfaith Working Group as a part of an ongoing project on advocacy and legal aid for religious minorities.
In a statement issued at the group’s inaugural meeting in Islamabad, HRCP reiterated that ‘freedom of religion and belief remains integral to the commission’s work.
The National Interfaith Working Group represents a cross-section of religious and faith-based minority communities. This platform will facilitate interfaith dialogue and carry out collective advocacy, awareness and action to protect the fundamental rights of religious minorities.
Apart from regular interaction with local and provincial stakeholders, including political representatives, the group will also carry out fact-finding exercises to monitor and promote freedom of religion and belief across the country, based on local realities and needs.
Given the wave of religiously motivated violence this year alone – targeting the Christian, Ahmadiyya and Shia Hazara communities in particular – HRCP feels it is critical that policymakers and civil society be prepared to take bolder and more consistent stances on freedom of religion and belief.
To this end, the working group’s findings and recommendations will inform the policy-level debate and, it is hoped, strengthen shared values of inclusivity and tolerance.