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UN calls for minorities’ protection in Pakistan
Saturday, 29 May, 2010
People take cover outside one of two places of worship stormed by gunmen in Lahore on May 28, 2010. Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed two Pakistani places of worship in Lahore, killing around 74 people, officials said. — AFP Photo/Arif Ali
GENEVA: UN rights experts on Friday urged Pakistan to do more to protect religious minorities after an attack at two places of worship in the country that killed some 80 people.
“The government must take every step to ensure the security of members of all religious minorities and their places of worship so as to prevent any recurrence of today’s dreadful incident,” three UN experts said in a statement.
“In Pakistan and elsewhere, Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims and have been subject to a number of undue restrictions and in many instances institutionalised discrimination.”
“This emboldens opinion makers who wish to fuel hatred and perpetrators of attacks against religious minorities.”
The statement was from Asma Jehangir, a special rapporteur on freedom of religion; Gay McDougall, an independent expert on minority issues; and Philip Alston, a special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The international Red Cross also condemned the Lahore attacks, calling them part of an alarming wave of attacks on civilians.
“The ICRC strongly condemns such deliberate attacks against civilians, of which the only purpose can be to spread terror among the population,” said Jacques de Maio, the International Committee of the Red Cross head of operations for South Asia.
“These attacks form part of a highly alarming, unacceptable series of attacks on civilians in Pakistan,” he added in a statement. —AFP