National Minorities’ Day: A day to join hands together
THE National Minorities’ Day is observed on 11 August to honour Pakistan’s religious minorities who have contributed to the creation of Pakistan and in the nation-building.
The day recalls the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with reference of his speech and the contribution of non-Muslim communities of Pakistan.
It was on 11 August 1947 when the Quaid in his opening speech to the Constituent Assembly said, “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 caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.
” He also referred to Article 20 of the Constitution which reads every citizen shall have the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion.
Quaid-i-Azam’s choice of Mandal, as the first Law Minister, and in his Cabinet suggested that the country would not be run by the theocratic.
To assert this commitment, the Government of Pakistan in 2009 declared 11 August as the National Minorities’ Day.
Pakistan generously reassures its minorities about their future rights by specifically allocating a portion of the national flag – the white colour which traditionally represents purity and innocence – and which the minorities have kept so, over many decades.
They have not allowed it to be polluted or defiled by blood, or any other stain. The commendable services of religious minorities, along with their Muslim brothers, are a glorious chapter in the history of Independence Movement of Pakistan.
Furthermore, religious minorities have given a considerable contribution in different fields of the society including health, education, defence and social welfare.
Events, seminars and social gatherings are arranged across the country on the day by private, government and non-governmental organizations.
Legal Aid Society (LAS) is a well-known name in providing free legal advice, support and awareness.
Various projects and programs of the LAS are working across the country. LAS passionately organized a seminar in connection with the National Minorities’ Day.
The program was all about the minorities, who played their constructive role in the Pakistan Movement.
The commendable services of religious minorities, along with their Muslim brothers, are a glorious chapter in the history of the Independence Movement of Pakistan.
The title of the seminar was ‘Rights of Minority Community in Pakistan’. The programme was held at Catch the Fire Church in which representatives of Christian, Hindu and Sikh communities as well as people from different walks of life participated and expressed their views.
On behalf of the LAS, Advocate Safia Lakho, Mehboob Ali Laghari and Akbar Hussain Derveshi spoke about the rights of the minority communities and answered the questions asked by the participants.
The participants were also informed about the Sindh Legal Advisory Call Centre (SLACC). SLACC which was established by the Legal Aid Society in 2014 and embarked on a public-private partnership in 2018 with the Government of Sindh through its Law Department.
The Government of Sindh has supported SLACC under the Legal Empowerment of People Programme in Sindh (LEPPS) to provide free legal advice and information to empower poor, disempowered and marginalized people of Pakistan.
The participants of the seminar were given details on LAS’ Religious Minorities’ Awareness Programme and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material was distributed in the form of booklets.
This project of the LAS is working in eight districts of Sindh, which are Karachi, Hyderabad, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana and Dadu.
At the end of the programme, the participants, with their true feelings of unity, said that they all are committed to following the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for an enlightened, liberal, progressive and tolerant Pakistan.
—The writer is a Poet, Philanthropist and Journalist, based in Karachi.