WASHINGTON, June 10, 2014 — The Pakistani government has proven yet again that they lack the capacity to protect their own citizens.
Militants from the group Sipah-e-Sahaba, also known as Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat, attacked and killed a member of the Shia community on May 31, 2014. Ali Raza, described as a prominent Shia Muslim in Karachi, was the custodian of Imambargah Moosa Kazim, which is located in the Ferozabad area of Khalid Bin Waleed Road of the city.
Sipah-e-Sahaba murdered Ali Raza with an axe for the crime of being a Shia Muslim. The murder of this man, solely on the basis of his religious affiliation, is intolerable.
Moreover, this incident is just the latest in a series of crimes toward Pakistan’s Shia community which have prompted little to no response from the government. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person”. It is the obligation of governments to ensure this most basic right is being fulfilled, but here we see that these rights are only granted to certain groups in Pakistan.
Despite repeated acts of violence against Pakistan’s Shia population, the United States has yet to add Pakistan to its Countries of Particular Concern for violations of religious freedom. Both Shia Rights Watch and the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom have requested that the United States Department of State would add Pakistan to this list.
Shia Rights Watch wholly condemns the actions taken by these militants and the inaction of the Pakistani government as a violation of the rights of Pakistan’s Shia population. Shia Muslim’s compose approximately one third of Pakistan’s population of 180 million people.
The international community must call on the Pakistani government and demand that they fulfill the promise they made to each of the people living within its borders when they signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.