Pakistan: New court orders people to declare their religion on all official documents undermining religious minorities rights

Rights activists in Pakistan expressed concern over a court ruling that would require people to declare their religion on all official documents, saying it could lead to the persecution of minorities.

The Islamabad High Court ruling on Friday also requires that citizens take a religious oath upon joining the civil service, armed forces or judiciary. Zohra Yusuf, a board member at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, called the ruling “very dangerous.” She said her group would issue a statement in the coming days.

“Citizens applying for jobs in state institutions must take an oath which ensures compliance with the definition of Muslim and non-Muslim provided in the Constitution,” Judge Siddiqui said the short order.

The European Union has already expressed its concern over the respect of religious minorities in Pakistan. Jan Figel, the special envoy of EU for the promotion of religious freedom around the world, in his recent visit to Pakistan communicated to the Pakistani government that the future continuity of Pakistan as trade partner of the European Union will be directly linked to the positive outcome of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy since 2010.