Pakistan Minorities Teachers Alliance (PMTA) has written to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhamad Nawaz Sharif calling his urgent attention towards the textbooks being used in Pakistani schools. Chairman PMTA Professor Anjum James Paul penned down a letter to the Premier urging an instantaneous action in order to ward off nurturing of religious extremism and fanaticism in the curriculum.
An excerpt from Professor Anjum James Paul’s letter to the Premier is as follows:
Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Subject: – STATE OF INTERNAL SECURITY AND NEED TO ROOT OUT VIOLENCE
AND EXTREMISM FROM TEXTBOOKS
Greetings and peace from Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA).
PMTA would like to draw your kind attention on the subject cited above.
Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association appreciates what you have said while chairing a meeting to review the state of internal security and implementation of National Action Plan at Prime Minister House on August 1, 2016, “We will make Pakistan secure for every ethnicity and religion; the country has embarked upon a right track and we will enable every citizen to reap the benefits of a secure, stable and prosperous Pakistan. Extremist ideology is a global threat; being the frontline state in war on terror, Pakistan confronted the blow back of terrorists for several years. No other country has suffered to the extent Pakistan has been affected socially and economically while fighting the scourge of terrorism and extremism.”
Sir, it is utmost need of the time that our beloved country must be secure, stable and prosperous for the security of every ethnicity and religion. It is needed to root out hatred, intolerance and extremism from the Pakistani textbooks because they are one of the main root causes of the internal security that promote hatred, intolerance and extremism among the citizens of different faiths in Pakistan. Textbooks particularly unprotected and harass non-Muslims violating the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan Penal Code and National Action Plan. So, it is requested you to take stern action against the publishers who promote hatred, intolerance and extremism in Pakistan for their nefarious designs and all those who particularly violate the below mentioned articles of the Constitution of Pakistan, sections of Pakistan Penal Code and agenda of the National Action Plan. This is the only way to make a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.
CONSTITUTION OF PAKISTAN 1973
Article 20. Freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions
Subject to law, public order and morality
(a) every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion; and
(b) every religious denomination and every sect thereof shall have the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions.
Article 22. Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion, etc.
(1) 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.
Article 25. Equality of citizens
(1) All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
(2) There shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex alone.
(3) Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the protection of women and children.
Article 27. Safeguard against discrimination in services
(1) No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth:
Article 28. Preservation of language, script and culture
Subject to Article 251 any section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture shall have the right to preserve and promote the same and subject to law, establish institutions for that purpose.
Article 33 Parochial and other similar prejudices to be discouraged.
The State shall discourage parochial, racial, tribal, sectarian and provincial prejudices among the citizens.
Article 35. Protection of family, etc.
The State shall protect the marriage, the family, the mother and the child.
Article 36. Protection of minorities
The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services.
PAKISTAN PENAL CODE
Section 153- Promoting enmity between different groups, etc
(a) by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or incites, or attempts to promote or incite, on grounds of religion, race, place of both, residence. language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities; or
(b) commits, or incites any other person to commit, any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities or any group of persons identifiable as such on any ground whatsoever and which disturbs or is likely to disturb public tranquility; or
(c) organizes, or incites any other person to organize, and exercise, movement, drill or other similar activity intending that the participants in any such activity shall use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in any such activity will use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or participates, or incites any other person to participate, in any such activity intending to use or be trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to be likely that the participants in any such activity will use or be trained, to use criminal force or violence, against any religious, racial, language or regional group or caste of community or any group of persons identifiable as such on any ground whatsoever and any such activity for any reason whatsoever cause or is likely to cause fear or alarm or a feeling of insecurity amongst members of such religious, racial, language or regional group or caste or community. shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years and with fine.
Explanation: It does not amount to an offence within the meaning of this section to point but, without malicious intention and with an honest view to their removal, matters which are producing, or have a tendency to produce, feelings of enmity or hatred between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
Section 295 A Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs:
Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the ‘religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 297 Trespassing on burial places, etc.:
Section 298 Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings:
NATIONAL ACTION PLAN
The material promoting hate and extremism will be considered crime under Anti-Terrorism Act and strict action would be taken against the printers and publishers who will publish such material.
Effective steps would be taken to stop religious persecution.
With best regards.
Professor Anjum James Paul