The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently published its 2021 Annual Report. In this report, USCIRF once again recommended Pakistan be designated a “Country of Particular Concern” due to its worsening religious freedom conditions for Christians and other religious minorities.
“Religious freedom conditions in Pakistan continued to worsen. The government systematically enforced blasphemy laws and failed to protect religious minorities from abuses by non-state actors. There was a sharp rise in targeted killings, blasphemy cases, forced conversions, and hate speech targeting religious minorities,” USCIRF’s 2021 Annual Report stated.
Despite this and other severe violations of human rights against religious minorities, Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, claimed in March that religious minorities enjoyed total freedom of religion in Pakistan.
The first three months of 2021 proved to be another challenging time for Christians in Pakistan. Despite the PTI-led government’s lofty claims of complete religious freedom, the country’s Christian community continued to suffer discrimination, intolerance, and incidents of outright persecution.
International Christian Concern (ICC) documented at least 25 incidents of persecution against Pakistan’s Christian population between January 1 and March 31, 2021. The documented incidents included false blasphemy accusations, abductions, forced conversions, forced marriages, physical violence, religiously motivated murders, and instances of intimidation.
Section three of this report contains a chart of the incidents of persecution documented by ICC.