ISLAMABAD: Finally a glimpse of hope as the Apex Court orders for establishment of a “National Council for Rights of Minorities”
A momentous decision in the history of Pakistan by the Supreme Court – directing the government to establish the “National Council for the rights of minorities.” This council is intended to be an independent state body that will duly operate as an observatory thus monitoring the status of ethnic and religious minorities along with cases of violence and discrimination against them. The in prospect Council will be given the additional responsibility to ensure religious harmony while protecting the dignity and privileges of the religious minorities.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Tasaduq Hussain Jillani, directed the government to establish the National Council for the rights of minorities, while he presided over the hearing of case that was set forth in the outcome of the attack in the Christian church of Peshawar, in September 2013. The said attack is thought to be the deadliest ever where according to official government records 81 Christians were killed and scores were seriously injured. The highlights of his 32-page verdict being a sturdy stand against “hate speech propagated on social media” and “against the abuses perpetrated on children, because of their faith”. The Court expressed disappointment stating: the constitutional provisions on the protection of minority rights have not been respected in Pakistan. Additionally the Apex court ordered the executive to establish a special “task force” to protect the places of worship of religious minorities. Justice Tasaduq maintained that such issues should be addressed in a constitutionally manner so the constitutional provisions of the minorities living in Pakistan be respected.
The court additionally carried out orders for immediate measures to be undertaken by the government for preparing an appropriate school and college curricula that is unbiased, the formation of a Minority Rights Council, a special police force trained to protect places of worship for minorities, the registering of criminal cases against desecrators of places of worship, and for the 5% employment quota for non-Muslim minorities to be enforced in all sectors administratively controlled by the federal government,
Cecil Shane Chaudhry- Executive Director of the Commission “Justice and Peace” of the Pakistani Bishops sees the Supreme Court’s verdict as a “historic decision in the judicial history of Pakistan”, given that “so far no one had ever talked about the issue so clearly”.