A 10-member minority delegation comprised of Mr. Samuel Payra (Chairman Implementation Minority Rights Forum); Rt. Rev. Bishop Fredrick John (Bishop of Karachi & Balochistan); Mr. Manzoor Masih (Member National Commission for Human Rights); Mr. Bakhtawar Shah (Kalash Community); Mr. Tariq Chaman; Mr. Sarwan Kumar Bheel (Hindu Community); Sardar Inder Jeet Singh (Member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Community); Mr. Kashif Namet (Advocate High Court Lahore); Ms. Sonia Riasat (Human Rights Activist, Azad Kashmir) and Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle (One-Man Commission on Minorities Rights at Supreme Court of Pakistan) called on the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial, at the Supreme Court, Islamabad today on 10.08.2022.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan welcomed the delegates and appreciated the contributions of the minority communities towards inter-faith harmony in Pakistan. He also greeted them on the occasion of the National Minority Day scheduled for 11.08.2022. His lordship briefed the delegation about the fundamental rights enjoyed by the minority communities under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973; particularly Article 20 which guarantees every citizen the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion. He added that the Superior Courts of Pakistan being the custodian of the Constitution and thereby the fundamental rights of the people have always been cognizant of the rights of the minorities and have delivered judgments to enforce their rights and address the issues faced by them. He noted that recently the Supreme Court took notice of the attack on the ‘Teri Mandar’ at Karak and directed the Provincial Government to recover the costs of restoring and reconstructing the Mandar from the miscreants involved in its desecration.
The delegation expressed their appreciation to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan for sparing time to meet them. They also shared the problems faced by minority communities in the enforcement of their fundamental rights. The one-man Minority Commission constituted by the Supreme Court emphasised that the challenges faced by the minority communities can only be overcome if the recommendations of the Supreme Court in S.M.C. No.1 of 2014 (PLD 2014 SC 699) are implemented in letter and spirit by the Federal and Provincial Governments.
At the end of the meeting, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan assured the delegation of the Court’s commitment to safeguard the constitutional rights of the minority communities. The delegation and the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan then exchanged souvenirs as a token of goodwill.