Rethinking the Independence of Minorities in Pakistan

by Tayyaba Khurshid
Pakistan was created as an Islamic Republic with a demography comprising of both Majority Muslims (96.2%) and Minorities, which include Christians (1.59%), Sikhs, Hindus (1.6%), Ahmadis (0.22%), and others (0.07%). Minorities or others account for almost 3.8 % of the total population, as per the 2017 Census. Celebrating the 76th year of independence, it is essential to analyze the independence of minorities in terms of religious freedom, equal opportunities, and constitutional rights in Pakistan. The father of the Nation had set the ground for the future trajectory of Pakistan in the very beginning when, in his address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, he reiterated, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan.” “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” The constitution of Pakistan also grants equal rights to minorities. Article 20 allows all citizens to practice religion and manage their religious institutions. Article 25 states that all citizens of Pakistan are equal before the law. Article 36 of the Constitution has obliged the state to protect the interests and legitimate rights of minorities in Pakistan, including their fair representation in federal and provincial services. Hence, measures should be taken to implement these laws and create a conducive, non-discriminatory environment for all citizens. Despite Quaid’s direction, laws, and various governments’ initiatives to create inter-faith harmony, incidents of targeting minorities have been on the rise. An unfortunate incident took place this month when all Pakistanis were celebrating Independence Day; an extremist mob targeted the Christian community by vandalizing their churches and burning houses on issues of Blasphemy in Jaranwala, a small town in the industrial district of Faisalabad. In December 2021, his fellow workers killed and burned a Sri Lankan manager. In another incident at the police station in Nankana Sahib, a mob forcefully took a person and killed and dragged his body. In August 2021, when a local court in Rahim Yar Khan District granted bail to an eight-year-old Hindu boy accused of Blasphemy, a mob of extremist people vandalized a Hindu temple. Pakistan’s minorities endure persecution, marginalization, and forced conversions. Misused blasphemy laws have led to violence, including attacks on worship places. Despite equal rights in law, violence is sternly addressed. The recent Jaranwala incident drew widespread condemnation, with the caretaker PM vowing robust action. Law enforcement is pursuing culprits, arresting dozens. While equality is upheld, preventive policies are essential to avert such incidents.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Stay Connected

Follow and subscribe

Contact CISS AJK

Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir