Jinnah’s Pakistan public rally held to commemorate National Minorities Day witnessed a significant participation by non-Muslim citizens. The Minorities Alliance of Pakistan (MAP) presented a series of demands, including greater representation in the national and provincial assemblies for religious minorities, as well as the removal of the constitutional barrier preventing non-Muslims from holding the positions of president and prime minister. The rally emphasised the need to end the misuse of religious laws and ensure free and fair justice. These demands are not unreasonable; rather, they highlight the necessary steps the government must take to foster a more tolerant and inclusive society.
One of the prominent issues addressed at the rally was forced conversions, which have plagued minority communities. The speakers criticised both the PDM and PTI governments for their failure to address this pressing concern, resulting in perpetual fear and subjugation for minorities. Incidents of violence, attacks on religious places, and the forced conversion of minority girls have gone unchecked.
The misuse of blasphemy laws was condemned at the rally. The speakers highlighted the role of state institutions, including the police, in providing cover to those involved in forced conversions. Such practices erode social harmony and hinder the country’s progress towards a more tolerant society. The government must take immediate steps to curb the misuse of religious laws and provide a fair and just system that upholds the rights of all individuals, regardless of their religious background.
Minorities in Pakistan experience daily isolation, discrimination, and abuse, exacerbating their already vulnerable position. The state has a responsibility to provide sufficient grounds and agency for minorities to protect themselves, not only physically but also politically and economically. Additionally, the government should work towards ensuring the effective implementation of the allocated quota for minorities in educational institutions, promoting equal opportunities for all. By working together and implementing necessary reforms, Pakistan can foster an environment where all citizens are treated with respect, dignity, and equality.