Pakistan and the protection of different religious minority groups – international day of peace – the organization for world peace
In the 2018 Pakistani elections, Imran Khan, now 22 Prime Minister of Pakistan of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party, pledged to protect “the civil, social and religious rights of minorities; their places of worship, their property and their institutions in accordance with the Constitution. It was an effort of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party’s goal, to create the “Naya” (new) Pakistan, bringing justice to all, especially to the various minority religious groups in Pakistan who live in constant fear of blasphemy laws. , violence, hate speech and discrimination. However, according to several reports published in 2019 by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and watch groups, Pakistan is not only a dangerous place for many of their Muslim citizens, but increasingly dangerous for different religious minorities, which makes them vulnerable to many types of abuse. and less support put in place like legislation for protection. An article by the diplomat noted that in 2019, although the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party has promised change, when it comes to genuinely protecting different groups of religious minorities, nothing really matters. exchange.
Although 96.28% of the country is made up of individuals of the Muslim faith, Pakistan is religiously, ethically and linguistically diverse. Minority groups make up 4% of the population with Christians accounting for 1.59%, Hindus 1.60% and various sects of Muslim groups such as the Shia Muslim community making up around 20% of the Muslim population. Ismail Muslims and Ahmadiyya Muslims make 0.22%, which has been disputed as false as most Ahmadiyya Muslim followers do not identify with themselves publicly due to the fear of persecution that the Ahmadiyya community continually faces.
Shia Muslims, according to the Pakistani Constitution, are not considered minorities, the Shia community, in particular the Shiite Hazar community, has suffered the same, if not more, violence than other minority religious groups. As Saqib Nisar, the former chief justice of Pakistan, put it, the violence facing the Hazar community “wipes out a whole generation” of Shia Muslims.
In an email to the World Peace Organization (OWP) of the British Asian Christian Association (BACA) – an organization actively highlighting the abuses currently facing Pakistani Christians and working to help create legislation for protect Christians – listed numerous cases of abuse, including young girls kidnapped and forced into marriage by Muslims. In fact, Movement and Solidarity, a Muslim NGO, found that 700 Christian women and girls were kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriages each year. But the most common type of abuse that Christians living in Pakistan face are the blasphemy laws. Blasphemy laws are also an issue that many different minority religious groups as well as different Muslim sects face. Christians represent only 1.59% of the population but represent 15% of those accused of blasphemy.
Blasphemy laws have a long history in Pakistan since British colonial rule. According to article 295-C of the penal code for blasphemy, the code accuses anyone who makes derogatory terms against the name of the prophet or the Koran. Most religious minority groups are continually accused of blasphemy without any evidence and face mob violence like Mashal Kahn, a student who was killed by a mob at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan because a peer he knew had claimed to have committed blasphemy without any proof. The mob has ended up taking “justice” for itself, which is very common in many cases where an individual is accused of blasphemy.
In fact, it should be noted that many cases of blasphemy and individuals accused of blasphemy stem from blood feuds, personal strife, and even outright discrimination and intolerance. For example, with the case of Yaqub Maish, an 11-year-old girl suffering from several mental disorders who lived in informal slums in a Muslim community as a Christian immigrant who was accused by a Muslim cleric living in the neighborhood of to have shredded the Koran. This accusation turned out to be false because the Muslim cleric simply wanted to get rid of Christian immigrants in the community. According to reports from the Center for Social Justice, it was discovered that 1,855 people have been charged with blasphemy in Pakistan, with a significant peak in 2021. The European Parliament, the United Nations and Amnesty International have called on Pakistan to reform the laws on blasphemy. ; however, with Pakistan’s long history of blasphemy laws and extremist Islamic groups, delaying any reform seems impossible.
According to the Cornell Policy Review on Blasphemy, Radicalization and Discrimination Laws in Pakistan, the most realistic way to protect minorities from violence and discrimination is not to reform blasphemy laws , but to work towards deradicalization. As BACA pointed out, “the only way to change the social unrest is to raise a new generation of Pakistani citizens who have a broader understanding of other religions, have learned that the Quran itself does not endorse laws. on blasphemy and which Muhammed himself had often forgiven the authors of blasphemy ”. The popularity of religious rights of Islamic extremists has prompted blasphemy laws to gain votes not to work for any kind of peace or coexistence with different minority religious groups and has created intolerance.
Muhammad Ali Ilahi on Creating Deradicalization of Cornell Policy Review emphasizes that to create peaceful coexistence and harmony there must be reform at the most basic level of education – especially for the next generation . The Ministry of Education can play a huge role in celebrating diversity and bridging the gaps in Pakistani history lessons, thus creating less hatred. In addition, Muslim clerics with great social power in Pakistan can promote progressive interpretations of Islam to counter hardline extremist rhetoric. In fact, it was also noted that education in Pakistan plays an important role in the discrimination faced by different religious minority groups. An article by The Diplomat on the Pakistani public education system found that textbooks circulating in public schools to at least 41 million children contained derogatory references when it came to different minority religious groups promoting intolerance and creating radicalization. In an email with BACA on how peace and harmony can be created in Pakistan, BACA also noted the importance of creating change in education systems stating that “a new national curriculum should include great contribution made by minorities to the development of Pakistan, in the fields of science, law, sports, business, our contribution to war efforts and much more ”.
The International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21 to end all hostilities in the world and promote peace and harmony. It is about ensuring that every individual in the world, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex and religion, lives in the world out of fear of abuse and neglect. This is to ensure that there is protection for individuals and all communities. This is an opportunity to reflect on what can realistically be done to make the change create peace, harmony and coexistence. In Pakistan. the international day of peace 2016 was celebrated with 125 guests from Muslims, Christians and Hindus to declare a day of peace and work for harmony and coexistence.
To learn more, visit http://peaceoneday.org for more information.