LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed outrage at the statement made by a parliamentarian from the ruling party in the National Assembly, targeting and calling for discriminatory actions to be taken against a religious minority group.A statement issued by the commission on Thursday said, “The HRCP condemns in the strongest possible terms the targeting of any Pakistani religious minority group and any call for discriminatory behavior against any such group at a public forum. The parliamentarian’s tirade in the National Assembly on October 10 targeted Ahmadis.”It said that the Ahmadiyya community was already the most persecuted religious minority group in Pakistan. Furthermore, the use of the National Assembly floor to advocate discrimination, hatred and exclusion for citizens in this manner was deplorable, it added.“The parliamentarian from the ruling party accused the faith group of acting against Pakistan’s interests and labeling them a threat to the country, its Constitution and ideology. He made demands, among others, that there should be a prohibition on the recruitment of Ahmadis into the armed forces and national institutions such as the Atomic Energy Commission of Pakistan. He also said that they would not stand for the Physics department at the Quaid-e-Azam University to be named after Nobel Laureate Dr Abdus Salam, because he was an Ahmadi.”The commission said it was an extremely disappointing trend in a country where one “does not have to look far for methods of intimidation and discriminatory behaviour” against religious minority groups.“It is also a bad omen for Pakistan’s beleaguered democracy if members of political parties are able to express such intolerant and politically incorrect views at a public forum with such impunity. It is regrettable that no political party or attending parliamentarian condemned this parliamentarian as he made his speech.”It said that Pakistan’s national and international human rights obligations did not support such vehement and uncalled for disregard of the human rights of any of its citizens, irrespective of their religion, caste or creed. “The government must ensure that such hate speech does not go uninvestigated and uncondemned at the highest level. This is vital in order to send a clear message that it will not allow such things to go unpunished.” Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.