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Pakistan: Government Must Do More to Protect Pakistan’s Minorities

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(Bangkok, 16 March 2015) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), expresses deep sadness and concern following the twin bomb blasts at Catholic churches during Sunday mass in Lahore yesterday (15 March) that resulted in the deaths of 15 worshippers and scores of others injured. These attacks – responsibility for which was claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) – are yet another reminder of the perilous situation that Pakistan’s minorities face on a daily basis.

This also comes exactly 3 months after the deadly 16 December massacre of children and teachers in a school in Peshawar that left 145 dead, including 132 children and allegedly orchestrated by persons affiliated with TTP.

These most recent attacks are a stark reminder that the protection of Pakistan’s minorities has been totally lacking and that the authorities are doing little to nothing to quell the persecution of minorities. FORUM-ASIA stands in solidarity with the victims and affected communities of these attacks and calls upon the government to ensure an adequate and transparent investigation that will bring to book all those responsible.

We urge the authorities to exercise maximum restraint in its response to protests held in reaction to the attacks to ensure that there is no further escalation of violence. The government must guarantee the rights of all Pakistanis to express their legitimate grievances through peaceful protest.

Click here to read the press statement from the National Commission for Justice and Peace – a FORUM-ASIA member in Pakistan