LAHORE - The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed serious alarm over the recent spike in incidents of violence and intolerance against vulnerable groups across the country and said that failure to address intolerance was contributing to the aggravation.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: "HRCP is extremely concerned because of a perceptible increase in instances of violence and intolerance towards vulnerable groups in recent days.
A Shia advertising professional and his young son have been killed in Karachi; the ever-peaceful Bohris have been targeted in the port city; Shias coming back from a pilgrimage in Iran have been killed in Balochistan; and a young Ahmadi shopkeeper has been murdered in Karachi.
A church has also been burned and homes of Christians attacked and looted in Mardan. It is a matter of unmitigated concern that effective measures to check unbridled streaks of violence and intolerance remain absent.
"Incidents such as these have no place in a civilized and pluralistic society. HRCP reiterates that past policies and patronage given to coldblooded killers and mischief makers have landed us in this quagmire and nothing short of a similar single-mindedness of purpose is required if we want to undo the damage.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, HRCP urges the government to stop pandering to the extremists and trying to appease them, as was seen during the protests last Friday.
It must realise and respond to the immediate need to deal with the extremists. Unless the government moves to address the mushrooming intolerance and violence on priority in consultation with and support of the intelligentsia, moderate religious leaders, NGOs, the media, and the youth, Pakistan will become an intolerable country to live in for most citizens. At stake is nothing less than the very survival of the state."