Include text on freedom of religion, hate speech, assemblies and minorities
PESHAWAR: Various publications on subjects surrounding minorities’ issues were launched by South Asia Partnership Pakistan on Friday. However, these books will not be used in schools but are meant to help with advocacy.
The books include Religious Freedom of Minorities in Pakistan, Sindh Assembly and Minorities, National Assembly and Religious Minorities, Punjab Assembly and Religious Minorities and Hate Speech and Hate Material. All these books were published in both English and Urdu. Religious Freedom of Minorities in Pakistan highlights the legal issues faced by members of the minority communities.
Most students who adhere to religions other than Islam do not have any subject to substitute Islamiat with at school, said Advocate Hashim Raza, who is a senior member of SAP-PK.
The NGO also launched a survey report draft regarding the importance of ethics books in the course of government schools in the country. “We have drafted a research-based report regarding ethics books after interviewing a number of stakeholders, including students.”
While addressing participants at the launch, Raza said some students fail or face hurdles when Islamiat is given to them as a compulsory subject, instead of ethics or any other subject of their choice. “The relevant authorities should give space in the curricula to students who come from other religions.”
A member of All Pakistan Christian League, Stephen Ghauri, who was also present at the event, said people from various religious backgrounds participated in the movement against British and rendered sacrifices during Partition. He added hardly any minority member is mentioned in school books.
All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairman Haroon Sarbdiyal said they do not feel insecure in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as people there stand up for the rights of non-Muslims. However, he said, authorities should consider many non-Muslims were leaving the country and they should look into the reason behind this migration.
“The government should formulate laws based on equality instead of other grounds.”
At the end of the event, the books and the draft survey were put on display.
About the minorities’ bill, SAP regional head Sikandar Zaman said the minority rights commission bill has been drafted and it was the responsibility of parliamentarians to turn it into a law. “Punjab has outdone K-P in making this law and securing minority rights.”
Zaman maintained he was glad K-P had fewer cases of violence against non-Muslims as compared to other provinces.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.