By Martin Roth, BosNewsLife Senior Correspondent
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- Less than twoweeks after suicide bombers murdered 18 worshippers at two churches in Lahore, Pakistan, the country’s Ecumenical Commission for Human Development has issued its initial report on the atrocity saying it underscores "growing intolerance" towards minority groups.
“Recent years…have witnessed an environment of growing intolerance, vigilantism and impunity against various groups, endorsed by the state and sanctioned by the society," the Commission said in a report obtained by BosNewsLife.
"As a result, these divisions have developed into fault lines, threatening the very existence of the country. And within this atmosphere rife with violent extremism, the religious minorities in the country continue to be on the frontline of persecution.”
Among a series of recommendations it said Pakistan's government should take "strict action"
against the Taliban-linked Jamaat-ul-Ahrar group, who claimed responsibility for the twin bombings and "all suspected person who are involved in these deadly blasts".
Additionally authorities must prosecute "the stone-hearted persons who lynched the two suspected militants by conducting a fair and effective investigation to ensure justice," the Commission said.
CONSTITUTION PROTECTION URGED
It also urged the government to implement Article 36 of the Constitution "regarding the protection and security of religious minorities in the country".
Among other recommendations it said the government should:
-- Ban the misuse of speakers to religious places that is done to incite the religious sentiments of one religion against other religion and sects and ban "the utterance of hatred speech against any other religion and sects."
-- Prohibit the increasing trend of mob violence undertaken to violate the rule of law and harm the religious minorities and other weaker groups in the country.
-- Ensure the protection and security of religious minorities, their places of worship and associated institutions and also compensate the families of martyrs and injured according to the rules.
The Commission wants Pakistan's leadership to "take an initiative for peace and interfaith harmony between the majority and minority communities in the country."
Pakistan's Ecumenical Commission for Human Development is an independent Christian agency committed "to the development of marginalized communities" in this heavily Islamic nation.