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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Pakistan: murder of the governor of Punjab


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

Fiorello Provera, Lorenzo Fontana, Mara Bizzotto, Bastiaan Belder on behalf of the EFD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0041/2011

Procedură : 2011/2522(RSP)
Stadiile documentului în şedinţă
Stadii ale documentului :  


European Parliament resolution on Pakistan: murder of the governor of Punjab

The European Parliament,

    having regard its previous resolutions on human rights and democracy in Pakistan,


–  having regard to the statement by President Buzek on the death sentencing of Asia Bibi in Pakistan, the attack against mosques in Lahore and on the adoption of Constitutional Amendment in Pakistan,


–  having regard to the Statement by the spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the assassination of the governor of Punjab province, Salmaan Taseer,


–  having regard to the Statement by the spokesperson of HR Catherine Ashton on the attacks in Pakistan,


–  having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on a death penalty case in Pakistan,


–  having regard to the Remarks made by High Representative Catherine Ashton on Pakistan,


–  having regard to the Pakistan Country Strategy Paper 2007-2013,


–  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 Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas Article 3(5) of the Treaty on European Union states that 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 majority and state religion of Pakistan is Sunni Islam, and minority religious groups consist of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shiites, Ahmadis, Buddhists, Parsis, Bahá'ís and others,


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


D. whereas its internal stability and democratic institutions are being put to a severe test by the increasing number of violent attacks by extremists which occur on an almost daily basis,


E. whereas on 4 January 2011, the Governor of Punjab province Salmaan Taseer was shot by his bodyguard in Islamabad after he lent his support to the plight of the Pakistani Christian Aasia Bibi, who was sentenced to death on a charge of blasphemy in November 2010,


F. whereas equal rights for minorities featured 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",


G. whereas the Fundamental Rights chapter of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan guarantees "freedom to profess religion and manage religious institutions" (Article 20), equality of all citizens (Article 25) and the "legitimate rights and interests of minorities" (Article 26),


H. whereas, on the other hand, Article 260 of the Constitution differentiates between Muslims and non-Muslims, thereby allowing discrimination on the basis of religion,


I. whereas reports and surveys done by independent agencies reveal that minorities in Pakistan are deprived of basic civil liberties and equal opportunities in jobs, education and political representation,


J. whereas there is a contradiction between the Government of Pakistan's commitment to freedom of religion and its leading role in the OIC in endorsing the "Combating Defamation of Religion" agenda at the United Nations,


K. whereas the legal provisions known as the "blasphemy laws", introduced in 1982 and 1986, undermine the fundamental religious and minority rights granted by the Constitution; whereas the death sentence or lifelong imprisonment are prescribed under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) in cases of blasphemy,


L. whereas the blasphemy laws are misused by extremist groups and those wishing to settle personal scores, and have led to an increase of violence against members of religious minorities, particularly Ahmadis, but also Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shiites, Buddhists, Parsis, Bahá'ís and critical citizens who dare to raise their voice against injustice,


M. whereas the vast majority of people accused under the blasphemy laws are Muslim, but accusations against individuals from minority faiths can trigger disproportionate violence against their community as a whole;


N. whereas at least 10 Pakistanis have been killed while awaiting trial on blasphemy charges since 1990, according to human rights workers active in Pakistan;


O. 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, and whereas even many of those who have been successfully acquitted have to spend the remainder of their lives in hiding,


1. Strongly condemns the killing of the Governor of Punjab and expresses its deep concern that the blasphemy laws – which can carry the death sentence in Pakistan and are often used to justify censorship, criminalisation, persecution and, in certain cases, the murder of members of political, racial and religious minorities – undermine the fundamental religious and minority rights;


2. Calls upon the Government of Pakistan to carry out a thorough review of the blasphemy laws and their current application, as well as – inter alia – of Section 295 C of the Penal Code, which prescribes a mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of blasphemy, and in the meantime to implement amendments as suggested by the Federal Minister for Minority Affairs;


3. Calls on the Government to follow through with its 2008 promise to commute all death sentences to prison terms as a first step in the direction of abolishing the death penalty;


4. Calls on the Government of Pakistan to ratify fully and without reserves the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; considers that freedom of belief as enshrined in the UN Covenant provides the appropriate framework and reference to which all signatories should adhere, providing protection for their citizens in order to enable them to exercise their faith freely;


5. Calls on the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the human rights of minorities laid down in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notably Article 18 thereof, which provides that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion";


6. Invites the Government of Pakistan to facilitate a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief to Pakistan;


7. Invites the Council and the Commission to include the rights of minorities in Pakistan in the agenda for the forthcoming summit with a view to initiating early reform of discriminatory blasphemy legislation;


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


9. 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.