News / Asia

Attack on Pakistani Minority Condemned

Residents look at a house of a family belonging to the Ahmadi sect, which was torched by angry mob in Gujranwala, Pakistan, July 28, 2014.
Residents look at a house of a family belonging to the Ahmadi sect, which was torched by angry mob in Gujranwala, Pakistan, July 28, 2014.
Ayaz Gul

Human rights groups in and outside Pakistan are condemning as “brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows” a mob assault on a minority Muslim community that left at least three people dead and burned many of their houses. Attacks against minorities have spiked in the country in recent months.

Police in the eastern city of Gujranwala say the violence erupted late Sunday, after claims a member of the minority Ahmadi community had posted blasphemous material on Facebook.

Local police say the dead included a 55-year old woman and her two granddaughters. Several other women and children are reportedly under treatment in a local hospital for “serious burn injuries.”

A spokesman for the Pakistani minority community has rejected the blasphemy allegations as “completely false,” alleging “local police stood by and watched the massacre.” Police have denied the charges.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has condemned the incident as “shocking and disgusting.” It has demanded authorities conduct a thorough probe to find out why police failed to prevent the mob attack.

The commission added that torching women and children in their houses simply because of their faith represents “brutalization and barbarism stooping to new lows.”

Mustafa Qadri of London-based Amnesty International says it demands that those responsible for the “deeply shocking” violence be brought immediately to justice.

“It seems like in this case either the police were unable to or unwilling to protect the community and because of that people died and many people were injured," he said. "And that just demonstrates firstly the failure of the Pakistan state to protect people from these situations, but also the risk of the blasphemy laws to the law and order and social cohesion in Pakistan.”

Rights activist blame among other things the country’s blasphemy laws for growing violence, particularly against Pakistani minorities. They maintain the laws are used indiscriminately against Muslims and non-Muslims and violate the basic human rights of freedom of religion and thought.

Sunday’s attack is said to be the worst violence against Ahmadis in Pakistan since simultaneous extremist raids on their places of worship four years ago killed nearly 90 members of the community.  

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but Pakistan laws declared them non-Muslims in the 1980s, a primary reason observers cite for violent attacks against the community.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More