What are the rights of Pakistani citizens

ASIA / PAKISTAN - Cardinal Coutts: "The law is the same for all Pakistani citizens: It's about human rights, not about religion"

Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - “We are citizens of Pakistan and the law is the same for all Pakistani citizens. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure justice for its citizens. The issue of kidnapping, forced conversions and forced marriages should be treated on a human rights basis rather than making it a religious issue. It is the responsibility of the state to offer security, protection and justice to every citizen, regardless of creed, culture, ethnicity or social class, "said Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, at a meeting in the St. Cathedral in Karachi on yesterday, November 19. The participants of the Justitia-et-Pax commission of the archdiocese meeting dealt with the case of Arzoo Raja (see Fides 21/10/2020) and other kidnapped Christian minors, the victims of Child marriages and forced conversions were made.
"I appreciate the work of all our Christian brothers and sisters who are committed to addressing and resolving these cases of kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage of underage girls," said Cardinal Joseph Coutts. "I also appreciate the role and support of civil society, to bring justice to these girls and their families ". The Cardinal added: "I am particularly grateful to Bilawal Zardari for acting in the case of Arzoo Raja. We appreciate the advocacy of the Medical Council, the judiciary, all policymakers and human rights activists in solving the problem" in this context: "There are laws that recognize and punish such crimes. The perpetrators must be punished according to the law of the country: kidnapping someone, forcing them to marry or change religion is a crime that is punishable under the applicable laws ".
The meeting was moderated by Pastor Saleh Diego, Director of the Justitia-et-Pax Commission and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Karachi. There were numerous Catholic priests, pastors of the Protestant churches, Christian lawyers, human rights activists, Catholic lay people and believers of other religions.
In his greeting to the 100 or so participants, Pastor Saleh Diego warned: "We must continue our efforts and work together, but at the same time we must avoid spreading useless rumors and false news about cases of kidnappings, forced conversions and marriages". That would damage actual cases.
"We appreciate everyone who raised their voices on social media platforms, but we hope that these issues are not perceived as religious issues: first we are Pakistani citizens and then we are a religious minority in Pakistan. Actively support security forces and the judiciary in enforcing the law and guaranteeing the rights of all. "
(AG-PA) (Fides 20/11/2020)


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