Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Foreign Office (FO) spokesman, said there are no institutionalised forced conversions in the region, Radio Pakistan reported on Wednesday.
He said that inquiries into the claims of forced conversions found that most of them were “fictitious, politically motivated, or based on our detractors’ mala fide intent to malign Pakistan in the international community,” the study said.
In this regard, Chaudhri cited the Brussels-based EU Disinfo Lab’s findings on an Indian disinformation network operating to discredit countries in conflict with Delhi, especially Pakistan, as an example.
The spokesperson said that there were a few cases of forced conversions by individuals and non-governmental actors. “But there is no evidence of the involvement of any state institution,” the article quoted him as saying.
The FO announcement comes a day after a report was released by The Associated Press claiming that every year almost 1,000 girls from religious minorities are forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan.
“All state institutions have taken swift action against the perpetrators whenever such a case has been reported. In some instances, the state became a party to the case against the perpetrators in the court, in order to ensure speedy and effective justice,” said the FO spokesperson.
He added that the Constitution provided safeguards for minorities from forced conversions in Pakistan, as well as the legal and administrative system.
“Pakistan’s judiciary has been very vigilant and clear on the promotion and protection of the rights of minorities. Moreover, the media and civil society act as independent monitors in cases concerning the violation of minorities’ rights,” the spokesperson added, adding that this helped to establish a culture of openness and transparency.
People from minority groups are equal citizens of Pakistan and are free to practise their religions and to promote them, he said.
“There are many contributions by minorities to our society and we are proud of them,” said Chaudhri.
He said the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to improve the structure for the security of minorities in Pakistan was expressed in the speeches of Prime Minister Imran Khan, including his first address to the nation since he became premier.
In addition, because of his clear status, the prime minister has taken a leading role in the international arena on freedom of worship, the spokesman added.
The National Commission for Minorities was also formed in the country and is completely functional and autonomous,”The National Commission for Minorities has also been set up in the country and is fully functional and independent,”
Chaudhri said the government will continue to take legal and regulatory action and implement measures to discourage abuses of the rights of minorities. “The foundations of the state of Pakistan are firmly laid down by Quaid-i-Azam and reflected in our Constitution,” he said.