Minorities in Pakistan: Myth and reality | By Prof Dr Muhammad Khan


Minorities in Pakistan: Myth and reality

MINORITIES in Pakistan have never been isolated and alienated either in the constitution of the State or else by the people of Pakistan.

In the last seven decades of Pakistani history, the minorities never felt insured socially, politically and economically.

Nevertheless, there are some individuals, groups and human rights organizations which have been trying to use minorities for their personal propagation or else promotion and projection of their organizations; all aims at attaining the personal gains and accomplishment of external agendas.

In this regard some people and organizations even planned and executed isolated events for the exploitation of minorities to build a case which defamed the state and society of Pakistan as per the narratives for further selling at international level.

These specific individuals, groups and human rights organizations have never talked about the worsening state of human rights in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the Muslims in India or exploitation of Muslims all over the globe where they are in minority.

Recently an article appeared in a Pakistani daily, highlighting the initiatives of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy for launching a multi-year project.

Named as “White in the Flag” apparently the project aimed at educating the Pakistani masses about minorities in the country as if they have no prior familiarity of living together.

Nevertheless, the real motives of the project are ‘lifting the stories of minorities’ for their propagation at international level to slander and thrash the state and society of Pakistan.

Indeed, in the contemporary world, Pakistan is a unique country where people from various religions, castes, creeds and diverse ethnicities have freedom to live as per their beliefs, cultures and traditions. This right of freedom to live and express is protected in the Constitution of Pakistan.

The basis of the Constitutional provisions are derived from the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and vision of the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan provides a comprehensive coverage for the safety and security of its citizens irrespective of religions and beliefs.

The Constitution also laid down the procedure of justice system, basic human rights and matters related to public freedom for all citizens of Pakistan which include minorities too.

A true interpretation of these constitutional provisions would reveal that minorities enjoy the same rights and freedom in Pakistan as Muslims.

This is despite the fact that Pakistan is an ideological state, came into being on the basis of Two-Nation Theory.

With such a massive and broad-based freedom for the minorities as enunciated in the Constitution, Pakistan can truly be called as an open, highly moral and ethical state. Indeed, western definition of secularism has a narrow base.

In Pakistani state system, the minorities enjoy all sorts of rights and liberties as provided to Muslim population.

In fact, Quaid-i-Azam envisioned Pakistan as a modern democratic state, where every Pakistani can live with personal safety and security while enjoying religious freedom with basic civic facilities.

In his famous address, Quaid-i-Azam clearly said, ‘you are free to go to your temples, Churches and Mosques’.

Chinoy and likeminded people have been highlighting isolated incidents through films and dramas to win international awards and rewards but never highlighted what is happening with Muslims in those countries which reward and fund them (Chinoy & Co).

Restricting herself to the cause of minorities only makes her biased and opinionated towards the bulk of Pakistani society.

The initiatives of Chinoy and her web-page should include all discriminated communities (irrespective of religion) in Pakistan and elsewhere.

No Pakistani human rights organization or even Chinoy could make a film and drama over the worst exploitations and discriminations of Kashmiri Muslims of India-occupied Kashmir or the Indian Muslims despite discriminatory laws like Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)-2019.

Muslims in India are being killed, beaten, flogged, isolated and humiliated because of their belief and champions of human rights and minority rights in Pakistan have not condemned these Indian brutal acts.

The international film-makers and proponents of minority rights in Pakistan have not initiated any such project or even raised their voices against those who desecrated the Holy Quran, degraded Holy Prophet (PBUH) and publically conducted anti-Islam and anti-Muslim gatherings in Norway, the Netherlands, the US and other parts of Europe.

This clearly depicts that these people are biased and their acts and actions are sponsored through a particular agendas.

The perpetrators had disclosed their linkages with RSS ideology against Muslims.

This indicates that Hidutva and RSS are rapidly becoming a threat for regional and global peace.

Regretfully, notwithstanding the horrifying anti-minorities incidents in India, United States and other major powers have not condemned the Indian discriminatory laws against its Muslim population.

This puts a question mark on the role of major power centres towards Muslims.
Indeed, the founding fathers of India were architects of today’s Hindu India.

Nehru and his political allies provided the base of Hindu domination, now transferred into Hindutva.

Prime Minister Modi and his BJP only get the [dis-]credit of implementing the agenda and vision of Indian forefathers.

In the name of secularism and democracy, Nehru and his followers had been misleading the world. The truth is, Indian Secularism and Hindutva are synonyms having same agenda.

Regretfully, notwithstanding the horrifying anti-minorities incidents in India, the United States and other major powers have not condemned the Indian discriminatory laws and acts against its Muslim population.

This puts a question mark on the role of major power centres towards Muslims.

Indeed, they encourage anti-Muslim and anti-Islam activities including films and drama propagations whereas remain quite over the racial and religious discriminations against Muslims and Islam.

As per Article 25 (1) of the ‘The Constitution of Pakistan’ “all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.”

Article 5 of the Constitution provides “adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures.”

There is no discrimination against minorities in Pakistani Constitution nor there exists any animosity against minorities at the level of Pakistani society.

Therefore, let’s not allow agenda driven exploitation of Pakistani state and society in the name of minorities.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.