CLAAS-UK a Christian legal and charity group has expressed great concerns over a legislation passed by the Punjab Assembly according to which teachings of Holy Quran were compulsory for every student in all schools and colleges across Punjab. A new bill, Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill 2017 was passed by the provincial assembly on May 4, Friday.
The Punjab Assembly passed this bill unanimously, while already the National Assembly and the Senate had already given a green signal to compulsory teaching of Holy Quran bill in 2017. This bill makes it compulsory for all students of grade one to five to recite Quran in Arabic, while all students in grade six and above are required to recite the Holy Quran with its translation.
Raising grave concerns over this matter, CLAAS-UK has stated that the rights of religious minorities will be violated. Remarking about the situation, Director of CLAAS-UK Mr. Nasir Saeed stated: “It is sad that for minorities, especially Christians who are living in large numbers in Punjab, their religious and fundamental rights are totally ignored.
He continued that the provincial government did not announce alternate for minorities’ students. “No alternative programme has been announced for non-Muslim students of Punjab”, he said while adding that this step will fan religious intolerance. “It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise.”
This bill was tabled by MPA Dr. Waseem Akhtar, from Jamaat-e-Islami on January 30, earlier this year. During the 34th session of the Punjab Assembly he introduced the ‘Punjab Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill.’ In line with this bill all government schools and colleges in Punjab provinces will teach Holy Quran to all students as a compulsory subject.