Prominent Pakistani educationist Anjum James Paul, Chief of Pakistan Minorities’ Teachers Association PMTA has urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to make sure that the religion based hatred is curbed and the elements nurturing hatred against Non-Muslims must be hooked and brought to justice. Professor Anjum James called upon the Apex Court to look into the blatant “humiliation of rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.”
Professor Anjum who has been recurrently raising his voice against the injustices minorities’ students have had to face in educational institutes. Moreover, he has been making recommendations regarding the hate content found in the curriculum being taught in the schools and colleges. Seeing reluctance from the government, Professor Anjum has written a letter to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to intervene and direct the concerned authorities to take effective steps in order to curb inculcation of religion based hate in the students.
Professor Anjum James Paul knocks door of Supreme Court of Pakistan SCP in this letter to intervene and issue orders to protect religious minorities in Pakistan. An excerpt of this letter dated December 19 is as below:
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Subject: NEED TO ADDRESS THE HUMILIATION OF RIGHTS OF THE RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN PAKISTAN
Greetings and peace from Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA)
PMTA would like to draw your kind attention on the subject cited above.
Pakistani religious minorities were expecting some relief after the June 19, 2014 verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding the protection of minorities and launching of National Action Plan 2014 but unfortunately religious minorities are still being persecuted in their own motherland on the basis of religion. Perhaps the main reason is this that there has been the total negation of the ideology of the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan that he presented in his presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 saying, “We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”
“The first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.”
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place 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.”
“Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
“If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his color, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.”
Sir, Pakistani religious minorities face challenges after the demise of the Quaid-e-Azam. They are considered inferior and treated as second class citizens just on the basis of religion. There is denial to their political, religious, educational and economic rights etc. Minority seats have not been increased in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies except Muslim seats. Minority parliamentarians do not have their religious identity as they take oath as Muslims. Religious minorities are being forcibly converted to Islam through textbooks, social injustice, and economic injustice and even then it is claimed that there is religious freedom and protection of minorities in Pakistan. Minority Rights legislation is opposed just to deny the minority rights. There are abductions, forced conversions and forced marriages of Christian, Hindu and Kalash minor girls and married women. The stolen girls and women are not returned. They are victims of biased and discriminatory laws. In the Minority Rights Commission, minorities are in minority. The chairperson of the commission is from majority. It is very strange that when there is no respect of minority religions and human rights then what is the purpose for the ministries of Interfaith Harmony and Human Rights? There is so much violation of minority rights but even then human rights awards are being distributed for political gains which raise many questions on the transparency of such awards. Minority religions are not safe because article 19 of the constitution protects only Islam. That’s why, there is openly degradation of minority religions.
Sir, There is violation of article 22 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan that guarantees “No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.”
There is even violation of article 36 that guarantees “The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services.”
Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association has prepared 18 research based documents on the textbooks of Pakistan during the period of 2007-2016 in 12 various subjects from grade 1 to grade 12, identifying the violation of Article 20, Article 22 (1) Article 25 and Article 36 of the constitution of Pakistan. The research has proved that the students from religious minorities are forcibly converted to Islam through the textbooks and educational environment as they get admission in school. They are forcibly taught Islamic beliefs and practices and to lead their lives according to article 31 of the constitution of Pakistan through the subjects of languages, social sciences and basic sciences. There are baseless and negative propagation against the non-Islamic religions, non-Muslims, non-Muslim personalities, non-Islamic cultures and non-Islamic civilizations. Due to this, the beliefs and lives of non-Muslims are always under threat. Besides this, only religious minority students have been deprived of their religious education while there are arrangements of teachers and textbooks for the Muslim students. Religious minority students have to mostly opt the subject of Islamic Education which is the violation of their fundamental right.
There are biases and persecution with the Pakistani religious minorities because Pakistani textbooks promote hatred, intolerance and extremism against non-Muslims, non-Islamic religions, non-Islamic civilizations and non-Islamic cultures in the textbooks.