Government of Punjab responds to a letter written by Pakistan Minorities Teacher’s Association, calling upon Chief Justice of Pakistan to look into the victimization of non-Muslim students. In a letter dated April 22, 2016- Professor Anjum James Paul wrote to the CJP demanding action against the religion-based victimization of non-Muslim students.
Consequently, on July 14, Thursday Professor Anjum James Paul-Chairman Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association received a letter from Section Officer (ER-I), Government of the Punjab, School Education Department, Lahore on “Non-Muslim students face victimization and religious persecution in the educational system of Pakistan.”
An excerpt from the letter written to the CJP is as follows:
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Subject: NON-MUSLIM STUDENTS FACE VICTIMIZATION AND RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM OF PAKISTAN
Greetings and peace from Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA).
PMTA would like to draw your kind attention on the subject cited above.
Pakistani non-Muslim students are facing victimization and religious persecution in the educational system of Pakistan. The most recent example is of a Christian student Mr. Naveed Rafique s/o Rafique Maseeh, a student of grade 8 who has been declared failed in the examinations of Punjab Examination Commission held in 2016. He appeared in the examination under Roll No.68-426-220 in district Faisalabad, Punjab. In the oral examination of Islamiyat (Islamic Studies) the examiner told him at the spot, “You are failed as you have not recited Kalimah.”
Naveed Rafique said, “I am Christian and I do not know the Islamic Kalimah.” The honourable examiner deliberately attempted to have forced conversion of Naveed Rafique violating Article 22 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan and when he could not achieve his purpose he failed the mentioned candidate. Mr. Naveed Rafique could lose his Christian belief after recitation of Kalimah. The one who recites Kalimah leaves his/her previous religion and embraces Islam.
Pakistan is a multi-religious country and there is diversity of religions in the classroom. Sir, Federal and Provincial Textbook Boards of Pakistan are openly violating Article 20 (a), Article 22 (1), Article 25 (1) and Article 36 of the Constitution of Pakistan and Article 26 (2 & 3) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2 (2) and Article 14 (1) of International Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 18 (2 & 4) of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 5 (2) of Declaration On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Intolerance And Of Discrimination Based On Religion Or Belief, UNESCO and June 19, 2014 Verdict of Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding protection of minorities rights.
Public sector educational institutions/environment in Pakistan is deliberately attempting/persuading to convert the religions of all Pakistani non-Muslim students because they have become religious centers of the dominant religion of Pakistan. They are not ready to accept the religious identity of non-Muslim students at any cost. They are forced to study Islamic beliefs and practices in the subjects of languages, social sciences, pure sciences and Islamic Studies from school education to higher education.