Pakistan’s society weaves a tapestry of diverse cultures and faiths. However, beneath this diversity lies a concerning trend of violence against minority communities and their places of worship. Historical records highlight a plethora of such incidents. Just since 2016, a series of events has unveiled the distress and disparity experienced by minority groups.
Safeguarding citizens’ rights, regardless of their religious beliefs, falls under the state’s responsibility. While constitutional provisions exist, effectively implementing them remains a perpetual challenge. Despite state efforts, actions have often fallen short of addressing the challenges faced by minorities. Additionally, raising awareness among the masses about religious harmony and equality, as per Islam and the constitution of Pakistan, remains an ongoing concern.
Embedded within the 1973 Constitution is Article 20, upholding freedom of religion and granting citizens the right to practise and share their faith. Article 36 acts as a shield, vowing to safeguard minority rights and ensuring their ability to administer and practise their chosen religions independently.
As insecurity intensifies, an unfortunate exodus of minorities seeking sanctuary in foreign lands gains momentum. This migration underscores the deep fear and uncertainty minority communities face within their own homeland. Many Hindus have moved to India due to their continuous fear of religious attacks, underscoring the pressing need for immediate action to restore confidence and ensure protection.
The road ahead for minority communities is laden with challenges. Discrimination, prejudice, and security concerns mar their daily lives. These struggles are intensified by sporadic attacks, necessitating swift and resolute government action. Human rights organisations play a pivotal role in advocating for justice and equality. However, instances of inaction and insufficient attention to minority rights raise pertinent questions about their effectiveness.
Importantly, whenever incidents of Islamic blasphemy occur, Muslims across the country promptly express their outrage and concerns through various media platforms. However, a noticeable discrepancy arises when similar incidents target minority communities. This underscores the need for a consistent and commendable stance that transcends religious lines. Violence against minority communities and their sacred sites serves as eloquent reminders of the work yet to be done. The government, particularly departments like the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Human Rights, and the National Commission for Minorities, must translate constitutional ideals into tangible protections.
ALI GUL LEGHARI,