The Prime Minister’s approval of the formation of a task force to oversee the implementation of the rights of minorities is a much-welcomed decision and is rightly being commended. It is a step in the right direction that the National Assembly is waking up to the increasing discrimination being faced by our minorities and decided to pass a resolution to prioritize the issue of minority rights.

However, this resolution and the task force run the risk of only being perfunctory gestures in a long line of merely lip-service initiatives that do not end up being implemented properly. Eight years ago, in 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered for the constitution of a national council of minorities’ rights for the monitoring of the practical realisation of the rights and safeguards provided to the minorities under the Constitution and law. The judgement was hailed as a landmark decision of its time; however, since then we have seen little implementation.

While quotas exist for the inclusion of minority groups, there is a large issue with completing any kind of quotas in the government. Despite the outcry, the government still advertises cleaning and sanitation jobs, with severely few benefits, with the disclaimer “Only Christians may apply”, perpetuating discriminatory and bigoted stereotypes. The Sindh Police a few months back had decided to set up a special unit for the security of places of worship belonging to minority communities across the province, responsible for the security of churches, temples and gurudwaras across the province. Yet we still see a strong presence and influence of certain groups that do not respect the sanctity of other religions.

Therefore, while new initiatives, task forces, and efforts at bridging the gap are appreciated and encouraged, what is truly needed is the political will to back up such endeavours. It is hoped that this effort by the Prime Minister will be seen fully through and will achieve milestones in the path towards an equal and inclusive Pakistan.