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Pakistan: PILER condemns killing of brick kiln workers in Kot Radha Kishan

5 November 2014

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PILER condemns killing of brick kiln workers in Kot Radha Kishan

KARACHI, Nov. 5: Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research has vehemently condemned the brutal killing and then burning of bodies of Shahzad and Shama, the worker couple in Kot Radha Kishan Punjab.

In a statement here Wednesday, the PILER Chief Executive Karamat Ali demanded the provincial government of Punjab to arrest the owner and other responsible staff and try them in Anti-Terrorism court.

In a recent addition to the rapidly rising list of attacks on religious minorities, the Christian couple was reported to be beaten and their bodies were put in a burning brick kiln in Kot Radha Kishan area of Punjab on November 4. The couple was alleged of desecrating the Holy Quran however some news reports contradicted the allegation by claiming that there was some dispute between the couple and the kiln owner.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also reported rise in attacks against minorities groups during the last year and mentioned 2013 as one of the darkest years for the Christian community in Pakistan. Attacks on churches, Christian populations and forced conversions are some of the highlights of the year.

The case of Kot Radha kishan appears to be another outcome of blasphemy law, which has already resulted in many innocent deaths in the past. Any call for the review of this law has always been replied with threats, attacks and at most, death. None of the governments had a courage to revisit this law. Salman Taseer, former Governor of Punjab (2008-2011), had labeled the blasphemy law as ‘black law’ and soon after, he was killed by his own gunmen. The killer is now behind tge bars but was reported to have been inciting the fellow prisoners and even those on duty to kill the blasphemy convicts in the jail. Despite a number of reports which appeared in media recently, no action was taken by the jail authorities or the government of Punjab.

Supreme Court of Pakistan, in its recent landmark verdict in a suo motu case has directed government to form a National Council for minorities’ rights with the mandate to tailor policy recommendations for safeguarding and protecting minorities’ rights. Also following the kidnappings of Hindu community members in Sindh, National Assembly had agreed to form a fact-finding committee on attacks against minorities. Any progress on both the mentioned reports never appeared anywhere.