South Asia
European Parliament warns of cutting all 'subsidies' if Pakistan fails to prevent persecution of 'religious minority'

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 02 May 2019

European Parliament warns of cutting all 'subsidies'  if Pakistan fails to prevent persecution of 'religious minority'
Islamabad, May 2: In a strong reprimand against 'persecution of religious minorities' in Muslim-majority Pakistan, the European Parliament has warned that it would suspend all subsidies and trade preferences to the country in case it failed to take measures to "dismantle" its "discriminatory system”.

Members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to Pakistan PM Imran Khan and said: "Over the last few years, religious extremist groups, often with the support of the Pakistani State, have grown in influence, further generating religious prejudices against minorities. Concomitantly, instances of attacks against minorities, their places of worship etc. have also increased year upon year."


In the letter, the Members of the European Parliament criticized Pakistan and its establishment for falsely accusing and targeting individuals under the blasphemy law. They specifically cited the internationally condemned case of  Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who had been falsely charged, harassed and sentenced to death row due to the country’s Blasphemy Laws.


The letter has been endorsed by fifty-one members of the European Parliament.


They  held the previous and even the current governments as being responsible to contribute to implementing discriminatory systems that have resulted in political, economic and social persecution of religious minorities, which have encouraged acts of violence against them by radical Islamic groups.


The letter further said: "As members of the European Parliament, we would wish to remind the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that the oppression of religious minorities violated the United Nations treaty on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is the foundation for the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a binding UN human rights agreement."


"We would be compelled to suspend all subsidies and trade preferences until the effective implementation of the Convention could be assured by the Government of Pakistan," it said warning the government of the south Asian country.


The letter highlighted that today’s Pakistan is far removed from being the country that its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had envisaged when he had insisted that Pakistan would be a Muslim majority State where people from all religions, whether Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmadis or Shias, would be treated equally.


Masood Azhar factor and US:


The letter was directed to Pakistan at a time when the United Nation Security Council (UNSC)  finally designated Jaish-e-Mohammed [JeM] chief and notorious terrorist Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China finally lifted its technical hold to blacklist him under the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee.


The designation of Azhar as global terrorist by UN's Security Council means all his assets and finances will be frozen.


Besides India, the US, UK and France had also put pressure on China to change its stand, leading to the move finally.


These countries had recently pushed a fresh proposal on the matter.


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the measure as a  "victory for American diplomacy".

Pakistan, which had strongly prevented a ban against Masood Azhar, has been accused of shielding terror mastermind on several occasions. However, the fresh UN listing changes the picture altogether as Pakistan will have to immediately enforce the UN sanctions on Azhar.

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