Rights activists call upon govt to protect rights of minorities

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The civil society and human rights activists Thursday called upon the government to ensure safeguarding the rights of all citizens irrespective of their religion and also protect their life and property.

They were addressing a joint press conference here at the Karachi Press Club in connection with observance of the National Day of Minorities in the country. Chairperson, Sindh Commission on Status of Women, Ms. Nuzhat Shireen, Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Naveed Anthony, Zahid Farooq of Urban Resource Centre, Ms. Naghma Iqtidar of The knowledge forum and Zafar Iqbal, a minorities rights activist  addressed the press conference.

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned Pakistan to become a peaceful country, where all citizens had the right to enjoy equality  and were free to practice their faiths, however, the government should introduce more reforms to achieve the objective of building an inclusive society, said  Naghma Shaikh, a rights activist while reading a joint statement.The citizens were guaranteed the right to religious freedom in Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan and it was illegal and unethical to compel them to change their faith, she said.

The speakers urged the government to take action against those who take the law into their hands and engage in targeting minorities.

They noted that the real onus lied with  government to address  serious issues of minorities.”

The federal government has notified the curriculum for religious education solely for non-Muslim students for Grade I-V and VI-VIII, which comprises content from seven religions including; Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha’i, Kalash, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, therefore, the provincial government must adopt a curriculum for the subject of religious education, and develop the textbooks and engage teachers to teach minority students the subject in schools,” they suggested.

The speakers called upon the government to take measures to ensure equality of rights, religious freedom, and religious tolerance as per the constitution of the country.

 

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