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The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Separation of Religion or Belief and State

Universal Periodic Review reports in six languages


If reports below blue bar do not open, click to access these reports in the master link above

Universal Periodic Review - Pakistan

Only contributions submitted in one of the United Nations official languages are admissible and posted on this webpage
Date of consideration: Thursday 8 May 2008 - 2.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.

National report 1 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Compilation of UN information 2 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Summary of stakeholders' information 3 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Questions submitted in advance

Outcome of the review :

Report of the Working group :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Addendum 1 :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Decision on the outcome :

E only

Report of the eight session of the Human Rights Council :

A | C | E | F | R | S

Related webcast archives

Flag of Pakistan

Main Country Page: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/PKIndex.aspx

National Report: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/PAGES/PKSession2.aspx

Inter-active Dialoguehttp://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=080508#pm



Resolution A/HRC/16/L.38  


A/HRC/16/L.38 – Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and
discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief,
without a vote by consensus on 24 March 2011.

Pakistan has made a commitment and taken the lead with the sponsorship of this resolution to work on these issues of human rights and freedom of religion or belief.  Given the level of tension and violence in the world today this resolution is a beacon of hope.

Listen to the video introduction of the resolution by Mr. Zamir Akram of Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC) and four video explanations before the vote by Saudi Arabia, Norway, United States of America, and Hungary (on behalf of the European Union). The 10 minute introduction by Pakistan and 2 minute responses by 4 countries before the vote are clear explanations of the importance of this resolution, adopted without a vote by consensus, for human rights and freedom of religion or belief. Click for full video screen in Real Player of speakers in upper right corner.  

Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC) Mr. Zamir Akram  video[English] 10 minutes Saudi Arabia Mr. Ahmed Suleiman Ibrahim Alaquil  video[English] [Arabic] 1 minute Norway Ms. Beate Stirø video[English] 2 minutes
United States of America
Mr. Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe video[English] 5 minutes Hungary (on behalf of the European Union) Mr. András Dékány  video[English] 3 minutes



1. To remove restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and amend legislation that discriminates against persons belonging to minorities (Canada) and effectively protect and satisfy the unimpeded exercise of freedom of religion of non-Muslim citizens (Greece) and the repeal of laws discriminating against non-Muslims, if any (Denmark

Master link to Report of the Working Group




Open the link above and click on Country Visits in the right-hand menu to read the last Special Rapporteur’s report on Pakistan in June, 1995 (E/CN.4/1996/Add.1) and the Pakistan Government follow-up to the Report. Compare this report made fifteen years ago to current National Report of the Government to assess progress in human rights obligations and responsibilities under the Pakistan Universal Periodic Review. 



Shari’ah Law is a respected religious paradigm: Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam



The right of all persons to their own values, cultural identity and core principles based on religion or belief,
separate from the state in tandem with human rights on freedom of religion or belief for the common good.

General Comment 22 on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/9a30112c27d1167cc12563ed004d8f15?Opendocument

The 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief http://www.tandemproject.com/program/81_dec.htm.

A/HRC/16/L.14 – Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Adopted without a vote by Consensus on 24 March 2011.

7. Urges States to step up their efforts to protect and promote freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and to this end:

(a) To ensure that their constitutional and legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief to all without distinction by, inter alia, the provision of access to justice and effective remedies in cases where the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, or the right to freely practice one’s religion, including the right to change one’s religion or belief, is violated;

A/HRC/16/18 - Link to HRC Panel Discussion 14 June 2011. Read page one on the importance of Consensus for human rights and freedom of religion or belief

UN Human Rights Council Panel Discussion - Culture of Tolerance and Peace - 14 June 2011



The Tandem Project C&C Database has an inter-active internet capability for Universal Periodic Reviews by Governments, Community, Village and independent study strategies within countries. This is based on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the eight articles of the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Community Strategies were first proposed during the 1986 International Conference on Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief.



A synthesis between disciplines to activate a holistic approach to the inalienable, indivisible and interrelatedness of human rights and freedom of religion or belief.  Advocates and professionals of each discipline propose programs to contribute to a concrete foundation for human rights and freedom of religion or belief. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of each country is different depending on the constitutions, cultures and ethnicities of the country.  But the need to build a holistic core foundation for human rights and freedom of religion or belief in each country is the same. 

The Tandem Project suggests Pakistan give consideration
to a new holistic approach to integrate these disciplines

Law, Education, Analysis, Development  (LEAD), a human rights strategy to synthesize four  components of the 1986 international conference on  Tolerance for Diversity of Religion or Belief.

1. Law--ways in which efforts can be supported to examine international legal structures; national constitutions, national and local legislation, to make sure there is a legal framework for the Declaration in each nation-state of the U.N; 2. Education--ways in which broadly-based programs of education can be developed at all levels in schools, government, universities, voluntary organizations, and the media; 3. Analysis--ways in which special studies, research, and curricula can be developed in theological seminaries, universities, and colleges to combat and to eliminate intolerance based on religion or belief; 4. Development--ways in which organizations of diverse ideologies may be able to work together on humanitarian service projects in the "name and spirit" of tolerance, with mutual understanding and respect for each other.


I attended a meeting of political scientists who had gathered to discuss why international relations theory had never considered the role of religion in society. Given the state of the world today, this is a significant oversight. There can be no adequate understanding of the most important issues we face when disciplines are cloistered from one another and operate on their own premises. It would be far more effective to bring together people working on questions of religion, politics, history, economics, anthropology, sociology, literature, art, religion and philosophy to engage in comparative analysis of common problems.  – New York Times Op-Ed: April 27, 2009, Mark C. Taylor, Chairman of the Religion Department, Columbia University, New York.

Indicators to measure inclusive and genuine awareness and understanding of International Human Rights Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief.




Lesson: Limitations to Manifest a Religion or Belief: http://www.tandemproject.com/part2/article1/art1_3.htm

Lesson: Discrimination by the State, Institutions, Groups, Person: http://www.tandemproject.com/part2/article2/art2_1.htm

Lesson: Concept & Method: Freedom of Religion or Belief http://www.tandemproject.com/part1/concepts_methods/concepts_methods.htm

Reply: Inter-active C&C Database for text box reply to Eight Article Internet Course Lessons: http://www.tandemproject.com/databases/forms/card.htm


U.S. State Department 2010 International Religious Freedom Report, Pakistan

Read the complete report by clicking on this link


Excerpts from the Report

Improvements and Positive Developments in Respect for Religious Freedom

The government took steps to bolster religious freedom during the reporting period.

As part of the 18th Amendment, the government allocated four reserved seats for religious minorities, one from each province, in the senate. Minority groups welcomed the move.

Minority prisoners were given places to worship inside jails, and the government provided additional security to minorities as they observed and celebrated their holy days.

After the attacks on Christians in Gojra and Korian in July and August 2009, the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Minorities formed a subcommittee specifically to review blasphemy laws and prepare recommendations for changes. The subcommittee, headed by MNA Nafisa Shah, held several consultations with representatives of religious minorities and human rights activists and discussed options on how the damaging effects of the blasphemy laws could be eliminated.

During the reporting period Sindh provincial police freed over 1,500 bonded laborers, a majority of whom were Hindu.

According to ICC, on June 2, 2010, police freed a family of Christian brick kiln workers in Raiwind, who had been held captive for a year. ICC reported that Muhammad Nawaz , the Muslim owner, held hostage Asghar Masih, Rehana Bibi, and their three children at a brick kiln . According to ICC Nawaz raped Rehana and her eldest daughter repeatedly, tortured and chained the victims to prevent their escape, and that Asghar escaped and informed Pakistani officials. The police then raided the brick kiln, freed the victims, and arrested Nawaz.

In April 2010 President Ali Asif Zardari announced the establishment of a "hotline" in the Ministry for Minorities Affairs for direct reporting of the most serious cases of violence against religious minorities in the country. The hotline has an extension to the president for emergency calls from members of the minority community subjected to violence.

At a Christmas dinner in December 2009, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced the allotment of housing plots for 500 Christian slum dwellers who had been evicted from Chak Shahzad and had been living without housing in Islamabad. At the same occasion, he announced that Christians would be called "Masihi," followers of the Messiah, as they requested.

The government continued to celebrate 10 religious festivals of minority groups at the national level. Also, the Minister for Minority Affairs, religious institutions, and nongovernmental organizations continued to organize interfaith meetings and dialogue sessions in an attempt to reduce violence against minority communities. Ahmadis refused to participate in events organized by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, as they consider themselves to be a Muslim sect.

Legal/Policy Framework

The constitution establishes Islam as the state religion. It also declares that adequate provisions shall be made for minorities to profess and practice their religious beliefs freely; however, the government imposes limits on freedom of religion, particularly on Ahmadis.

Religious parties opposed any amendments to the constitution affecting its Islamic clauses, especially the ones relating to Ahmadis. In April 2010 the 18th Amendment to the constitution was passed without amending constitutional clauses affecting minorities, including blasphemy and Ahmadi-specific laws.

Freedom of speech was subject to "reasonable" restrictions in the interest of the "glory of Islam," as stipulated in sections 295(a), (b), and (c) of the penal code. The consequences for contravening the country's blasphemy laws were death for defiling Islam or its prophets; life imprisonment for defiling, damaging, or desecrating the Qur'an; and 10 years' imprisonment for insulting "another's religious feelings." Some individuals brought charges under these laws to settle personal scores or to intimidate vulnerable Muslims, sectarian opponents, and religious minorities. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), any action, including speech, intended to incite religious hatred was punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment. In cases in which a minority group claimed its religious feelings were insulted, the blasphemy laws were rarely enforced, and cases were rarely brought to the legal system. A 2005 law required that a senior police official investigate any blasphemy charge before a complaint was filed. This law was not uniformly enforced.

Laws prohibiting blasphemy continued to be used against Christians, Ahmadis, and members of other religious groups, including Muslims. Lower courts often did not require adequate evidence in blasphemy cases, which led to some accused and convicted persons spending years in jail before higher courts eventually overturned their convictions or ordered them freed. Original trial courts usually denied bail in blasphemy cases, claiming that because defendants could face the death penalty, they were likely to flee; however, the state has never executed anyone under the blasphemy laws. Many defendants appealed the denial of bail, but bail often was not granted in advance of the trial. Lower courts frequently delayed decisions, experienced intimidation, and refused bail for fear of reprisal from extremist elements.

The penal code incorporates a number of Islamic law (Shari'a) provisions. The judicial system encompasses several different court systems with overlapping and sometimes competing jurisdictions that reflect differences in civil, criminal, and Islamic jurisprudence. The Federal Shariat Court and the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court served as appellate courts for certain convictions in criminal court under the Hudood Ordinance, which criminalizes rape, extramarital sex, property crimes, alcohol, and gambling; judges and attorneys in these courts must be Muslim. A 2005 Supreme Court ruling allows the full Supreme Court to bypass the Shari'a bench and assume jurisdiction in such appellate cases in its own right and prohibits the Federal Shariat Court from reviewing decisions of the provincial high courts. The Federal Shariat Court may overturn legislation it judges inconsistent with Islamic tenets, but such cases can be appealed to the Shari'a bench of the Supreme Court and ultimately may be heard by the full Supreme Court. The Federal Shariat Court applies to Muslims and non-Muslims, such as in cases relating to Hudood laws. Non-Muslims were allowed to consult the Federal Shariat Court in matters which affected them or violated their rights.

The Tandem Project a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1986 to build understanding, tolerance, and respect for diversity of religion or belief, and to prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference material and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights- Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion – and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

In 1968 the United Nations deferred work on a legally-binding treaty on religious intolerance as too complex and sensitive and passed a non-binding declaration in its place. The Tandem Project believes until a core legally-binding human rights Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief  is adopted international human rights law will be incomplete. It may be time to begin to consider reinstating the 1968 Working Group to better organize and bring all matters relating to freedom of religion or belief under one banner, a core international human rights legally-binding treaty.