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Apex court directs to officially refer to Christians as ‘Masihi’ instead of ‘Esai’


The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed all the authorities to refer to the Christian community as ‘Masihi’ officially. For this purpose the authorities were directed to make all necessary arrangements in official documents, records etc. to use the word Masihi instead of Esai.

Use of word Masihi for Christians in Pakistan

On May 11, Friday, a two member bench of the apex court issued directions while hearing the petition case filed by a Pakistani Christian Samuel Pyara. This two member bench was chaired by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar himself. Justice Ijaz ul Hassan was the other member of this bench hearing the case number H.R.C.No.20171-B of 2018. Samuel Payara had moved the court regarding use of word ‘Masihi’ for Christians instead of ‘Esai’.

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“It has been complained despite the decision taken by the Council of Islamic Ideology in its 175th meeting held on 28-29th September, 2009 that there was no harm, as per Shariah Injunctions, to refer to the members of Christian community as “Masihi” instead of “Esai”, no steps have been taken by the government in this regard.

Let the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology be implemented in letter and spirit and arrangement should be made in all official records, documents, correspondence etc. to refer to the Christian community as Masihi instead of Esai,” the court order reads.

In 2016, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) also issued orders regarding use of Masihi for Christians instead of Esai, in the column for Religion. In this regard, Christian MPA Shakeel Ivan Khokhar struggled greatly to get this directive officially issued from NADRA. MPA Shakeel Ivan Khokhar, had written a petition to the Director of National Database and Registration Authority Headquarter in Islamabad, seeking official directions regarding the use of word Masihi for Christians in the NADRA forms, data and records.