In May 2011 the United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms published its annual report (covering 1st April 2010 – 31st March 2011). The Commission designated Pakistan a “country of particular concern”.
Here is the Commission’s summary of religious freedom in Pakistan:
“Pakistan continues to be responsible for systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief. Two high-profile members of the ruling party were assassinated during the reporting period for their advocacy against Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws. These laws and other religiously discriminatory legislation, such as the anti-Ahmadi laws, have created an atmosphere of violent extremism and vigilantism. Sectarian and religiously-motivated violence is chronic, and the government has failed to protect members of the majority faith and religious minorities. Pakistani authorities have not consistently brought perpetrators to justice or taken action against societal leaders who incite violence. Growing religious extremism threatens the freedoms of religion and expression, as well as other human rights, for everyone in Pakistan, particularly women, members of religious minorities, and those in the majority Muslim community, including those who hold views deemed “unIslamic” by extremists. It also threatens Pakistan’s security and stability.
In light of these particularly severe violations, USCIRF again recommends in 2011 that Pakistan be designated a ?country of particular concern,? or CPC. Since 2002, USCIRF has recommended Pakistan be named a CPC, but the U.S. State Department has not followed that recommendation.
The religious freedom situation in Pakistan deteriorated greatly during the reporting period. While the Zardari government has taken some positive actions to promote religious tolerance and remedy abuses, it has failed to reverse the erosion in the social and legal status of religious minorities and the severe obstacles the majority Muslim community faces to the free discussion of sensitive religious and social issues. A number of Pakistan’s laws abridge religious freedom. Blasphemy laws are used against members of religious minority communities and dissenters within the majority Muslim community, and frequently result in imprisonment on account of religion or belief and/or vigilante violence. Three individuals had death sentences imposed or upheld against them during the reporting period. AntiAhmadi laws discriminate against individual Ahmadis and effectively criminalize various practices of their faith. The Hudood Ordinances provide for harsh punishments for alleged violations of Islamic law by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Anti-government elements espousing an intolerant interpretation of Islam continue to perpetrate acts of violence against other Muslims and religious minorities. The government’s response to religiously-motivated extremism remains inadequate, despite increased military operations.”