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UK must take tough stance on Pakistan's persecution of minorities, says scribe

ANI
·2-min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

London [UK], January 22 (ANI): As incidents of persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan -- particularly abduction and forced conversions of minor girls to Islam -- continue to rise at an alarming rate, London must 'take a stand' and hold Islamabad accountable for the crimes against minorities, said a London-based scribe.

Melanie McDonagh in an article in The Spectator on Wednesday said that it cannot be right to support the Imran Khan-led government "which has presided over the revolting treatment of Christians, Hindus and other religious minorities."

She cited a report by Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP)-- a non-partisan organization for human rights in Pakistan -- which stated that Christian girls -- usually between the ages of 12 and 25 -- are abducted, converted to Islam, and married to the abductor or third party.

"The victim's family usually files a First Information Report (FIR) for abduction or rape with the local police station. The abductor, on behalf of the victim girl, files a counter FIR, accusing the Christian family of harassing the willfully converted and married girl, and for conspiring to convert the girl back to Christianity," the report stated further.

"And that's without even taking the blasphemy laws into consideration, which are a means by which Pakistani authorities hold every member of a religious minority in a state of fear," McDonagh wrote in her article for The Spectator.

"It falls to others to hold Pakistan to account for its treatment of religious minorities. So far one looks in vain for much sign that HM (Her Majesty's -- another name for the UK government) government is doing anything of the sort, though the job of the UK High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner, can't be easy," McDonagh added.

She pointed out that in 2020, the then Department for International Aid planned to spend 302 million British pounds in Pakistan, much of it on education and argued that "all this worthy, well-intentioned work on the basis that whatever good the funding" by the UK government does be scrapped.

"It cannot be right to support a government which has presided over the revolting treatment of Christians, Hindus and other religious minorities, and whose blasphemy laws disgrace a civilised polity," she said.

McDonagh added, "And it is arguable that HMG's chances of exerting influence over Pakistan in respect of its minorities are rather greater than over the second-largest economy on earth (China)."

Pakistan has been repeatedly slammed by the international community for not taking stringent measures to protect its minority communities, despite the country's Prime Minister Imran Khan vowing to protect them on numerous occasions. (ANI)