Parliament Passes Resolution to Protect Minorities, Calls for Immediate Action Against Rising Mob Violence

ISLAMABAD: On Sunday, June 23, 2024, the National Assembly (NA) passed a resolution vehemently condemning the recent horrific and tragic incidents of mob lynching across various parts of the country. The resolution, moved by Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, emphasized that the right to life is the most cherished right enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan. It asserted, "Every person is to be dealt with in accordance with the law and not otherwise."

Expressing serious concern over the increasing incidents of mob violence, the House highlighted recent cases in Swat and Sargodha where individuals accused of offenses were brutally lynched. "Such actions cannot be tolerated in any civilized society," the resolution declared.

The National Assembly urged both federal and provincial governments to ensure the safety and security of all citizens, particularly religious minorities and other vulnerable segments of society. It called for the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab to take immediate and necessary measures to identify, investigate, and prosecute those involved in these incidents under relevant laws.

The resolution also underscored the expectation that the courts would ensure immediate and speedy justice in these cases to prevent future occurrences of such tragic events. Furthermore, it called for comprehensive action against individuals involved in violence against minorities.

The resolution comes in the wake of another tragic incident where a man was lynched over allegations of desecration of the Holy Quran in Swat. The victim, a local tourist, was beaten to death by a violent mob and his body, along with the police station where he was held, was set ablaze.

During the session, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif expressed deep concern over the rising incidents of violence against minorities, highlighting the international embarrassment these cases cause for Pakistan. "Pakistan is not the country of a single person but every Pakistani who lives here is an equal citizen. All Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs are equal citizens," he stated. 

Asif called for a clear message from the NA that the parliament is committed to protecting the rights of minority communities in the country. He stressed the need for a unanimous stance against the misuse of religion and the exploitation of religious sentiments for personal disputes. "Our Constitution does not allow violence and the killing of innocents in the name of religion," Asif added.

Pakistan has witnessed a disturbing spike in mob lynching and violence against minorities in recent years. Last month, a Christian man in his seventies was attacked by a mob on charges of desecrating the Holy Quran in Sargodha, Punjab, and later succumbed to his injuries. In another high-profile incident in 2021, a Sri Lankan factory manager was lynched, resulting in global outcry and the sentencing of six people to death for their involvement.

The resolution represents a significant step towards addressing and preventing religiously motivated violence in Pakistan, aiming to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all citizens.