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Procedure : 2010/2663(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0272/2010

Texts tabled :

B7-0272/2010

Debates :

PV 20/05/2010 - 12.1
CRE 20/05/2010 - 12.1

Votes :

PV 20/05/2010 - 13.1
CRE 20/05/2010 - 13.1

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0194

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 128kDOC 125k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0271/2010
18.5.2010
PE441.866v01-00
 
B7-0272/2010

with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure


on religious freedom in Pakistan


Fiorello Provera, Lorenzo Fontana, Mara Bizzotto on behalf of the EFD Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on religious freedom in Pakistan  
B7‑0272/2010

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on Pakistan,

- having regard to the Council conclusions adopted on 16 November 2009 on freedom of religion or belief in which it underlines the strategic importance of this freedom and of countering religious intolerance,

- having regard to the EU-Pakistan Joint Statement of 17 June 2009, in which both sides underlined the importance of an integrated long-term strategy including social economic development and the rule of law; as well as acknowledging the significance of non-military means in countering terrorism,

- having regard to Article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR),

- having regard to the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion and Belief,

- having regard to the Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Partnership and Development, in particular to Article 1 of this Agreement, which states that “respect for human rights and democratic principles as laid down in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights […] constitutes an essential element

of this Agreement”, ´

- having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A. whereas the promotion of democracy and respect for human rights and civil liberties are fundamental principles and aims of the European Union and constitute common ground for its relations with third countries,

B. whereas the Constitution of Pakistan requires every law to be consistent with Islam, whereas the Constitution states that freedom of speech is "subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam", whereas death penalty can be applied in the case of defiling Islam, according to the country's blasphemy laws,

C. whereas several minority religious groups including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis, Buddhists, Parsis, Baha’is inhabit the country,

D. whereas Pakistan is one of the key countries in the fight against terrorism and the spread of violent extremism,

E. whereas equal rights for minorities feature in the vision of the founding father of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, as expressed in his speech to the Constituent Assembly in 1947: “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State… We are starting with this fundamental principle, that we are all citizens and citizens of one state.”,

F. whereas the Fundamental Rights chapter of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan guarantees ‘freedom to profess religion and manage religious institutions’ (article 20) and the equality of all citizens (article 25),

G. whereas the government of Pakistan appointed a spokesman for minorities and Member of the Pakistan Parliament Shahbaz Bhatti, as Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs in November 2008,

H. whereas, in the period since November 2008 the government of Pakistan has created a quota of five per cent for minorities in the federal jobs sector, recognized non-Muslim public holidays, declared 11 August to be National Minorities Day and committed to providing Senate seats for minority representatives,

I. whereas in August 2009 seven Christians were burnt alive and 18 others injured by a mob accusing the victims of blasphemy in the town of Gojra in Punjab province,

J. whereas in January 2010 a Christian girl was killed after she had refused to be converted to Islam by force, and to be sold as a wife to a Muslim man,

K. whereas in March 2010 a Christian family living in Rawalpindi had suffered brutal violence following the refusal to be converted to Islam by force; the young father being burnt alive and consequently dying three days after, the mother being raped by some policemen, and their three sons being forced to witness their parents’ ordeal,

L. whereas between February and March 2010, in the tribal regions along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, several serious episodes of religiously-based violence and intolerance towards religious minorities occurred, such as, among others, kidnapping and decapitation of two Sikhs and the assault to the office - located 65 kilometers north of Mansehra town- of World Vision, a NGO of Christian inspiration, the assault resulting in the death of 6 Pakistani members of World Vision’s staff, and the serious injuring of other 7 of them,

M. whereas, according to the serious concerns expressed by Christian-Catholic Church in Pakistan, Taliban troops further commit religious-based violence against religious minorities, as a result of the scarce surveillance by the Government of Pakistan over the tribal regions along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan,

N. whereas Pakistan endorses the “Combating Defamation of Religion” agenda at the United Nations,

O. whereas the legal provisions known as the ‘blasphemy laws’, contained within section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code, are misused by extremist groups and those wishing to settle personal scores, as the European Commission -according to its answers given to some parliamentary questions in the recent past- has been given to understand in the human rights dialogue with Government of Pakistan,

 

P. whereas lawyers and human rights activists in Pakistan experience frequent death threats and harassment, and lawyers who defend blasphemy cases are especially vulnerable to such risks,

Q. whereas Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan suffer frequent discrimination and persecution underpinned by the anti-Ahmadiyya provisions in section 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, a recent example being the murder of a retired Ahmadi professor by masked gunmen on 5 January 2010,

R. whereas the government of Pakistan has signed but not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

S. whereas according to Hands Off Cain 7,400 prisoners are on death row throughout Pakistan, with approximately 6,889 in Punjab,

1. Expresses its concern for the condition of religious minorities in Pakistan and strongly encourages the Pakistani government to address the issue of sectarian discrimination and promote better understanding between the different communities of Pakistani society,

2. Supports the efforts of the Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs in establishing a network of Local Interfaith Harmony Committees to promote dialogue and ease the religious tensions;

3. Urges Pakistan to ratify without delay the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

4. Supports the government of Pakistan’s commitment to provide minority seats in the Senate and insists that these guarantees be fulfilled;

5. Expresses its solidarity with the government of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and the spread of violent extremism;

6.Urges the Government of Pakistan to amend or abolish the blasphemy laws, in particular section 295C of the Criminal Code, which carries a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of blasphemy;

7. Calls on the Government of Pakistan to establish a moratorium on executions in compliance with UN General Assembly resolution of 18 December 2007;

8. Calls upon the government of Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy laws and, in the meantime, to implement amendments as suggested by the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs;

9. Expresses its particular concern at the ongoing discrimination against and persecution of the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan and calls upon the government of Pakistan to repeal Section 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which severely hinders the daily lives of this group, and to discourage state-sponsored, inflammatory events such as the ‘End of Prophethood’ Conferences in Lahore;

10. Is particularly concerned about Pakistan’s leading role in the ‘Combating Defamation of Religion’ campaign at the UN, stressing the Council conclusions of 16 November 2009 that international human rights law protects individuals and groups of individuals and that, in this regard, defamation of religions is not a human rights concept;

11. Calls upon the Council of the European Union to include the issue of religious tolerance in society in its counter-terrorism dialogue with Pakistan, this matter being of central importance to the long-term fight against religious extremism;

12. Calls upon the Member States and the European Commission to continue financial support of human rights organizations and defenders and outline practical measures to support the growing civil society movement in Pakistan against the blasphemy laws and other discriminatory legislation;

13. Recalls the Commission’s repeated statement, in response to written parliamentary questions, that it is closely following the government of Pakistan’s response to the anti-Christian violence in Gojra and Korian; calls on the Commission to request details of tangible progress made, particularly with regard to bringing the culprits to justice;

14. Calls upon the Council to support the government of Pakistan in the development of its Ministry for Human Rights and in establishing a meaningful, independent and authoritative National Human Rights Commission;

15. Calls the Government and Parliament of Pakistan to clarify the facts and responsibilities with regard to the death of Arshed Masih, citizen of the Christian faith who was burned alive after refusing to respect his employer's wishes and convert to Islam on 22 March;

16. Stresses the Pakistani institutions to take measures to ensure that the family of Arshed Masih is given the necessary psychological and material assistance;

17. Calls on the Council and the Commission to insist that the Government of Pakistan uphold the democracy and human rights clause enshrined in the Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; calls on the Commission to present a report on the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement and the democracy and human rights clause;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of Pakistan.

 

Last updated: 19 May 2010Legal notice