SC orders task force for minorities’ rights, safety

*Wants creation of special police force to protect minorities’ places of worship *Court told no indigenous sectarian issue in Chitral, all communities living in peace

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday announced its detailed judgement regarding the minorities’ rights and directed the federal government to establish a task force to ensure the safety and protection of minorities in the country.
The top court in its detailed verdict said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action”. 
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and comprising of justices Azmat Saeed and Mushir Alam heard the case regarding the rights and issues of minorities.
After hearing the case the apex court has directed the federal government to constitute a taskforce tasked with developing a strategy of religious tolerance and also ordered development of appropriate curricula at school and college levels to promote a culture of religious and social tolerance. The top court directed the federal government to take appropriate steps to ensure that hate speeches in social media are discouraged and the delinquents are brought to justice under the law, and said that a national council for minorities’ rights be constituted.
The function of the said council should inter alia be to monitor the practical realisation of the rights and safeguards provided to the minorities under the constitution and law. The council should also be mandated to frame policy recommendations for safeguarding and protecting minorities’ rights by the provincial and federal governments. The apex court directed that a special police force be established with professional training to protect the places of worship of minorities.
In view of the statement of attorney general of Pakistan and additional advocates general of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan regarding reservation of quota for minorities in the federal and provincial services, the court directed the federal government and all provincial governments to ensure the enforcement of the relevant policy directives regarding reservation of quota for minorities in all services.
The court said in all cases of violation of any of the rights guaranteed under the law or desecration of the places of worship of minorities, the concerned law enforcing agencies should promptly take action, including the registration of criminal cases against the delinquents. The office shall open a separate file to be placed before a three-member bench to ensure that this judgement is given effect to in letter and spirit and the said bench may also entertain complaints/petitions relating to the violation of fundamental rights of minorities in the country.
These suo motu proceedings under Article 184(3) of Constitution of 1973 of Islamic Republic of Pakistan were initiated on a letter received from the Justice Helpline, an NGO, regarding an attack on a Church in Peshawar in which 81 persons died. The issue was discussed and the court observed that generally it was found that most of the girls had eloped with persons of their choice and married of their own free will. Similarly, the issue with regard to compensation announced by the federal government and provincial government for the victims of the church blast in Peshawar which had not been disbursed came under discussion.
The court was informed by the advocate general of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that the provincial government had already disbursed the requisite funds to the victims of bomb blasts. 
Regarding the allegation that Kalash tribe and Ismailies were facing threats and being forced to leave their sect or face death, the Malakand commissioner confirmed that there was no indigenous sectarian issue in Chitral and all the communities, including the Ismailies and Kalash tribes, lived in complete harmony, and the story reflected in the international media had been reported with ulterior motives. 

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