A thing called “Equality.”

25 Mar

To be continuously stared and harassed in markets and streets. To be treated condescendingly and bearing all the haughty attitude of the people that form your neighborhood. To not seen as repulsive and to be exposed to the casual violence of the mob that burns down houses and alights crop fields. These three sentences barely encompass the treatment of the minorities in Pakistan.

For a moment, just stop and think; what if your father was never allowed to rise in the social circles because he held different religious convictions than the majority present. What if your brother and sister were the usual victims of the sneering taunts and accusations of being “enemies of the state” just because they were Hindus. Surely it sends quivers down the spine.

Pakistan, sadly, was never to be a hell-hole for the minorities. Pakistan, in-fact, was made to safeguard the rights of minorities in United India. Jinnah always dreamed of a Pakistan where all the religious minorities could practice their faiths accordingly and with complete freedom. Minorities of India, other than Muslims, had an indispensable role in the creation of Pakistan. The first Law Minister Jogendra Nath Mandal was a Hindu from Bengal; his secretary and later the Chief Justice of Pakistan Alvin Robert Cornelius belonged to the Catholic Church. The long time, highly admired Foreign Minister Mr Muhammad Zafrullah Khan belonged to the Ahmadi sect. In addition, Jinnah himself belonged to the Shia denomination and many of the top leaders of the Pakistan movement were from the Shia, Ismaili and Ahmadi camps.

But after Jinnah, the incompetent leadership went to set up an Islamic-based government where legislation would be done according to the Muslim convictions; and shrugging off indifferently the beliefs and laws of other religious minorities. This was a huge set-back to the overall ideology for which Pakistan was created. Mandal had shown remonstrance against the adoption of this system but his efforts proved too futile. His resignation letter paints a gloomy picture and echoes the neglect of violence against Hindus by the aristocracy.

What can the minorities living in Pakistan expect from their “elected” representatives to enact such laws that may curb the extent of violence against themselves by the majority. But no law can teach you to love someone; none indeed. The fault here lies with the text books that are taught at the school level. These text books show Muslim culture shade of glory while every other non-Muslim culture as something always intriguing to over-throw the Muslims. This naturally generates hatred towards these minorities and then they forget to differentiate even between a good human and bad human. What reflected a new low in intolerance in Pakistan, according to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), was the case of a Christian class eight student being accused of blasphemy for a spelling mistake in her examination. The spelling error led to her expulsion from school and had the local clerics howling for her blood. What can be worst derived from this scenario is the fact that with growing intolerance, there is a wave of violence against these minorities gradually picking up its pace.

Why should a Christian be thought as someone inferior when he is as proud of his forefathers, whose sacrificed blood was as devout to the creation of Pakistan as was any Muslim’s, as we are proud of ours’? Why should a Hindu be regarded as the enemy of the state when he pays all his taxes and yet suffers just because a few Hindus, in India mind you, spread hateful speech against the Muslims?

Jinnah wanted his Pakistan to be a safe haven for the minorities, not only for those of India but to the whole world. He wanted his Pakistan to become a state where equality prevails above all convictions and religious inclinations. Jinnah never wanted a separate country until Nehru’s cabinet failed to guard the rights of the minorities in United India. Although the large part of these depraved minorities constituted of Muslims, but there were Christians, Ahmadis and Shia Muslims as well.  If that same Pakistan fails in its core objective of “equality” then unfortunately this Pakistan hurts Jinnah more than it hurts those minorities.

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