The International Day for Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief is being celebrated across the world today.
The day however was largely ignored in Pakistani media despite the fact that Pakistan has remained a long-term target of religion based violent extremism and terrorism.
Designated by the United Nations General Assembly in May 2019, the day aims to remember victims as well as survivors of violence based on religion or belief.
United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres tweeted to remind the world that today was the international day for victims of terrorism.
Today is the International Day for Victims of Terrorism.
The trauma from terrorist attacks causes lasting damage to families, communities & nations as a whole.
Let’s do all we can to ensure that victims’ voices are heard, their rights respected, and their recovery supported.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) August 21, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan used the occasion to draw the world attention to Indian atrocities against the people of Kashmir, who he said were under brutal Indian occupation and were deprived of all fundamental rights.
Today, on the 1st International Day for Victims of Violence based on Religion or Belief, we call attention to the plight of millions of Kashmiris living under brutal Indian Occupation, abuse & violence, deprived of all fundamental rights & freedoms.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 22, 2019
Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tweet, online editions of newspapers begin to report on the day. However, the focus remained largely Kashmir centric and the plight of the minorities in Pakistan remained neglected. The News and Pakistan Today remained strictly focused on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message on the day.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in its 2018 report placed Pakistan on its Tier 1 list of countries of particular concerns over alleged curtailment of religious freedoms and persecution of minorities. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo besides hailing the release of Christian blasphemy accused, Aasia Bibi, had said that more than 40 people still served life sentences or faced execution over allegations of blasphemy in Pakistan.
-Feature image courtesy: AFP