Religious minorities feel left out of social, cultural mainstream: survey

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SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Survey respondents complain about lack of effective protection accorded by the state against violence, intimidation and intolerance

The religious minorities of Pakistan believe that they are not part of the country’s larger social and cultural mainstream, a survey conducted by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies found.

The survey report was aimed at understanding the lives of religious minorities and their interaction with other communities in Pakistan through 327 respondents, belonging to Christian, Hindu, Baha’i and Sikh communities selected from all over Pakistan.

While a big majority of survey respondents (89 per cent) believed they are not part of the larger social and cultural mainstream, almost the same number of respondents said that they participated freely in cultural and religious festivals along with followers of other religions and 63 per cent of total respondents said their interaction with followers of other faiths was interactive and positive. Moreover, most respondents (65 per cent) said that they did not experience any problem in business and other transactions with other religions communities.

The survey findings also revealed that discrimination against minorities is connected with overall inequality and government inattention. Over 79 per cent of respondents said that they did not face any particular security or terrorism-related threats and that these threats are of same intensity for all communities. When asked if they faced any particular social, economic or political problems which followers of other religions in their neighbourhood did not face, 55 per cent said ‘no’.

Most of the respondents complained about the lack of effective protection accorded by the state against violence, intimidation and intolerance. At the same time, 62 per cent of respondents said that they did not face faith-based persecution from the society. Meanwhile about 44 percent of respondents were of the view that the laws of the state were discriminatory towards certain minority groups.

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