‘All animals are equal but some are more equal than the others,’ said George Orwell. The same is the case for the minority segment in Pakistan’s diaspora. Since, it has been observed across the world that minorities are either humiliated or menaced due to their less sway in the society.
They are subject to marginalization when it comes to their socio-political and religious freedom. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it reflects nebulous kind of outlook. Mostly, state actors support more liberal and secular kind of narratives; where as non state actors are being witnessed to come up with more radical and more extremist approaches. To great extend, minorities in Pakistan are treated as the second breed, they are given very low jobs of sanitization that are egregious for majority Muslims.
Chronologically, Pakistan turned to faith-based biasness after the demise of Quaid-i-Azam. His historical speech to Constituent Assembly gave a clear sense of a secular state when he proclaimed that every religion was free to practice its respective worships in their respective institutes. However, the things turned more radical, and as a result religion started to suppress the separatist movements in the verge of minorities, especially in Baluchistan, Sindh, and that of then NWFP. The color of religious radicalism spread after the first constitution of 1956 follow down with 1962 and that of the 2nd amendment to the constitution of 1973 that declared Ahmadis non-Muslims.
However, the constitutional safety for minorities peeled off in 1982 and 1986 when general Zia-Ul-Haq passed Hadood ordinance and blasphemy law that shattered and used to suppress the minorities. The notorious blasphemy law is used to threaten the minorities and more than 700 cases are registered under the blasphemy law. Till today, it is used to threatening liberals and secular voices of the society.
Growing radicalism in Pakistan such as planned attacks against Hazara community, suicide bombers against Ahmadi, especially on may 28, 2010, target killing of Sikkh communities in tribal areas, genocide of Shia community in Parachinar and its surroundings, profiling of Jainist and forced conversion of Hindus in Sindh witnessed a complete violation of constitutional safety and left article 20th of the constitution of 1973 toothless.
The minorities in Pakistan face violation, discrimination, and marginalization systemically through an organized channel. If our constitution believes in equality and it gives equal right to every citizen then why here are differences between the rights of minority and majority divide.
A non-Muslim cannot be the holder of the top public office in Pakistan. If our constitution provides protection and guarantee for the rights of the minority segment of the country and a freedom of religious practices then why on the other hand it keeps threatening the vulnerable segment by placing article 295, 295[A], 295[B], 295[C], 296, 297, and 298.
Growing religious populism in the region has trampled intellectual voices. This causes rigorous punishment and imprisonments for those who stand for the equal provision of law.
To this credit, sometimes, judges themselves are under trail when they are to go with their unbiased verdicts against religious populism. They feel threats and religious victimization when it comes to their personal life. Life of the women in the minority stricken states is hard enough. With reference to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women of 2013 that Pakistan lacked a legal concern of marriages of the women of the Hindu and Christian segments.
Since, Pakistan is the land that acquires 3.8% of minority population according to the census 2017, and the white color in the flag represents the minority, but the systematic discrimination keeps narrowing the color. Therefore, the discrimination against minorities is not in the due interest of the state. The sooner the better, at any cost the marginalization of the vulnerable segment should be addressed.
There is the huge trust deficit between the majority-minority stacks. This needs to be curtailed down lest it should caste a permanent rift. The system requires rapid reforms in very institution of the state. There are five suggestions that should be under consideration. Firstly, given the growing religiosity, hate speech against the minorities should be addressed, owing to the hate speech there we experience a constant tension in the region. Recently a party member of Modi-led BJP government made condemnable comments that hurt the sentiments of the Muslims around the world and in reaction a mob assaults a temple in Karachi.
Secondly, quota system and separate voter list breed a sense of alienation for the minority segments of the society. To pursue them authorities should end up with the quota system and that of separate voter list. Developed world sensed the importance of equality and they elapsed with the differences based on religion, race, caste or creed like Canada, USA, Europe and Scandinavian countries.
Thirdly, media should perform its due role in promoting interfaith- harmony through different broadcasting ways. Since minority is the part of the state and for them there should be equal opportunities and treatment. They should be assured of the property rights, business provision and freedom of religious activities.
Fourthly, our education system needs to be renovated for it looks outdated. Our education should be free of biasness and it should promote interfaith-harmony, sympathy, brotherhood and affection within the society. Last but not least, our electoral system needs a due attention because it is only electoral reform that guarantees and have them protected their rights and have their due and equal representation.