Action Plan Against Religious Persecution


Government of Pakistan

Ministry of Human Rights


Draft Action Plan against Religious Persecution:

National Action Plan Point No.09




In the aftermath of the attack on Army Public School, Peshawar in December 2014, a consensus was reached amongst all political stakeholders to work towards a solution for countering terrorism through a concerted national effort. A 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) for countering terrorism and extremism was created by NACTA (National Counter Terrorism Authority) / Ministry of Interior in consultation with relevant stakeholders, and was approved on the 24th of December 2014. The National Action Plan spells out specific steps for countering terrorism in Pakistan. It also included the protection of religious minorities in point no. 9, “taking effective steps against religious persecution.”

In the first meeting of the National Internal Security Committee, held in March 2019, the expert working group on point 9 of the NAP was approved and formed under the chair of the Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights. The expert group is mandated to formulate an Action Plan with timelines and responsibilities including institutional mechanisms for implementation and monitoring with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Moreover, the Ministry of Human Rights has also been proactively engaged on gathering information with respect to the incident in Peshawar Church in 2013 and threats being given to the Kalash tribe and Ismailies in Chitral. This is also in accordance with the direction given by the Supreme Court in coordinating for getting informationon directions given by august Supreme Court in its Suo Moto Action regarding the same. This Judgment has been cited as a landmark judgment on protection of rights of minorities. The Ministry of Human Rights is mandated to promote and protect the rights of all Pakistani citizens, and through its Action Plan for Human Rights, 2016, Thematic Area II, has also committed itself to the protection of the rights of minorities.


Expert Working Group on preparation of Action Plan against Religious Persecution:

The Expert Working Group on Point No. 9 of NAP was established under the chair of the Secretary, Ministry of Human Rights with the approval of National Internal Security Committee for taking effective steps against religious persecution. The expert group was mandated to formulate an Action Plan including actions required with timelines and key responsible stakeholders, institutional mechanisms for implementation and monitoring with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and budgeting.

Composition of Expert Group:


Secretary, Human Rights Division



Ministry of Religious Affairs



Ministry of Interior



Ministry of Law and Justice



National Counter Terrorism Authority



Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Inter-Services Intelligence



Intelligence Bureau



3 Minority Representatives



National Commission for Human Rights Pakistan (NCHR)



Terms of Reference for the Expert Group:

The terms of reference of the expert working group were:

  1. Issues and challenges related to minorities
  2. Data on number of minorities by religion
  3. Fulfilment of quota of minorities in services
  4. Discriminatory laws that need revision and action plan for review and correction
  5. Curriculum reform required for promoting interfaith harmony, respect for others and peaceful coexistence
  6. Projection of minorities role in development of Pakistan
  7. Issue of forced marriages and conversions
  8. Skill development for youth belonging to minorities and engagement plan
  9. Protection of religious places including churches, gurdwara’s, mandir’s, etc of minorities as a state and religious duty/responsibility
  10. Security of minorities particularly during their religious festivals
  11. Any other activity that the expert group may want to reflect in the detailed action plan

The Ministry of Human Rights prepared a matrix of the Action Plan to facilitate the members of the Expert Group, in accordance with the TORs, and circulated among all members before its first consultative meeting. The first expert working group meeting was held on May 30th, 2019, and the Chair, while concluding the session, directed that in the next meeting the following areas may also be focused upon while developing the proposed Action Plan in addition to the TORs above:

  1. Institutional development, complaint mechanisms to deal with religious intolerance.
  2. Developing an inter-ministerial protocol to deal with cases of religious intolerance.
  3. Development of legal parameters in comparison to existing ones to contain religious intolerance.
  4. Developing of redressal mechanisms in comparison to existing ones in order to ensure their effectiveness.
  5. Identification of vulnerable groups within minority communities in order to identify and address their needs.



The working group has held extensive consultative meetings in order to devise an action plan with tangible goals, measurable indicators, and realistic timelines and budgeting for the implementation of the TORs in order to take effective steps against religious persecutions.

  • On March 28th 2019, the National Internal Security Committee, approved the formation of the expert working group on point number 9 of the NAP, taking effective steps against religious persecution, under the chair of the Secretary of the Ministry of Human Rights. The expert group is mandated to formulate an Action Plan with timelines and responsibilities including institutional mechanisms for implementation and monitoring with KPIs and required finances.


  • On May 30th 2019, the expert working group held its first meeting. In this meeting, it was decided that representatives of the provinces be added to the working group; every member to give proposals to incorporate in the given matrix made for the implementation of the action plan/TORs - and will include short, medium and long term proposed actions with key performance indicators; and points raised by the Chair be included in the Action Plan.
  • On June 26th and July 10th, 2019, the second and third consultative sessions/ meetings of the working group were held (including provincial governments’ participation) in which the members extensively and comprehensively examined the matrix and through a consensus provided inputs to formulate action plan on the given format/matrix. The matrix includes: the action required, the appropriate steps which need to be taken, which ministry/department shall take the lead role, implementing partners, indicative timeline, cost and KPIs.

Proposed Action Plan against Religious Persecution:

Currently, there are 1.63% Hindus, 1.5% Christians, 0.2% Ahmadi, and .31% other minority groups in Pakistan. They mainly face multiple socio-economic hurdles (unemployment, poverty, lack of education, discrimination etc.) and are often targets of physical and verbal assault. The Hindu mainly faces issues of forced conversion and subsequently forced marriages; the Christian and Ahmadi face charges of blasphemy which more than often is based on personal disputes. Worshippers sometimes fear attending their places of worship due to attacks by terrorists.

The proposed Action Plan against Religious Persecution outlines a concerted effort to be taken up with multiple stakeholders in order to safeguard and promote religious minorities so that they are better able to contribute in peace and development of the country, become a part of Pakistan’s mainstreams social fabric and be without fear in Pakistan. These efforts include but are not limited to:

  • Targeted awareness raising and sensitization media campaigns and trainings on the contribution of religious minorities in Pakistan, interfaith harmony, the rights of minorities outlined in the Constitution and in the teachings of Islam, and the responsibility of the Muslims in protecting the rights of minorities, amongst others
  • Review and revision of education curricula at all levels in order to create a peaceful and inclusive society by educating students on rights of religious minorities in the Constitution, Islam and UN provisions and the removal of any content that promotes hatred against a specific group and is harmful
  • Creation of an endowment fund for scholarships for students and other initiatives for skill development
  • Strengthening district level Interfaith Harmony Committees
  • Creation of a complaint and redressal mechanism
  • Review of and propose amendments for discriminatory laws
  • Creation of National Commission on Interfaith Harmony
  • Protection of places of worship


The Action Plan against Religious Persecution envisages 26 required Actions at both federal and provincial level for implementation in collaboration with Federal Ministries and Provincial Departments during 3-5 years of time. An estimated cost of Rs. 476.0 million has been proposed to put in place awareness/communication campaigns for behavioral change, review and revision of existing legal framework, and curriculum and teachers’ sensitization programs, institutional mechanisms for complaints redress, establishment of Fund for welfare, protection and rehabilitation of minorities etc.

For proactive role, periodical review and monitoring progress on implementation of the Action Plan, the existing Expert Group on NAP Point no. 9 would continue its working through establishing National Implementation Committee on Action Plan under the Chair of Federal Secretary Minister for Human Rights has been envisaged. Similarly, the Provincial Implementation Committees on Action Plan have been proposed to establish under the Chair of Provincial Secretaries dealing with the subjects of minorities’ affairs, for monitoring progress of the Plan at provincial level.