A Pakistani Christian educationist urges Chief Justice of Pakistan to preserve religious freedom of non-Muslims

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Supreme Court of Pakistan

A Pakistani Christian teacher writes a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan urging him to take action against such elements which restrain religious freedom of non-Muslims in Pakistan.

In line with details, Professor Anjum James Paul- Chairman of Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) has written a letter to Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali –Chief Justice of Pakistan insisting him to take steps to preserve the religious freedom of non-Muslims.

This 31 page letter, Ref. No. PMTA/59-71/15 was dated November 16, with a subject “Request to save beliefs and religious freedom of non-Muslim students and teachers”. Anjum James Paul, penned down uncertainties and suggestions relating to this issue along with, letter to Prof. Anjum James Paul, Chairman PMTA from Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, on 19 September 2007 assuring that there are no biases in upcoming text books.

A documentary film “Pakistani Textbooks a Question Mark for Non-Muslims.” A document titled, “Pakistani Textbooks a Threat to the Lives and Beliefs of Non-Muslims,” and birth certificate, marriage certificate of Sana Shahid and copy of an FIR lodged in a police station.

Anjum James Paul also mailed copies of this letter to President to Pakistan – Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister of Pakistan – Mian Nawaz Sharif, State Minister for Education and Professional Training- Baligh ur Rehman, Federal Minister for Law, Justice & Human Rights-Pervaiz Rasheed, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony-Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Chairman Pakistan Hindu Council -Dr. Ramesh Kumar MNA, Archbishop of Lahore- Rt. Rev. Sebastian Shaw, Moderator, National Council of Churches in Pakistan- Rt. Rev. Bishop Samuel Azariah, President Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee- Sardar Sham Singh, Isphanyar Bhandara MNA and Professor Mehtab Yousaf, Bahai Centre, Islamabad.

Also Read: A Pakistani Christian who converted from Islam beaten by two unknown men

Excerpt from the recommendations presented in the letter are as follows:

1. Upcoming Education Policy 2016, Curriculum and Textbooks must be according to the guidelines of UNESCO, Quaid-e- Azam’s Ideology of equal citizenship, Constitution of Pakistan 1973, UDHR, ICRC, ICCPR and Declaration On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Intolerance And Of Discrimination Based On Religion Or Belief.

2. In the presence of National Curriculum Council provinces are not autonomous to design and implement their own curriculum.

3. It is needed to consider non-Muslim educationists as stakeholders of the education system of Pakistan as well who have played vital role in education.

4. Non-Muslim students and teachers must not be harassed through textbooks and educational environment.

5. It is utmost need to introduce two new subjects in the scheme of studies, the subjects of “Human Rights” and “Study of Religions” as compulsory subjects.

6. All sorts of biases against non-Islamic religions and non-Muslims must be addressed immediately from the Education Policy, Curriculum and Textbooks.

7. For the completion of 20 points agenda of National Action Plan 2014 strict action must be taken against those printers and publishers who publish material that promotes hate and extremism against non-Muslims.

8. There must not be imposition of beliefs and customs of any religion by any means on the students which they do not follow.

9. Appropriate arrangements must be made for the protection of the lives and beliefs of non-Muslim students and teachers.

10. “Religious Education” must be at home otherwise arrangements for the subject of “Religious Education” and teachers must be made for non-Muslim students as well.

11. It is utmost need to define the status of non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan and their religions in the textbooks.

12. It is needed to promote sense of ownership of all our national heroes of Pakistan in the textbooks.

13. 20 privileged marks must be awarded to non-Muslim students as well so that they may also be able to get admission and concession of fees in higher educational institutions.

14. Five percent quota must be reserved for non-Muslim students in all the general and professional institutions for admission.

15. All the nationalized schools and colleges in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh must be denationalized immediately and handed over to the owners which were nationalized in 1972.

16. Word “Masih”, “Masihi” or “Masihiat” should be used in all written or spoken form instead of “Esa”, “Esai” or “Esayat” for “Jesus Christ”, “Christian/s” or “Christianity.”

17. While applying for admissions or jobs there is a column of religion in which it is written Muslim/ non-Muslim. There must be a column where one can write one’s religion because non-Muslim is not a religion in any sense.