10/25/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – A recently released report by the Karachi-based Legal Aid Society documents the struggle religious minorities face when seeking justice in Pakistan. Citing religious discrimination and economic barriers, the Legal Aid Society reports that Pakistan’s religious minorities seldom approach the country’s judicial system to seek justice.
“Religious minorities were less confident about attaining a fair trial compared to their Muslims counterparts,” the Legal Aid Society stated in their Legal Needs Assessment Survey. “They foremost identified themselves as not affluent and powerful, and therefore not possessing the law to seek protection within its ambit, nor the law taking ownership of them. Consequently, they seldom approach the judicial system to seek justice.”
“The majority of respondents were unaware their problems are legal issues with a predetermined solution,” the Legal Aid Society continued. “Majority versus minority rhetoric has made our respondents believe that this country is for Muslims and so is the law. The discrimination faced by these marginalized communities is not only external but also fueled by casteism and socioeconomic disparity within these communities.”
The Legal Aid Society concluded a six-month survey in May, interviewing 324 people from Pakistan’s Hindu, Christian, and Sikh communities. According to Dawer Hameed, the research manager for the Legal Aid Society, this survey is the first of its kind in Pakistan.
The results of the survey paint a grim picture for minorities in Pakistan, including Christians. Structural discrimination, widespread in Pakistan, and its economic effects have locked minorities in a cycle of poverty and injustice.
According to the Legal Aid Society, more must be done by the state to educate minorities of their rights as Pakistani citizens. Without this awareness, there is little hope for minorities to realize their full rights in Pakistan.
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