Lahore Convention observing “Religious Diversity of Pakistan” was held on 10th August 2017 on the event of the National Minorities’ Day.
The members of the Lahore Convention valued the assignment of 11th August as National Minorities’ Day by the administration of Pakistan, which symbolizes the vision displayed by the establishing father of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his inaugural deliver to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on the eleventh of August 1947.
Reviewing the goal of multi-religious conjunction reflected in the national banner and the guarantees in Lahore Resolution of 1940 that spells out the requirement for “satisfactory, powerful and compulsory shields for insurance of rights and enthusiasm of minorities”, the incorporation of minorities in the national standard in all levels of administration and basic leadership was accentuated.
Recognizing that the central rights articulated in the Constitution of Pakistan and certifiable measures presented by the Federal and Provincial governments to ensure privileges of religious minorities, consideration was conveyed to the current difficulties and also the route forward.
The members of the tradition swore to work with political partners for upgrading regard for human rights and advancing a tranquil concurrence.
Speaking to the religious decent variety of Pakistan and diverse shades of sentiment, the members of the tradition consistently emphasize that the message in the Quaid-e-Azam’s discourse should be embraced as controlling report for laws and arrangements in the nation.
A Resolution was passed by all members requesting the accompanying:
1. Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech on 11 August 1947 must be included in the constitution of Pakistan to accord this speech a statutory status.
2. A law should be passed that provides a definition, grounds for prosecution and punishment for acts of discrimination, particularly on the basis of religion and belief, in order to give effect to freedoms and equality guaranteed in articles 20 and 25 of the constitution.
3. Provisions in the constitution of Pakistan that are incompatible with fundamental rights given in the constitution should be amended to remove conceptual inconsistencies about equality of rights among citizens.
4. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan delivered on 19 June 2014 should be implemented in letter and spirit, particularly the following measures to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court need to be implemented without further delay:
i. A policy, strategy and plan of action to promote religious and social tolerance, must be introduced.
ii. The education policy and textbooks for educational institutions must be reviewed to remove discriminations based on religion and to make formal education an instrument of promoting diversity and social harmony.
iii. A regulatory body must be instituted through enactment for proper implementation of job quota reserved for religious minorities. This authority should be equipped with required powers, resources and procedures for a referral and redressal mechanism against any grievances.
iv. An autonomous and independent statutory National Council for Minorities must be constituted with a mandate to monitor the implementation of rights of minorities, to oversee policies and give advice on policy matters.
v. Committees at federal and provincial levels must be set up to ensure effective implementation of the aforementioned judgment.
5. The Christian Marriage and Divorce Acts should be amended to make them comply with human rights standards. Moreover, a common civil code for marriages in communities such as; Baha’is, Parsis and Kalash should be enacted to regulate their matrimonial affairs.
6. The students belonging to minority religions should be allowed to study their respective religions as alternative to Islamiat, moreover reserved quota should be introduced for admission in education institutions for the students belonging to religious minorities.
7. An empowered implementation committee should be set up to give effect to the recommendation of the Judicial Inquiry of the incident of Gojra in 2009.
The Convention was addressed by:
Dr. Muhammad Farooq Sattar, MNA, Convener Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan
Qamar Zaman Kaira, MNA, President Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Punjab
Asiya Nasir, MNA, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam,
Dwindle Jacob-Executive Director-Center for Social Justice,
Romana Bashir-Executive Director-Peace and Development Foundation
Wajahat Masood-Chairperson, Center for Social Justice,
Shunila Ruth, MPA, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf,
Tariq Gill MPA, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs,
Kanji Ram, MPA–Punjab, Coordinator Minorities Advisory Council,
Equity (R) Nasira Javed Iqbal,
Imtiaz Alam, Senior Analyst,
Minister Irfan Jamil,
Father Bonnie Mendes
Kishwar Awan, Member of NCHR-Punjab,
The Lahore Convention was composed by The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) and Peace and Development Foundation (PDF) as a team with The Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF), National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), Peaceful Pakistan, and Bytes for All (B4A).