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Home UNCHCR Index UNCHR Report Dated Dec. 23, 1994
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Excerpts from Report titled
Report submitted Mr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/18

* Introduction




Pakistan 19 - 21




1. In this addendum, the Special Rapporteur devotes chapter I to the communications transmitted to three Governments before the fiftieth session of the Commission on Human Rights and also to the replies received from eight Governments concerning communications transmitted during the same period, in so far as that information was not published in the preceding reports. In chapter II, the Special Rapporteur considers the replies received from Governments in 1994 to his letter of 21 April 1994 addressed to all States with a view to gathering any new information and any other relevant details falling within the framework of his mandate on religious intolerance.


2. The Special Rapporteur reports, in particular, on the communications addressed to the Governments of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan in 1993. With regard to the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan, the Special Rapporteur had decided in his previous report (E/CN.4/1994/79) not to refer to the communications transmitted if the Governments concerned had not been granted the minimum two-month period needed to undertake the necessary investigations and to reply to the allegations.

3. In 1993, the Special Rapporteur had also communicated to the Chinese Government allegations which were both general and detailed and for which the period allowed for replies had been found to be less than two months. The Chinese Government had sent a first reply concerning the general part of the allegations (see E/CN.4/1994/79), but had not replied to the detailed part of the allegations relating to a series of individual cases requiring longer investigations. This chapter reflects the detailed replies concerning those allegations.

4. The Special Rapporteur received the reply of the Pakistani authorities dated 8 February 1994, as well as that of the Chinese authorities which was communicated to him during his visit to China. On 14 January 1994, the Special Rapporteur also sent an urgent appeal to the Iranian Government, which replied on 15 February 1994.

5. Moreover, in 1994, after the finalization and presentation of the report to the fiftieth session of the Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur received the replies of the Governments of Australia, Cuba, Greece, Myanmar and Spain concerning the communications transmitted in 1992 and 1993.


19. In a communication dated 8 November 1993, the Special Rapporteur addressed the following comments to the Government of Pakistan:

“According to the information received by the Special Rapporteur, the Islamization of Pakistan legislation, which dates back to the 1980s, has severely undermined the exercise of religious freedom and led to serious abuses, in particular abuses committed against the religious minorities of the country.

The attempt by the Pakistan authorities to mention religious affiliation on the identity card of every Pakistan citizen is reported to be another source of concern. It is alleged that when 2 million of these new identity cards had been printed during 1992, further printing was partially suspended in November 1992, in the face of strong opposition from many minorities, including the Christians, and that the provincial parliament of Sind also opposed it.

The Special Rapporteur has been informed that the freedom of movement of certain religious dignitaries has been hampered. It is reported that they have been prevented from going to various regions of Pakistan, on the pretext that their presence or their statements would inflame sectarian feeling or would be liable to cause acts of violence or disturb public order. As a result, more than 50 preachers, zakirs and other eminent persons were allegedly unable to go to various places in the Punjab and the North-West Frontier region during the Muharram celebration. In June 1992, some 30 ulema were reportedly forbidden entry to Jhang and a number of others were denied access to Sialkot. The following month, some 20 ulema were prevented from going to Muzaffargarh, and a dozen more were not allowed to go to Larkana.

In addition, the 10 or so appeals lodged by the Ahmadi community for the restoration of their rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Pakistan Constitution were reportedly dismissed by the Supreme Court in a judgement of 3 July 1993 in which the Court gave as its interpretation that article 20 of the Pakistan Constitution, relating to religious freedom, was subject to the law, public order and morality. By a majority, the Court allegedly specified that this article was subject to ‘Islamic law’.

This decision is said to have been the culmination of a long period of discrimination against members of the Ahmadi minority dating back to a constitutional amendment of 1974, which stated that this minority was 'non-Muslim' and was forbidden to engage in Islamic activities. The scope of this constitutional amendment was reportedly reinforced later by Ordinance XX of 1984, which made amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code, and to sections 298 B and 298 C, in particular, by referring explicitly to the Ahmadis and by prohibiting them from declaring themselves to be Muslims and from using Muslim practices in their worship or in the teaching of their faith. Any breach of these laws is reportedly punished by a sentence of up to three years' imprisonment and a fine. On 7 July 1991, article 295 A of the Penal Code was reportedly amended by Ordinance XXI, which increased the maximum period of imprisonment imposed for outrage against religious views from 2 to 10 years.

Many Ahmadis have reportedly been prosecuted under article 298 C of the Pakistan Penal Code for using expressions that include Muslim epithets and verses of the Koran with the intention of passing the Ahmadis off as Muslims, as well as the call to prayer, the actual prayers, the customary greetings, the inscriptions on houses or tombstones and the patterns on invitation cards or cards announcing marriages.

In 1986, the amendment to article 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code made it possible to sentence any person guilty of directly or indirectly slandering the name of the Prophet Muhammad to life imprisonment and even to capital punishment, as well as the payment of a fine.

In spring 1991, the Supreme Court, inspired by the Shariah, reportedly issued a decree, which was subsequently ratified by the Senate, declaring that anyone deemed to be guilty of blasphemy under article 295 C of the Penal Code would henceforth be sentenced to death, without any possibility of appeal. Capital punishment thus allegedly became mandatory from 1 May 1991. During the period under review, the laws on blasphemy reportedly built up an atmosphere of religious intolerance in the country and even encouraged acts of violence, against the Ahmadi and Christian minorities in particular.

It is alleged that, in 1992, more than 150 complaints were lodged against members of the Ahmadi community for violations concerning the use of Koranic verses in their private correspondence and that the persons concerned received sentences ranging from a few months to two years. In addition, 718 persons were allegedly prosecuted for offences involving the inscription of the kalima (profession of faith), 729 others for having recited the azan (call to prayer), 91 for having offered the namaz (prayer) and some 10 others for having read the Koran. At least three teachers, in Islamabad and in Dunyapur, in the district of Lodhran, reportedly lost their posts because they were Ahmadis. It is alleged that, in one instance, the teacher was asked to resign his post because he was not entitled to teach the Koran and that, in another, he was allegedly harassed by the management of the school, boycotted by his pupils and denied admission to the canteen, before being relieved of his responsibilities; the third instance was that of a teacher who was denounced to the police for having taught her faith in her school and declared guilty of having breached sections 298 C and 295 C of the Penal Code. At present, she therefore risks the death penalty. It is further reported that 11 Ahmadi places of worship were partially demolished, a dozen tombs were desecrated and some 20 burials according to Ahmadi rites were forbidden.

Other cases reported to the Special Rapporteur in which persons belonging to the Ahmadi minority are alleged to have been persecuted are described below:

On 20 July 1992, after the death and burial of a prominent Ahmadi esteemed by all the members of his village, a mullah allegedly came five days later and demanded that the dead man be exhumed. The villagers protested and won their case, after the district judge discovered that the five signatures collected by the mullah for carrying out his design had been obtained by threats.

On 29 July 1992, a lawyer, Ateeq Ahmad Bajwa, amir of his district in Vihari, allegedly used Islamic expressions referring to the Prophet Muhammad in statements made during a press conference and again before the Bar Association. He was denounced to the police by a neighbour and, after obtaining bail, he was thrown into prison in Multan.

In the village of Nasirabad, in the district of Muzaffargarh, the members of the Ahmadi minority were allegedly attacked by opponents. After being berated by the police who came to the rescue, the opponents resumed their attacks against the Ahmadis with even greater force, beating and robbing some of them. Others left the scene and took refuge in neighbouring villages, fearing denunciation by their neighbours or arrest on false grounds.

For the ninth consecutive year, the celebration of the ‘Jalsa Salana’, which is the assembly established more than 100 years ago by the founder of the Ahmadi movement, was allegedly forbidden by the Pakistan authorities.

Starting from January 1993, 104 members of the Ahmadi minority, most sentenced to life imprisonment under section 298 C of the Pakistan Penal Code for having used certain traditional Islamic inscriptions on the walls of their houses or in their announcements of marriage, allegedly had their sentences reviewed under section 295 C and commuted to capital punishment.

Like the Ahmadis, the Zikris are reportedly still being harassed with a view to declaring them non-Muslims. It is alleged that many Zikris whose faith dates back to the sixteenth century and advocates abstinence, seclusion, contentment and invocation of the holy names of Allah, have been prevented by the authorities from organizing their annual processions and rites at the end of Ramadan, in Turbat, in the coastal area of Baluchistan. The present campaign against this minority is reportedly also racially based and reveals fundamentalist intransigence at work in Pakistan society.

Other Pakistan citizens, who are Muslims, were allegedly affected by the laws on blasphemy. According to the information received:

Akhtar Hammed Khan, an eminent writer and sociologist, 81 years of age, who is known for his commitment to the deprived people of Orangi in Karachi, launched a pilot development project on their behalf. Some aspects of the project seeking to offer real estate loans on favourable terms to the population and to improve the condition of women through education and access to employment and to family planning, apparently went down badly with local businessmen and the orthodox Muslim authorities.

This eminent sociologist, it is alleged, was first charged with blasphemy, after being reported by a former employee who had been dismissed in 1988, in connection with an interview given to an Indian journalist, the article concerning which was never published. The matter was dropped by the Karachi police for lack of sufficient evidence. On the other hand, extracts from the so-called article have been published in the weekly organ of the conservative Jamaat-i-Islami party.

On 14 May 1990, similar accusations based on the above-mentioned article were made against Mr. Khan by a religious leader from Multan and confirmed on the basis of sections 298 A, 295 B and 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code. Mr. Khan was arrested a few months later and held briefly before being released.

The third accusation of blasphemy stemmed from a children's nursery rhyme entitled ‘The Lion and Anaq’, which was published by the Oxford University Press in 1989. According to the person who lodged the complaint against Mr. Khan on 19 March 1992, the nursery rhyme made particular reference to the Holy Prophet and to the fourth caliph, thus insulting the Prophet and Islam. Although the High Court of Sind granted Mr. Khan release on bail, in the meantime his home was searched on several occasions. Libellous articles and tracts were published about him in the press or distributed to the population by the religious leaders. He was then again arrested and held for short periods without any arrest warrant, despite being supported by several publishers, influential Pakistan citizens or human rights groups.

Abdullah Malik, a former journalist and well-known writer active in political life, was the victim of a smear campaign carried out recently by the press, denouncing the accounts of his pilgrimages to Mecca during the last 20 years as blasphemous, ridiculing the writer and calling him the ‘Salman Rushdie’ of Pakistan.

Lastly, it is reported that several Pakistanis of the Christian faith or converts to Christianity were also victims of the blasphemy laws. In the cases mentioned by the Special Rapporteur in his report in document E/CN.4/1992/52, namely those of Naimat Ahmer, Tahir Iqbal and Gul Masih, the following information should be added regarding the latter: he professes the Catholic faith, and comes from Sargodha, a town 200 miles from Islamabad with a sizeable Christian minority. Gul Masih was the first person sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy since the penalty became mandatory in 1991.

It is alleged that on 10 December 1992, during a discussion between Gul Masih and his Muslim neighbour Mohammed Sajjad Hussain, near a public fountain, which had become poisoned because it was in poor working order, his neighbour claimed that Gul Masih had insulted the plumber in charge of the fountain, who is also a Muslim, and made disparaging remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. Later that day, Gul Masih's neighbour returned to see him and demanded that he withdraw his remarks, which he refused to do.

During the days following this dispute, Sajjad Hussain was encouraged by a maulvi (a learned teacher of Islamic law) belonging to an orthodox Islamic organization which is apparently seeking to make Pakistan a Sunni State by removing all non-Sunni Muslims from Government posts, to lodge a complaint against Gul Masih, on the basis of section 295 C of the Penal Code. The dispute continued for several days, and implicated Gul Masih's brother, a political opponent of the maulvi mentioned above.

Finally, it is reported, Sajjad Hussain lodged a complaint against Gul Masih and his brother Basih, accusing them both of blasphemy. Both men were arrested during the night of 14 December 1991 and imprisoned. Basih was released six weeks later after Muslim neighbours had testified that he had no part in the above-mentioned dispute. The trial of Gul Masih began in November 1992, solely on the basis of the testimony given by Sajjad Hussain, and the judge of Sargodha, Khan Talib Hussain Baloch, sentenced Gul Masih to death by hanging and to a fine of 5,000 rupees - a sentence which will be executed if upheld by the Supreme Court.

It is further alleged that, since his conviction, Gul Masih has been held in solitary confinement. An appeal has been lodged with the Supreme Court, emphasizing that the evidence of Gul Masih's guilt was insufficient and that he had not been given the benefit of the doubt and that capital punishment was therefore unjustified.

It is also reported that Bhatti Sarvar, a young 21-year-old Pakistan Christian, working side by side with Pastor Liagat Paiser of the Pentecostal Church of Philadelphia, was accused by four Muslims, who did not witness the events complained of, of burning a copy of the Koran at his uncle's home on 19 June 1992. In fact, on the day in question, the accused had gone to visit his relatives in his native Punjab. His children had been left in the care of his uncle and his wife and, in their absence, had lit a fire in the house which had burnt a few books nearby. The children managed to put out the fire and throw the burnt books out into the street.

It is further alleged that, when she returned home, the aunt found her house surrounded by a mob of angry Muslims, chanting slogans against her family and the Christian community of Sarghar, accusing them of burning and desecrating the Koran. Although the book which was the object of the complaint was never found, the following week Bhatti Sarvar was finally handed over to the police by his family because they feared that his detractors would end up killing him.

On the day when he appeared before the chairman of the municipal committee, 11 representatives of the local Christian community and some 100 Muslim leaders, together with a vociferous crowd of about 2,000 Muslims congregated in the hall, demanding that Bhatti Sarvar should be hanged. Since his arrest, he has reportedly been due to appear at 11 hearings without a defence lawyer because the attempts made by his family to secure the services of four lawyers in Sarghar have been unsuccessful. Bhatti Sarvar was apparently preparing to plead guilty, despite the fact that the charges against him were false, in order to spare his family any unduly unpleasant consequences. Christians from the province of Sind were preparing to collect money to pay a lawyer from outside of Sarghar who would agree to defend the victim.

It is also reported that three young Christians, Rehmat Masih, Manzoor Masih and Salamat Masih (the latter only 11 years of age) were arrested for having scrawled defamatory inscriptions on the walls of the Ratta Dhotran village mosque on 9 May 1993 - this despite the fact that two of them are illiterate - and that since then they are thought to have been held at the Gujranmala central prison, in the province of Punjab. These three young people, who were charged under section 295 C of the Penal Code, cannot be released on bail and risk capital punishment. It is also stated that these arrests occurred at a time when there were feelings of hostility and friction between Muslims and members of the Christian minority; the families of the victims were harassed, and a Christian church was attacked. To date, local lawyers have been reluctant to defend the accused.

Lastly, it is alleged that the Hindus, another religious minority in Pakistan, have suffered serious violations of their right to freedom of religion, following the desecration and destruction of the Babri Mosque in India in December 1992. Over 120 Hindu temples and 2 Sikh gurdawaras (places of worship), as well as the same number of homes and shops, were sacked by the crowd. Some 600 families have been the victims of these attacks and scores of deaths have occurred. Furthermore, there has been a resurgence of hostility against the Hindus in Pakistan, who complain of various forms of discrimination, harassment and forced conversions to the Islamic faith.”

20. On 8 February 1994 the Government of Pakistan addressed the following information to the Special Rapporteur:

Report on the state of the case concerning Mr. Gul Masih

1. Gul Masih, a resident of Chak No. 46/NB, Sargodha district, was accused of having made remarks defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet. Sajjad Hussain, the son of Rakim Bakhsh (the complainant), resident of the same village, reported the matter to the Police Station, Satellite Town, Sargodha, and criminal proceedings were therefore brought against Gul Masih under section 295 C of the Penal Code of Pakistan. After investigation by the police, the case was tried by the judge of the Sargodha Court of Additional District and Session. Mr. Gul Masih was found guilty and sentenced to death, and also fined Rs 5,000. However, the death sentence was not confirmed by the High Court. The accused has appealed to the Lahore High Court.

2. It may be mentioned that Gul Masih was convicted by the judge of the Sargodha Court of Additional District and Session after due process of law and in accordance with the provisions of the penal laws of Pakistan. All citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of their religious beliefs, are subject to the same laws and are treated equally in accordance with the laws of the land.”

21. On 14 February 1994, the Government of Pakistan sent the Special Rapporteur its comments on the above-mentioned communication of 8 November 1993 (see para. 19):

“1. The following articles of the Constitution of Pakistan safeguard the interests of the minorities in the country:

Article 20
Subject to law, public order and morality, every citizen shall have the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion and to establish, maintain and manage religious institutions.

Article 21
No person shall be compelled to pay any special tax the proceeds of which are to be spent on the propagation or maintenance of any religion other than this own.

Article 22

(1) No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship if such instruction/ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.

(2) In respect of any religious institution there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or preferential treatment in relation to taxation.

(3) (a) Subject to law, no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instructions for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and

(b) No citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth.

Article 27
No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.

Article 36

The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provisional services.

2. These provisions clearly indicate that the Constitution provides full protection and equal treatment to the minorities and there is no bias, for or against, on the basis of colour, race or religion.

3. The Ahmadiyya issue has a century-old history. The problem arose when a group of persons led by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad denied the finality of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) which, after the unity of God, is a fundamental tenet of Islam. Its denial led to violent agitations against the Ahmadiyya community in 1953 and in 1974. The matter was deliberated upon in the legislature and the consensus of the nation was arrived at in the shape of an amendment in the Constitution through a unanimous vote of the National Assembly in 1974. This amendment had two objectives, viz.:

(a) To safeguard the religious sentiments of Muslims (the overwhelming majority of the population);

(b) To protect the Ahmadis from any adverse reaction arising from what had historically been regarded as a repudiation of a fundamental belief of the Muslims.

4. Undoubtedly, the controversy between the Ahmadis and Muslims continues to be emotive, but strong statements made by individuals in a religious context are not to be taken as the policy of the Government of Pakistan. The complaints and concerns of the Ahmadiyya community are based evidently on presumption rather than fact. The allegation concerning persecution of Ahmadis is totally baseless.

5. The Ahmadis, as a non-Muslim minority, have been accorded all the rights and privileges guaranteed to minorities under the Constitution and laws of Pakistan. The Government has taken the necessary legislative and administrative measures so as to maintain sectarian peace.

6. The exercise of a right is never absolute. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, while proclaiming the freedom of religion or belief in article 18, stipulates in paragraph 3 of the same article that:

Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief may be subjected to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

7. The condition is repeated in paragraph 3 of article 1 of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

8. Ahmadis in Pakistan enjoy full civil rights including the right of political franchise. In Pakistan, a system of separate elections for each religious community has been adopted to ensure that all minorities are represented in the legislatures. The Ahmadis, like other minorities in Pakistan, have full freedom of expression under the law and this is evident from the fact that they have the largest number of publications brought out by any minority in Pakistan.

9. There is no discrimination against them as regards their employment opportunities in Pakistan. Many members of the Ahmadi community hold important positions in the services of Pakistan, both civil and military. Not a single Ahmadi has been removed from government employment on the grounds of his religious beliefs. Anyone familiar with the true situation in Pakistan can bear testimony that there does not exist any plan or campaign, official or otherwise, to persecute the Ahmadi community. Despite that, individual instances do exist, and these are then dealt with in accordance with the law.

10. As regards the mentioning of religion in the national identity cards, no decision has been taken by the Government. This is merely a proposal which has been submitted to the Government for consideration. This proposal has not been accepted and there are no indications that it would be accepted in the future.

11. Blasphemy laws apply equally to all Pakistanis, irrespective of religion. They pertain to all the revealed religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - and their Prophets. At present two persons - a Christian and a Muslim - are facing trial under this law: a Christian for alleged blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad and a Muslim for blasphemy against the Prophet Jesus Christ.

12. The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are not directed against the Christians or any other religious group and are also not in conflict with the fundamental freedoms. The common law reflects the will of the majority of the people. Pakistan being predominantly an Islamic society, it has to be ensured that the persons considered holy by the Muslims are not disgraced in Pakistan. Since the religious beliefs carry emotional attachment with it, in the absence of any law on the subject, the outraged emotional people take the law in their own hands which cannot be allowed at any cost.

13. As for some of the cases mentioned in the communication, Mr. Akhtar Hamid Khan was granted bail before arrest by Chief Justice of Lahore High Court on 14 April 1992, and his case was transferred from the Court of District and Sessions Judge Multan to the Court of District and Sessions Judge Sahiwal, where it is under trial.

14. Tahir Iqbal was admitted in Central Jail, Kot Lakhpat, Lahore on 9 December 1990, as an under trial prisoner in case FIR No. 297/90, dated 7 December 1990, under section 295 B, Pakistan Penal Code, for defiling the Holy Quran. The under trial prisoner died on 20 December 1992, in the Central Jail hospital, Lahore. As required under rule 751 of Pakistan Prison Rules, a Judicial Inquiry was conducted by a Magistrate 1st Class for determining the causes of death in jail. The Medical Officer opined the cause of death of said prisoner as 'cardio-pulmonary arrest'. However, he was of the view that the exact cause of death could not be determined without a post mortem. However, the mother of the deceased did not agree to the post mortem and insisted that the dead body of her son be handed over for burial.

15. Gul Masih, a resident of Chak No. 46/NB, District Sargodha was accused of having used derogatory remarks and defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet. Sajjad Hussain s/o Rahim Bakhsh (complainant) resident of the same village reported the matter to the Police Station, Satellite Town, Sargodha and a Criminal Case under section 259 C, Pakistan Penal Code was therefore registered against accused Gul Masih. After investigation by police, the case was tried by the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Sargodha. Mr. Gul Masih was found guilty and sentenced to death along with a fine of Rs 5,000. However, death sentence was not confirmed by the High Court. Presently his appeal is pending in the Lahore High Court.

16. It may be mentioned that Gul Masih was convicted by the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Sargodha, after due process of law and in accordance with the provisions of the penal laws of the land. All citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of their religious beliefs, are subject to the same law, and are treated equally in accordance with the laws of the land.

17. As for the case of Salamat Masih, Rehmat Masih and Manzoor Masih, as reported by the Punjab Government, Salamat son of Allah Ditta is an accused in Case FIR No. 56/93 U/S 295-C Police Station Ladha, District Gujranwala. Salamat Masih accused along with co-accused M/S Rehmat Masih S/O Nanak Masih and Manzoor S/O Noor Masih were seen writing blasphemous inscriptions on the wall of a mosque in village Ratta Dhotran. The eye-witnesses include the Pesh Imam of the Mosque and two other persons of the locality, one of whom lodged an FIR at the Police Station Ladha. After preliminary investigation, the Police arrested the three accused persons and proceeded in the matter in accordance with the laws of the land. The accused were found guilty during investigation by Police and the case, therefore, was sent up for trial in the Court of Additional District and Session Judge, Gujranwala.

18. All the accused were lodged as under trial prisoners in District Prison Gujranwala under the orders of the trial court. Accused Salamat Masih, a minor, was detained in the juvenile section of the same prison. He was not kept with adults. The accused Salamat Masih has been granted bail in this case by the Court of Session, Gujranwala and was released from jail on 13 November 1993.

19. Brief facts of Niamat Ahmer's case are that on 6 January 1992, at 10 a.m., Razzaq Masih and Hanooke Gil went to the Office of District Education Officer (D.E.O.), People's Colony, Faisalabad to see Niamat Ahmer. Niamat Ahmer and his companions were scheduled to meet the D.E.O. in connection with his transfer. Niamat Ahmer went to use the nearby toilet. After some time his companions heard loud cries. They rushed towards the toilet and saw one Farooq Ahmed, son of Noor Muhammad, caste Sheikh, resident of Chak No. 242/RB, inflicting knife blows upon Niamat Ahmer. The accused along with bloodstained knife was caught by Razzaq Masih and Hanooke Gil. Niamat Ahmer succumbed to his injuries then and there. The motive attributed to the occurrence was that the deceased allegedly used derogatory remarks against the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) during his period of service as a teacher.

20. A murder case was registered at the request of Waqar Ahmer, brother of Niamat Ahmer, resident of 727/F Gulistan Colony, Faisalabad. After the necessary investigation the accused was arraigned on 20 January 1992, and the case is pending trial in court.

21. The above incident was an isolated action of an individual fanatic who is facing trial in the court and the allegations/fears of religious persecution against Christians in Pakistan are unfounded.

22. As Pakistani citizens, members of the Christian community have the right to profess their religion, and to establish, maintain and manage their religious institutions. They also have due representation in the National Assembly. They enjoy full freedom of opinion and expression, as is available to the other citizens of the country and, like all other Pakistanis, they also have the liberty to seek remedy from the courts under article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan. Courts in Pakistan, like in any other democratic country, are free, and cases are decided in accordance with the laws of the land.

23. As regards the allegations of discrimination against Hindus and the destruction of some Hindu temples in Pakistan, it may be pointed out that the charges of discrimination against Hindus or any other minorities are unfounded. The unfortunate incident of destruction of some Hindu temples in Pakistan was the result of a popular backlash that followed in Pakistan after the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in India. The fact that the demolition of Babri Mosque was a pre-planned wilful act has been documented by Mr. Kuldeep Nayyar, a prominent Indian journalist, who in the 8 December 1992 issue of the Nation wrote that 'India's Intelligence Bureau had informed Prime Minister Narasimah Rao, one week in advance that Babri Mosque was going to be demolished but still the Indian Government simply did not do anything to protect the Mosque'.

24. The spontaneous and popular backlash in Pakistan (and in other Islamic countries) was a direct response of emotionally outraged Muslims to the demolition of the Babri Mosque, which in no way was condoned by the Government. In Pakistan, the damage to the Hindu temples was condemned by all religious, political and other leaders of opinion, unlike in India, where political parties like the Bhartia Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena applauded the demolition of the Babri Mosque. Pakistan Government took immediate steps and committed itself to the repair of the damaged temples, work on some of which has already been completed and the other temples are being repaired. As opposed to the immediate action taken by the Government of Pakistan the pledges by the Indian Government to reconstruct the Babri Mosque have yet to be fulfilled.

25. It is reiterated that the Government of Pakistan is fully committed to protect and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities living in Pakistan.”


22. On 21 April 1994, the Special Rapporteur sent all States a note verbale drawing their attention to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/18 and inviting Governments to communicate any new information falling within that mandate, as well as any other observations they might wish to formulate on the subject.

23. The Rapporteur has received replies from the following 19 Governments: Argentina, China, Croatia, Ethiopia, Greece, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden and Venezuela. Given the modest number of replies and the variety of the information, the Special Rapporteur decided to compile the texts in the report by country rather than to present an analytical summary by subject, for which more complete and more specific information from more countries would have been required.

24. Furthermore, in cases of particularly long replies, such as that of the Sudan, given the constraints involved in publication, the Special Rapporteur summarized the information. In addition, when the information concerned States and/or individuals, the Rapporteur decided not to reproduce it, but to treat it confidentially, as an allegation.

25. Most of the replies from Governments referred to Constitutions, relevant laws and regulations, to the right to religion and traditions related to the question of freedom of religion or belief; to legal measures taken to combat intolerance and discrimination in that regard; and to government policies.

26. The information communicated deals primarily with the following subjects:

(a) Protection and promotion of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and related human rights, such as freedom of expression, information, assembly, association and equality before the law;

(b) Protection and promotion of the right to manifest one's religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching; of the right to peaceful assembly and association in connection with a religion or belief; of the right to teach a religion or belief in places suitable for those purposes; and of the right to observe days of rest and to celebrate holidays and ceremonies in accordance with the precepts of one's religion or belief;

(c) Prevention and elimination of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and, in particular, protection against discrimination in the areas of education, access to public posts, employment, the practice of a profession, and marriage;

(d) Legal measures for dealing with offences related to religious beliefs or feelings and protection of the places, ceremonies and traditions linked to religion or belief;

(e) Conscientious objection to military service;

(f) Education, including in particular the religious education of children and adults, and provisions and practices in that field; and

(g) Legal restrictions on the above-mentioned rights.

© Copyright 1997
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland