Statistics by Diocese
by Catholic Population
(Click on the column title to sort by that column)
Note: The table above is generated with the most
recent data available for each diocese. Dioceses with
incomplete data may not appear in the table.
of Minorities in Pakistan
Junaid Qaiser is secretary general of Pakistan Minorities
the tragic events of 9/11, Pakistani establishment finally had to
set aside its’ traditional ideological hangovers and raise a
different slogan, “First of all Pakistan.” It was a matter of
coercion or choice one can’t say with a degree of confidence
nevertheless it was a visible policy shift from the ideologically
loaded past. This changed thinking gave birth to new hopes and new
fears for the religious minorities
the category of hope one can enlist the reversion to the system of
joint electorates during Election-2002 whereas the list of new
fears is pretty long. At least two churches, one missionary
hospital and a school became the new targets of the disposed Jihadis
(holy warriors). The unprecedented electoral gains of religious
right on the platform of Muttahida Majlis-I-Amal (United Action
Council) also add to such fears.
slogan “first of all Pakistan” employs that all the people
living in the country are Pakistanis without any consideration of
color, race or religion and that all of them have equal human
rights and are entitled to substantive citizenship as per the
vision of country’s founding fathers. Therefore it is now
expected that all Pakistanis would emerge as the moderate souls
and would contribute to develop the nation to meet the challenges
of new realities and requirements by rearranging their political,
social, intellectual, literary and scientific values.
the last 62 years the situation of minorities in Pakistan like the
general conditions in various fields has remained a matter of
serious concern. Professor Marvin G. Vonbom, of University of
Illinois, USA describes this situation in her article, Civil
society and democracy in Pakistan that “Pakistan is a state
owned by the Muslims but from their behavior it seems as if they
are a minority surrounded by hostile threats. In
this way they have developed a defensive mechanism that has no
rationale. These people think that
strengthening of minorities would be a threat to Pakistan and
Islam. The reality is completely opposite.
Though the Muslim rulers in the past had provided protection to
the minorities yet it is a historical fact that the minorities
were not given equal political status and equal political rights.”
political terms Pakistan experienced leadership from Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto to Zia-ul-Haq and from Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to
Nawaz Sharif all with different ideological orientations.Pakistan
Peoples party and it's leadership very much liberal and
progressive.The other Parties representing General Zia's legacy
used the slogans of Islam to perpetuate their narrow
self interests.Khawaja Khalid,an Afghan war vetern and a former Air
force officer has come on the national television to disclose Mian
Nawaz Sharif's meeting no less than Osama Bin Ladan.He admits in a
interview with local daily newspaper that Islamic leaders acting
as afghan war veterans had joined hand with Nawaz
Sharif to block Pakistan Peoples party's entry into power since
1988.These leaders played their part in toppling PPP regime
twice and tried to thwart the PPP in electoral processes.
Khalid Khawaja also stated that after Zia's death ,which has a
huge shock for our leaders,the group planned to counter the US
backed Liberal progressive Pakistan Peoples party.he stated that
we thought that an alliance of all major religious parties and
it's alliance with PMLN later in the general elections could block
PPP's way.He also stated ISI was thinking along the same
lines,we tried our best to make a MMA style (as done by the
Musharaf regime of 2002-2007 alliance with PMLN to bring these
parties in power.The agencies had planned to make Ghulam Mustafa
Jatoi,the prime minister in 1988,after all stalwarts like Jatoi,were defeated,the
establishment saw in Nawaz Sharif a possible player against
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto ....ISI hastily formed IJI when IJI
failed to form the Government.the establishment invited shaheed
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to become the prime minister ,soon
after the PPP government was formed ,we decided to counter and
resist th gvt in 1989,establishment believe that Benazir's Govt
will demage the cause of jihad.Khawaja Khalid also recalls about
five meetings took place between Nawaz Sharif and Osama Bin
Ladan.He clearly stated that it was Osama who rought the
Sharifs and the Saudi royals closer.These ties later strengthened
by the Sharifs..
the military regime headed by General Pervez Musharraf reached a
crossroad after the 9/11 tragedies in the United States of America
and to some extent had to break its nexus with the retrogressive
regime of Taliban in Afghanistan. So it became a defining moment
and Pakistan quite prudently decided to stand with the
international community on the issues of global terrorism and
human values. Traditionally Pakistani establishment had been
promoting religion colored nationalism that caused a lot of damage
to Pakistan and made life of the minorities pretty difficult.
Nonetheless the enlightened citizens and their civic organizations
continued to raise voice against that mindset.
now it is a history, but until 2001 the issue of separate
electorate system remained a key political concern for the
minorities in Pakistan. Historically it is true that Pakistan came
into being on the basis of separate electorate as demanded by the
Muslim minority in the united Sub-continent. After
Pakistan’s creation the two-nation theory should automatically
have ceased to exist as there was only one nation living in
Pakistan. But the right wing political parties continued to
consider the separate electorate as a base of the ideology of
idea of separate electorate was aimed at the partition of India.
Where as the minorities living in Pakistan today do not want any
kind of further partition of their homeland. Similarly
Quaid-i-Azam had dreamt of a developed, moderate, democratic state
which is evident from his 11th August 1947 speech in
the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. One hardly finds any
discussions on formation of a theocratic state in the
pre-partition meetings of the Muslim League. The religious parties
started such debate after the creation of Pakistan and ironically
they were opposed to the very idea of Pakistan. Religious
political parties have been opposing the idea of joint electorate
due to the fear that the minorities will vote Pakistan
peoples part Due to it's liberal progressive stance and
not vote for them because of their particular religious point of
Quaid-i-Azam’s Pakistan all the human beings were to be given
equal rights and status but our non-political rulers in an attempt
to remain in power and to suppress political forces divided the
nation on ethnic, religious and sectarian lines. Whenever
these rulers felt that they are confronted with a legitimacy
crisis they created prejudices to weaken the people. The
organizations based on religious, ethnic, linguistic and sectarian
prejudices were created in our country under the same philosophy.
In order to prolong his tenure in power and to weaken the
Pakistan Peoples’ Party, General Zia ul Haq used religion as a
tool and imposed separate electorate in the country in 1979.
It may be mentioned here that all the three Constitutions
passed in Pakistan in 1956, 1962 and 1973 respectively enforced a
joint electorate system.
of separate electorates for the minorities marginalized them from
the mainstream society and were reduced to the status of a
second-class citizen having no say in the politics. This
division effected the whole political environment and Muslims were
also divided on sectarian bases. Since 1979 Pakistan has
experienced worst form of sectarianism causing many killings. The
separate electorates damaged the social relationship of minorities
their neighboring Muslims. Under this system, minorities were cut
national main stream. They were deprived of their rights, because
no social or political relationship with the Muslims.
1985 Pakistan Peoples Party and various minority rights groups
became active to campaign for the restoration of the joint
electorates. After years of struggle in June 2000 these groups
collected more then 200,000 signatures within 40 days of a special
campaign. The victory came on January 17,2002 when the government
announced that the general elections will be held on the bases of
joint electorates. All the minorities and major political parties
except Muslim League (N) and Muslim religious parties welcomed the
decision. Initially the government took away the reserved seats
for the minorities in the National and provincial assemblies,
which later on at the demand of civil rights groups were restored.
elections 2002 and 2008 campaign showed that under the joint
electorates minorities got respect and honor. All the political
parties and the candidates have been
visiting minority community and had asked for their votes. Many
political parties gave tickets to Hindus and Christian candidates
on general seats.In the election 2002 From the whole country about
12 Hindu and Christian candidates contested elections on open
seats on different party tickets. However only one Hindu candidate
won the election on general seat for Sindh Assembly on the ticket
of National Alliance.
All most all the major political parties including the religious
right Muttahida Majlis-I-Amal nominated their candidates for the
views and the Objectives Resolution:
founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam in April 1944 said: “With
regard to the minorities, we Muslims will not stand behind any
civilized nation of the world. I am sure when
the time comes, the minorities living in different areas of our
country will see that their Muslim rulers are not only fair but
also generous and why not the tradition of Islam is like that.”
the eve of independence he reiterated that the minorities will be
given full protection in Pakistan no matter to which sect they
belong. Their religion, belief and faith will
be fully intact and protected in Pakistan. They
will have sufficient protection for their religion, faith, lives
and property and their culture. They will be
equal citizens of Pakistan enjoying equal rights without any
discrimination of colour or ethnicity.
the obscurantist forces who were unable to move resolutions like
Objectives Resolution in the life time of Quaid-i-Azam became
active right after his death and moved the Objective Resolution in
the Assembly under the leadership of Liaquat Ali Khan in March
1949. This was the biggest attack on the
minorities. Through this resolution an attempt
was made to make the non-Muslims second rate citizens of Pakistan.
This was an act of disloyalty to the Quaid-i-Azam and it
logically resulted in Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorship and passage of
the Blasphemy Law. Opposing this resolution in
the parliament, Suresh Chandar Chattopadhiya had said: “In our
view this resolution is totally unnecessary. What
is important is that we prepare a Constitution not that we pass an
ideological resolution explaining the aims and objectives of the
constitution. Until now we were thinking that
the religion will not be mingled with politics. Quaid-i-Azam
Mohammad Ali Jinnah had declared this in this very house.
But the resolution which has been moved now is based on
religion.” With the passage of the Objectives
Resolution Pakistani politics became a part of faith.
of the Law against Blasphem
blasphemy laws were legislated and subsequently made stricter to
ensure protection to the minorities. But their blatant abuse have
shown that even the Muslims were becoming victim of these laws.
The most recent example is provided by gory murder of one Danish
Robart in Sialkot jail,here I also want to mention Yusuf
Kizab murder in the Kot Lakhpat Jail by an activist of the banned
Sipahe-i-Sahaba. Yusuf had been sentenced to death sentence under
the blasphemy laws. The worst example was the suicide of Father
John Joseph on May 6, 1998. Dr Joseph, the Bishop of Faisalabad,
committed suicide in front of the Sessions Court, Sahiwal to
protest against the death sentence of a Christian Ayub Masih,
pronounced by the court under the blasphemy law.
The blasphemy law was enacted by the British to protect the
religious sentiments of the Muslim minorities in the subcontinent
against the Hindu majority. After the creation of Pakistan as the
Muslims were no more a minority, the law should have been
abolished. But it was made more stringent: Section 295-A was
enacted in 1927 (Pakistan Penal Code). In 1980, Section 298-A was
inserted. In 1982, Section 295-B was introduced. In 1986, Section
295-C was legislated. In 1991, life imprisonment was replaced with
the mandatory death penalty in the Section 295-C.
When the blasphemy laws were not harsh and the Muslims were
tolerant towards the non-Muslim minorities, the latter remained
mindful of the religious feelings of the former. As the majority
grew intolerant towards the minorities and the capital punishment
was incorporated in the law, the cases of blasphemy started
occurring more frequently. From 1948-1979, 11 cases of blasphemy
were registered. Only three were reported from 1979-1986.
Forty-four cases were filed from 1987-1999. In 2000, 52 cases were
registered - 43 against the Muslims and nine against the
After Jinnah's death, the ruling elite embraced the Machiavellian
politics of the colonial rulers and divided the nation on
religious, sectarian and linguistic bases. The blasphemy law is an
integral part of this baleful politics that has made Pakistan a
deeply divided society. History is full of incidents that remind
us of the great love, amity, unity, and affinity between the
Muslims and the non-Muslims.
Every other day we hear reports of someone being charged of
blasphemy and the judges on duty award death sentence to such
people when the charges are proven. In Pakistan
the blasphemy law has often been used for settling personal scores.
President General Musharraf had announced amendment to this
law but later he had to back out. The higher
court have not endorsed death sentence in any blasphemy case so
far but the extremists have been misusing this law to harass the
minorities. Even if the allegations prove false
the person leveling such charges is not punished. Whenever
such an incident takes place it harms Pakistan’s image in
general. Religious fanaticism is very common in
Pakistan and because of absence of a political process people tend
to use force and gun for settling the issues.
Zia regime and his legacy headed by Pakistan Muslim
League created an environment in which murder in the name of Islam
became a legitimate act. A number of innocent
people have been charged with blasphemy and killed in the name of
Islam. It is a fact that no sensible and sane
person can ever think of doing any such thing. Personal
enmities can clearly be seen behind the blasphemy cases.
We find “personal enmities”, “fictitious stories”
and “planning” behind the massacre in Shantinagar,Gojra,Sambrial
and Bahmniwal. The gory drama of murder and
arson staged in Shantinagar is still live in the memories of the
local people. In Gojra and Shantinagar, houses
of Christians were set on fire, churches were demolished, hostels
for boys and girls were destroyed and thousands of copies of the
Holy Bible were burnt right in the presence of the police. In
Gojra innocent Women Children's and even animals burnt alive. People
have been killed and stoned to death in our country using the
section of law 295 C. How many houses have been
destroyed to get a house in the heavens?
and civil rights
is simple formula about the rights. If
political and civil rights are granted, economic, social and
cultural rights automatically follow. There is
no country in the world where the whole population consists of
only one ethnic or social group. In all the
countries several minorities groups are a part of their population.
The relationship between the minority and the majority is
the yardstick through which we can judge the level of freedom in a
particular country. Rights of the minorities
are important to all those people who respect human liberties.
No such country can be called a liberal democracy that does
not recognize, enforce and respect the rights of minorities.
we talk about the rights of minorities the purpose is to promote a
diverse society where people of various groups respect each other
and are ready to learn from and understand each other.
Such interaction forms the basis of stronger relations
between the people of a diverse society. The
awareness of rights of the minorities is increasing all over the
world and this awareness in particularly increasing in the
underdeveloped and extremist countries. The
most important right among the rights of minorities is to let them
participate in the decision making process.
the minorities have not been given full political and civil rights
in Pakistan. Under the law no non-Muslim, no
matter how intelligent and capable be, can’t become the
President, Prime Minister, a senator, a governor or the Chief
Justice of Pakistan. Many judges have been transferred from the
high courts only because of their religion or sect considering the
fact that holding this position they might become chief justice
one day. The government must realize that the loyalties of the
minorities cannot be won by depriving them of civil and political
rights. Rather those can be won by giving them
more and more opportunities to make decisions about their future.
This diversity should not be taken as a threat but as an
additional asset. Only this can bring peace and
harmony among various groups and people.
social prejudices and discrimination
one glances the school textbooks or watches the programs at the
state-run media they appear to be full of religious prejudice and
hatred. The majoritarian view dominates in them. We find in our
degree level textbooks that there are only two nations in the
world: one the Muslims and the other non-Muslims. Under
such conditions national solidarity cannot be developed. The
tragedy with the minorities in Pakistan has been that they are
always viewed with an eye of skepticism. In every field they are
treated with extreme indifference and apathy. The
plight and problems of the minorities have never been included in
the national political agenda.
the governments in Pakistan admitted their mistakes when they were
ousted from power. They also assured that the
mistakes would not be repeated in future. After
being ousted from power the Muslim League (N) and Peoples Party
realized that the minorities have been facing discrimination.
The code of ethics issued by the ARD at the time of its
formation and the commitment it had made to the nation, also
included the point that no one will be discriminated on the basis
of religion or gender.
among various complaints the minorities have in Pakistan is that
the Pakistani media has ignored them throughout the past 62
years. The majority community owns most of the
national press and the government controls the electronic media.
Our governments in the past used the electronic media only
for disseminating their own views.
and ethnic minorities and marginalized communities like haris (landless
peasants), the newspapers often ignore kiln workers, children,
women and rural areas. As far as the electronic
media is concerned, the doors of electronic media are closed for
the minorities. No programs about the problems
of minorities are ever broadcast through the electronic media.
The attitude of Pakistani media towards the poets, writers,
journalists and artists from the minority communities has been
deplorable. Journalists, writers and
intellectuals cherishing the minority views are not given any
opportunity to propagate their views
Christian girls and women become target of religious hatred and
are dishonored. The culprits are not punished.
The nationalization of Christian educational institutions
not only affected their performance but also darkened the future
of Christian youth. This has created a vacuum
and a crisis. The Christians do not get
admissions in their own educational institutions. Because
of the religious discrimination and social prejudices intelligent
people from the minorities move to United States, Canada and
European countries. In the jails minority
prisoners are not given the same facilities, which the Muslim
prisoners get. When the government allots lands
to the landless tenants, minority tenants are not given a share.
The rulers do not find it necessary to consult the
minorities while taking any important decisions regarding them.
Instead of taking a critical view of their own thoughts,
approach and policies the rulers prefer to adopt an uncertain and
ambiguous attitude. Whenever the minorities
demand their rights, they are told that they enjoy the freedom and
security to go to their places of worship and offer their prayers
but now it is a question of rights and equal rights rather mere
security and freedom to worship.
on churches and Christian institutions: A new trend
Pakistan’s decision to join the global war against terrorism
some elements of the outlawed religious extremist organizations
have launched a violent campaign to stop government’s moves to
promote a liberal and progressive image of Pakistan. First,
Christian churches were their target but now the offices of NGOs
have also being targeted. Innocent Christians
are being killed in these terrorist attacks. Despite
all the measures taken by the government, religious fanaticism is
still prevalent in Pakistan. From the
Bahawalpur Church to the Justice and Peace Commission office and
the Gojra, innocent people were brutally killed and burnt alive.
All these incidents have created a feeling of insecurity
among the minorities. Many more incidents of
this kind are possible looking at the level of extremism in
between minorities and state
society becomes isolated when conflicts of interest among various
classes and groups start deepening. Among the
societies of third world countries this isolation and indifference
is growing very fast. Avoiding responsibilities
is the biggest indicator of this trend in these societies. An
individual finds the meanings of his life in a political and
social background but if the polity is indifferent towards him
then the individual becomes socially and politically isolated.
Every individual and group creates meanings of its own
existence. If that is not possible then people
get into social and political isolation. The
main factor behind this isolation and indifference is the society,
which is based on injustice and inequality. Separate
electorates promoted an unjust society in which our political
institutions and rulers had no contact with the minorities.
In an unjust society people tend to find refuge in regional,
religious and ethnic loyalties rather than the national loyalties.
In Pakistan Sindhi, Baluch and Pathan nationalism,
affiliation with ethnic, religious and minority groups gives
psychological and social satisfaction to the people. But
these loyalties lead to divisions and further divisions in a
society. Because of this division and uncertain
social, economic and political conditions no collective Pakistani
culture has taken shape so far. This cultural
chaos has made people indifferent towards the society.
There is no collective objective nor is there any sense of
collective responsibility. So much so that we
are not ready to even trust each other. The
concept welfare government emerges when through social evolution a
society realizes that it is responsible for the fundamental rights
of all its citizens. Unfortunately, in Pakistan
governments have never been responsible for the fundamental rights.
They excluded the minorities from the fold of Pakistani
nation by introducing separate electorate. The
“prolonged silence” of the rulers over the problems of
minorities is clear evidence that the relationship between the
minorities and the state has continuously been that of
disappointment, isolation and indifference.
minorities will not get all their rights in a flash of time.
Continuity of political process is required for restoration
of their rights and the entire nation must work for that.
We believe if the political process continues and proper
laws and rules are there only then political violence, religious
extremism and intolerance will come to an end and a liberal
society can come into being. A real democracy,
which respects the rights of all its citizens, will get roots.
Democracy requires a collective diverse society and good
human being are born in a diverse society. The
philosophy of nationalism develops only through this process.
Junaid Qaiser is secretary general of Pakistan Minorities
Minorities Conference, 2009
12th and 13th, 2009
on 11th Dec, 09)
For an Electoral Reforms
of Political scienceForman Christian College
Honorable Syeda Abida Hussain, Former
Ambassador to United States
Honorable Aitizaz Ahsan, Member Central
Executive Committee PPP
Ajmal Niazi, Eminent scholar and
My very dear friend eminent scholar,
National Poet, Political Analyst, Journalist, Nazir
Joseph Francis, council
member Human rights commission Pakistan
Chair man, All Pakistan
Mr. Arjun Das Amar, Co-ordinator Hindu
Senior Advocate sindh
My Parsi Friends
Organizers and Officials of the Conference, Ladies and Gentle
would love to code father of the Nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah
a press conference in New Delhi on 14th July 1947
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali. Jinnah said
to which communities they may belong, will be fully safeguarded,
their religion or faith or belief will be secure. There will be no
interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will
have full protection with regard to their religion, their faith,
their life and culture. They will be in all respect the citizens
of Pakistan with out any distinction of caste or creed” (for
reference see ideology and dynamics of politics in Pakistan by
Muhammad Asif Malik and Tamkeen Anjum, Gold
is quite obvious now that there was no leader in the sub continent
of Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Caliber who fought for the
political and constitutional rights of not only Muslims but and
all suppressed minorities of the sub continent.
In his “famous fourteen points” Mr.
Jinnah highly focused on the “minorities’ issue”
fourteen points see Point No 3,5,7,8 for reference
no 03 which says:
legislatures in the country and others and other elected bodies
shall be constituted on the definite principle of adequate and “effective
representation of minorities” in every province with out
reducing a majority in any province to a minority or even equality”
no 05 says:
of communal groups
shall continue to be by means of separate electorates as at
present provided it shall be open to any community, at any time to
abandon its separate electorate in favor of joint electorate”
i.e. liberty of belief, worship and observance, propaganda
association and education shall be guaranteed to all communities”
no 8 says:
bill or resolution or any part there of shall be passed in any
legislature or any other elected body if three fourths of the
members of any community in that particular body oppose such a
bill, resolution or part there of on the ground that it would be
“ injurious to the interests” of that community
or in the alternative such other method is devised as may be found
feasible and practicable to deal with such cases”
again it is a “highly appreciated step”
of the previous government to introduce “joint
electorates” in Pakistan. Now the PPP government
also decided to continue with it. But the minorities were shocked
once again that the PPP government despite its promise has not
fulfilled its promise to give due representation to the minorities
in the upper house (Senate).
his Speech of 11th August 1947 in the constituent assembly
Muhammad Ali Jinnah has given the very clear road map regarding
the new state of Pakistan and especially the “role of the
minorities” in it.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah Said:
should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all
these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the
Hindu community- because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans,
Punjabis Shias Sunnis and so on and among the Hindus you have
Brahmans, Vashnavas, Khatris also Bengalees, Madrasis and so on
will vanish” (For Reference Please see Fifty years of Pakistan,
By Prof Rafi ullah Shahab, Page 55 to 59 and Ideology and Dynamics
of Politics in Pakistan By Muhammad Asif Malik and Tamkeen Anjum
Gold medalist Government Fatima Jinnah College
for Women )
Muhammad Ali Jinnah has a clear picture in his mind about the
foundations of the new state of Pakistan that’s why Eminent
Scholar Prof. Zulfiqar Ali Maluka quotes Mr.
Jinnah’s words in his interview to Mr. Don Campbell, the “Reuters
correspondent” in New Delhi.
instance in an interview he gave in 1946 to Don Campbell, the
Reuter correspondent in New Delhi, he asserted : The New
state would be a modern democratic state with sovereignty resting
in the people and the members of the new nation having equal
rights of citizenship regardless of their
religion ,caste or creed”( For reference See Page No
71 The Myth of Constitutionalism in Pakistan by Prof Zulfiqar
Khalid Maluka printed in Pakistan at Pan Graphics Pvt ltd
Islamabad Published by Oxford university Press 05-Banglaore road
town shahrae Faisal P.O Box Karachi -75350,Pakistan)
ever the nomination of “Mr. Khato Mal Jevan” on
the General seat for the senate is again a highly appreciated step
of the PPP government.
could have been highly appreciated step of the government that
along with the reserve seats of technocrats and women in the
Senate, the minority seats could have been also declared
through the “legislation of the parliament”
or through the “presidential ordinance”.
once again the minorities of Pakistan are deprived of their
legislative rights in the upper house (senate). The current
electoral method of representation of the minorities through “so
called joint electorates” in the (lower house)
National Assembly is undemocratic and unconstitutional in its
spirit, because it is “merely a selection of a few
people” through various political parties and not an
election. So these selected people are not the
true representatives of the minority communities.
there is an urgent need for an “electoral reform”.
Thus it’s very important that the government should introduce
new electoral laws for the “true representation of the
The beauty of a democracy
is election campaign, banners, loud speaker, introduction of
polices to the electorates, introduction of reforms and programs
in the election campaigns. But unfortunately minorities are
deprived of such activities
for the true representation of minorities obviously, free and fare
election on the minority seats are important through joint
electorates. A selection or nomination of few persons from the
minority community is Undemocratic, unconstitutional and against
the spirit of modern liberal democracy and against the spirit of
representative democracy. Because these selected persons are not
loyal to the minority communities and infact are not the “true
representatives” of the minorities but actually they
are more loyal to the various political parties
who selected them.
it is very important to take appropriate measures for the true
representation of the minorities through “genuine joint
electorates”. So it’s very clear that for the
healthy democratic norms (Healthy democratic culture) the
government should give the “Right of Double vote”
to the minority communities on provincial and National level under
joint electorate system (mechanism can be finalized through
constituting a national commission on minority representation)
because “selection on minority seats”
will not be healthy norms and is against the spirit of
joint electorates and it is also against the spirit of modern
liberal democracy and representative democracy.
in other words people from the minority communities, I mean
(Minority voters or electorates)
must be given a right to choose their own candidates.
we will not give minorities of Pakistan “A
RIGHT OF VOTE” to
choose their own candidates than how we will be able to inculcate
political values, politcl awareness and political consciousness in
them. How the suppressed and depressed minorities of Pakistans
will understand the Power of a vote or Electorate.
the Permanent and proper interaction between
the various minority leaders and the minority voters or
electorates is very important to address long standing minority
problems (economic backwardness, lack of education, lack of
pure drinking water and sanitation in backward areas.
it is the “demand of the minority communities”
to President of Pakistan “Mr. Asif Ali Zardari”
and to the Prime Minister of Pakistan “Syed Yousaf Raza
Gilani” to please issue an
ordinance or introduce a bill in the parliament for the true
minority representation in the National Assembly and in the senate
is also a fact that minorities of Pakistan have always supported
Pakistan People’s Party because of its modern liberal
democratic policies since 1970 and will continue to
support PPP. The minorities believe that only PPP government can
solve all the problems of the suppressed and depressed communities
Minorities also believe that following the step of Quad I-
Awam “Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto” and “Shaeed-a-
Jamhoorit Muhtarma Benazair Bhutto”
and with the great and dynamic leader ship of President
of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, very soon Pakistan will become a
and the dreams of father of the Nation Quaid-1-Azam Muhammad Ali
Jinnah will come true.
do agree with Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto that
is the Best Revenge”
and democracy means government of the people by the people and for
the people so why the minorities of Pakistan is deprived of their
right to choose their own representatives
is also a matter of pride for the Pakistani nation that shahheda
jumhooriat Muhatarma Benazir Bhutto was honored human rights award
by participants and
Refresher Programme on
beyond frontiers: Overcoming controls, disparities,
injustices and domination
22 to 29 January 2006
superpowers and neo-liberalists continue to devastate
Pakistan and its innocent peoples
Seldom do journalistic organisations dare to initiate
events in a country where extremism has become the order
of the day. Though a journalistic programme is highly
risky, it is very important to dare holding such noble
ventures in view of the welfare not only of the people
living in the country but also for the dignity of humanity
The formation sessions brought together journalists and
other intellectuals and activists from various sectors of
peoples in Pakistan, South Asia and other parts of the
world. The programme was highly solicited from all over
the world, and at the same time had to be kept away from
wider publicity for obvious reasons of safety and
effectiveness. It was also important to assure the
speakers that their audience can listen, analyse and judge
for the welfare of all rather than react blindly.
And all the ingredients have to be set well in advance
in spite of all the odds so that the event can have its
expected results: getting to know the realities of
Pakistan from those who love to see peoples of Pakistan
grow, enable all those who are concerned so that concrete
initiatives are taken on all levels, sustain all efforts
for making information available from all areas, and take
urgent actions when and wherever necessary.
The participants and speakers were committed to the
ideals of the programme and they explored the theme
through lively sessions on various issues and in various
places. The event joined hands with the social and human
rights activists as well as with those who have been
struggling for numerous noble causes, such as the
protection of women, children, the weak and the natural
world as well as anti-militarization, fundamental freedoms,
and the dignity of individuals and institutions. Together,
they addressed the most important issues through various
This report brings you a summary of the findings,
observations, plans and hopes for the coming years.
2. Theme and Keynote Speakers
The theme “Journalism beyond frontiers: overcoming
controls, disparities, injustices and domination” was
chosen in order to accommodate the most pressing issues.
Keynote speakers were exceptionally frank and open, daring
and friendly. The participants had the privilege and
honour of listening to highly qualified experts: Dr Shafiq
Jullandhry of the University of Punjab; former fighter
pilot and now professor, Cecil Chaudhry; Archbishop
Lawrence John Saldanha of Lahore; High Court advocate Dr
Khalil Tahir; Dr. Bonnie Mendes of the Human Development
Centre; human rights activist Asma Jehangir, Amir (Head)
of the Ahmadiyya community at Lahore Chudery Hameed
Nasrullah; historian and analyst Dr Mehdi Hassan;
community peace activist Samson Dilawar; education expert
Tasneem Tassadaq; and Senator from Belochistan Sana Bloch.
3. Summary of Findings
There was a general understanding during the programme
that the world should know what is happening inside the
nation of Pakistan. Unfortunately, news sometimes
fabricated about terrorism and extremism blankets out the
really serious issues that need greater attention.
Meanwhile, puppet politicians are under the control of
powerful forces outside the country. Some keynote speakers
strongly made the point that Pakistanis have become slaves
3.1. Facts and Historical Mile Stones
Pakistan with its 160 million people is the sixth most
populated country in the world. Sunni Muslims form 80
percent and thus the majority of the population. More than
15 percent are Shiite Muslims and the rest belong to
minorities. More than 80 million live in extreme poverty.
It was the Muslim League together with United Kingdom
that divided Bengal into East and West Bengal. In the same
way, the United Kingdom and Muslim League created Pakistan
dividing northwest Indian states. Pakistan was not founded
on the basis of religion, though religion was used to
create Pakistan. Later, the whole concept of the nation
was shaped from one religious point of view. Like Israel,
Pakistan has been shaped by religious dictates and not by
social contracts. The president and prime minister have to
be Muslims. This is the first and fundamental
On 23 March 1956 Pakistan became republic. The
constitution was abolished in 1958. A new constitution was
drafted in 1962 giving some basic democracy in East
Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. In 1971,
Bangladesh was born amidst bloody conflicts. A new
constitution was drafted again in 1973 and the nation
became Islamic Republic of Pakistan under Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto. In 1984 Ahmadiyya Muslims were considered
non-Muslims by law.
As Islamisation progressed, there was no room for free
thinking, social rules, conventions and agenda. In March
1949, the parliament had passed a preamble to the
constitution, in which everything has to be thought and
accomplished only in terms of Islam. The worst Pakistani
dictator was General Zia ul Haq (1977-1988) made this
resolution part of the constitution after removing the
word “freely”. He did this under martial law without
the approval of the parliament.
Through the 8th constitutional amendment, General Zia
ul Haq made everything he did legal and it was no more
possible to challenge him in any court. And at present,
Pakistan is struck with these laws and amendments.
General Zia ul Haq introduced religion-based separate
electorates in 1979 and Blasphemy law and Khadiyani
ordinance against Ahmadiyya Muslims in 1984 It favoured
only extremists, not even ordinary Muslims. After 25 years
of struggle, the separate electorate was abolished in
1994. But the indoctrination, disenfranchising and the
denial of a vote damaged the psyche of the nation.
All these led to Pakistan where it is today.
3. 2. Frontline State for Opportunists, Militarisation
Speaking in terms of religion, Pakistan was used by
extremist leaders inside and outside Pakistan to establish
an Islamic State.
In political terms, Militarisation is the major enemy
of the innocent. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
(NATO) and its super power members used Pakistan, even
when it was not ethical or just, to form a military ring
in the form of the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO)
around the former Soviet Union. CENTO members included
Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom.;
puppet kings were installed in Syria and Iraq.
This helped extremists to promote fundamentalism under
the pretext of common theism together with Christian
superpowers against the communist and allegedly atheistic
Soviet Union. It was all “beautifully” interpreted as
joining of theist forces against atheists.
This theist alliance helped Pakistan to qualify in
spite of some of the worst human right records on earth
for the Military Aid Programme (MAP) and the country began
to become heavily militarised with the support of the US.
This led to all types of weapons getting into the hands of
Islamic extremist groups.
There are three major periods when Pakistan emerged and
re-emerged as a frontline military state: (a) during the
expansion of the Soviet Union, (b) during the Soviet
occupation of Afghanistan and (c) the war against the
Taliban, the war in Iraq, and the continuing search for
the so-called Bin Laden.
Talibans were totally backed by Pakistan military, as
they were Sunnite Muslims, the majority population of
And all these were very much in line with the tradition
of the USA together with its allies creating monsters that
turn against them: Soviet Union, Saddam Hussein and Ousama
Bin Laden are just a few examples.
Like in the past two emergences of Pakistan as
frontline state during the expansion of Soviet Union and
occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet Union, a sword was
hanging over Pakistan on even on 10 September 2001:
everything was going against Pakistan. The country was at
the verge of being declared as a terrorist state,
“Madrasas” were everywhere, people were sent to
Kashmir to fight, and nuclear weapons were developed. Mr
Bush talked about Pervez Musharaff: who was that guy? And
suddenly, 9/11 (attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001)
changed the whole scenario. Mr Bush called Mr Musharraff
his good friend.
Under the excuse of attacks in the USA on 11 September
2001, Afghanistan and Iraq were attacked in 2001 and 2003
respectively. These attacks are clearly seen in Pakistan
as empowering Israel in its military might, bringing
business and money to the USA, its allies, to Pakistani
dictator Musharaff and his friends, as well as the best
opportunity to continue militarisation of Pakistan and the
continuation of military dictatorship.
Some of the resource persons and elected
parliamentarians and senators affirmed that friends of
Musharaff are not friends of Pakistan. People in Pakistan
need water, shelter and food and not the present or future
US military bases. As the present dictatorship wants to
get Pakistan more militarised, all the chief ministers
have to behave as agents of the president dictator. If any
people try to simply demand their basic rights, they are
considered terrorists. According these resource persons,
Pakistan has been sold to USA and it is at Washington that
the fate of Pakistanis is decided. Resources such as
natural gas are stolen especially from the province of
Belochistan – people of Belochistan are not paid
anything for their own natural resources -- and the
continued militarisation will gradually take everything
from people and in some areas they are already chased.
The results of extremism and militarisation are
illiteracy (more than half of the population is illiterate),
falling levels of education, absence of free media (television
is the worst enemy of literacy according to some experts),
absence of freedoms on all levels and of civil society
initiatives, military dictatorships one after another,
extreme poverty, an information-starved society, absence
of law and order, corruption, communal conflicts,
discriminatory laws, violence against women, child labour,
concentration of wealth, arms race, and brainwashing.
3.3. Illiteracy and Falling Levels of Education
Probably the biggest problem in the country is the
illiteracy. According to some statistics, more than
75percent of the population is illiterate. Experts affirm
that one can not trust national or international
statistics as they would count any one who can figure out
alphabets as literate, though they can not understand the
meaning of a phrase or sentence.
Due to heavy Islamisation, illiteracy spread and
Pakistan has become a country with few intellectuals.
There is no place for intellectuals or intellectual
exchanges. As Pakistan has become an Islamic state,
Islamic laws are in effect. There is not even the
possibility to debate basic human rights, international
conventions or laws that would help regain the fundamental
freedoms of people. Conversion is a one-way business:
people can be converted only to Islam and not from Islam
to another religion. There is no possibility for bringing
education to the masses. One of the keynote speakers said
that they were losing the battle of education and the
level of education is going down due to an Islamic agenda,
which promotes extremists religious schools known as
“madrasas” where children are even kept chained.
In addition, due to imposed and frequent religious
practices and popularisation of television, people do not
have time or interest to read. One of the keynote speakers
affirmed that television is the great enemy of literacy
and television has done the most harm, as it is an
instrument that can be easily used by extremists,
politicians, superpowers and others.
And, in an illiterate world, print media has no place!
And those who read or look at newspapers want more photos
of scandals, attacks on persons and “juicy” elements.
Actually illiteracy has helped electronic media to grow,
not in the field of journalism but in the field of
extremism, violence, entertainment, sports and others.
Television has made people remain dependent forever.
Such environments are fertile soil for despotic rulers
and extremist religious leaders to grow up and to bend
rules and laws and even the constitution of a nation
according to their whims and fancies.
There are very few good schools in Pakistan. There is
no good education to analyse and synthesise, but to
memorize everything. It is highly important that analysis
and synthesis should help form the minds of children
between 2 and 6 years so that they can develop rational
To make matters worse, in spite of the great absence of
basic education, students are promoted and they even reach
to do even masters in the universities. There they often
stage protest walkouts when they do not simply understand
things saying they are out of syllabus!! And very often,
religious extremists who want to make troubles use these
ignorant students to demonstrate and break things.
These are the people who man or woman government
offices. Many of these offices are not computerized; they
do not generate ample and varied information. It is these
type of people a military dictatorship want to see.
Pakistan is and will remain for a long time an information
poor society. People have no possibility to make a right
or wise decision and there is no concept of information
3.4. Blasphemy Law
The worst ruler of Pakistan General Zia Ul Haq brought
in without the knowledge of people the notorious Blasphemy
law in 1984. Under Blasphemy law any one can be arrested
under the pretext that he or she desecrated Islam even in
an imaginary way: any one can say that somebody burned
Koran, or a page by accident, walked over it, or its pages
somewhere in a dirty market. Of the people arrested under
this law are 70 percent Muslims and 13 percent Christians.
The others are non-recognised Muslims and other minorities.
Since the enforcement of this law, attacks against
minorities have steadily gone up.
Blasphemy law has helped ignite all extremist religious
flavours and zeal, that even the courts can not
effectively intervene. If the court has taken a right
decision and the extremist are not happy, the judges, the
accused, their defendants are murdered outside the court.
The Blasphemy law gave rise to religious intolerance
and to breeding ground for fanatics not only within
religious circles but also within the police and military.
Therefore even the despotic rulers are afraid: if they do
not keep in line with the extremists, they can be killed.
Under this law, no pictures of prophets such as Abraham
and Moses are allowed to be exhibited, printed or
distributed even by Christians who have honoured these
prophets several centuries before Islam and in spite of
the fact that Christianity allows them to reproduce their
Blasphemy law has given a shot in the arm to the
extremists and the government is forced to guard mosques,
churches and temples. Extremists take all the advantage of
illiteracy and blasphemy law.
3. 5. Laws and Violence against Women
Violence against women and harassment of girls are on
the increase together with the religious chauvinism,
extremism and militarisation of the country. Statistics
show that every two minutes a woman is raped in Pakistan.
The worst of this phenomenon is that rape can be even
“legal” according to some interpretations and in some
contexts. In some places, women are gang-raped after
decision of illiterate members of village councils. One of
such cases has become international news bringing some
attention to the fate of women in Pakistan and in the
The notorious Hudood ordinance against women presumes
that the woman is always guilty and she has to prove that
she is innocent. It is impossible or not possible to
prove. According to this law, women constitute only half
evidence. Under Hudood ordinance, rape victims are in jail
because they can not prove rape. Without money they can
not have a medical certificate. And even if they find
money, because of threats, doctors would not dare to
attend or give medical certificate to a rape victim to
prove her innocence at court. Besides judges are
prejudiced. And male domination is everywhere.
This law practically put women into a prison from their
birth. Discriminatory laws like these gave birth to
“honour killings” which is practised by chauvinists to
cover up their other sexual relationships.
Extremist and discriminatory laws have reduced women to
objects and slaves not only in Pakistan but also worldwide.
3.6. Child Labour
Child labour is another method of ensuring illiterate
and submissive societies forever. It is on the increase.
It is a convenient arrangement not only for extremists,
but also for the rich multinationals of the world, who
want to keep the major parts of the world poor.
Mostly rich nations, multinationals and their
intermediaries employ children. They promote children
rights only for their own children. Because of the big
importance media give to terrorism, nobody get the news
about children in bonded labour for many years.
The children are employed to make footballs -- one out
of three footballs in the world and used at soccer
tournaments are made by Pakistani children --, carpets and
bricks. Some multinationals have attached schools to their
factories to respond to human rights claims, but seldom
children have the occasion to go there.
3.7. Corruption, Military, Dictatorship, Absence of Law
Pakistan is a country where there are no rules, law and
order or security. It is total chaos like in Pakistani
roads where there are no traffic rules. The result is the
survival of the fittest, such as army leaders and
It is a nation of dictatorship, corruption and
injustice. There is no democracy, no true opposition. It
is all popularly known as “Topy Drama” (hat drama,
referring to military and business leaders becoming
presidents and prime ministers and putting on the hat for
the occasion). According to some analysts the whole
purpose of Pakistani politics is to keep President
Musharaff in his place. And no one free in this country,
not even NGOs and human rights organisations. The
landlords are partisans of this game. They live luxurious
life in highly protected and vast areas. They behave as if
they are above all laws.
And the USA and United Kingdom want first of all
business and money, they support this type of people. The
present Prime Minister of Pakistan is a Citibank employee
who still draws salary from the Citibank.
Some years ago corruption was so general that banks,
housing societies and co-operatives were all fake. People
lost lots of money and the owners and managers of these
enterprises are all wandering free and make even more
money through cheating and illicit ways.
Those who become leaders or make money in this country
are those who make noise or those who can convince
illiterate people through tricks. For example, a man, who
was selling fake medicines wanted to prove that he was
serious. He pulled out his picture from his pocket and
shouted: “Look at this picture, this is me and I am
genuine!” People bought all the fake medicines from him
and he disappeared to another town to make more money.
It is dangerous to touch the army as it has monopolised
everything: election, weapons, business and politics. In
this context, no one here expect democracy to have the
order of the day but upper handedness. And no one here
expects or is in position to work assuming that everything
would be all right soon!
High courts, supreme courts, religious courts are all
corrupt and no one believes that these institutions will
help Pakistanis. They are set up to the enjoyment of a few
rich and make them richer.
One main reason for not getting aid to the October 2005
earthquake areas is believed to be that fact that they
were all Muslim areas and they were not allowing for many
years non-Muslims to come and settle there. Besides, with
the help of outside forces, most of the money allotted as
grants for war against terrorism and support for
earthquake victims are in the banks of Europe and USA.
Even containers of blankets given to the earthquake
victims are sold in the markets.
Those who hold this country in their clutches by
military, financial and religious forces can all escape in
any eventuality. Their homes, wives and children are all
registered abroad in the Middle East, Europe and North
America. They use this country as a market place, where
only violence, corruption, trick and cheating are the
norms. Even the leaders who were democratically elected
are all outside the nation and they can not come back to
the country under present dictatorship.
In a recent survey more than 95 percent of the people
said that politics is cheating and it is a game for rich
people. And where will the majority of this people go, if
something happens in this country in the name of
preventive war against terrorism, increased militarisation
by demolishing villages and towns, storing the most
sophisticated and dangerous traditional and modern
chemical and nuclear weapons?
There can not be democracy without good mass media or
vice versa. Before print media came to existence,
knowledge was monopoly of the elite. In Pakistan, we are
coming back to this age, as majority of the media are in
the hands of a few powerful.
The media in the country are totally restricted, as
freedom of expression, freedom to know, and freedom of
access to information are not guaranteed in the
constitution of Pakistan. Newspapers are considered
undesirable and dangerous objects such as firearms,
alcohol and brothels. All these are in the same category
and they have to get a licence as one get licence for
Like in the renaissance period in Europe, in today’s
Pakistan printing can be treason against state as written
word spreads knowledge, is easily consultable and can be
reproduced by anyone anywhere.
And Pakistan has a tragic history of distorting media
and not telling the truth to the people. When media can
not reflect the will of the people and the reflect the
society as it is, they can not help the advancement of a
nation. Media was completely distorted and the needs of
the people of Bangladesh were not made known to the
public, and all these led to bloody conflicts before the
liberation of Bangladesh.
It seems that the same history is being repeated in a
different way in the province of Belochistan where the
present dictatorship is building military bases with the
support of USA.
Electronic media are completely corrupted. There is no
journalism at electronic media. Television is purely used
for advertising, entertainment, vested agenda and
propaganda. Multinationals make media publicity boards and
those media, which go for those unethical business make
lot of money. And the illiterate are forced to buy
televisions and sit and watch it like fools from 8 to 12
hours a day, as they have no agenda of their own.
Islamisation has made media Islamic. The private
channels are Islamic. In addition, Islamic groups have
influenced even foreign media such as British Broadcasting
The military and business friendship with the USA and
United Kingdom (UK) has destroyed the media in the United
States and UK which were silenced or “did not want” to
give voice to a well-known gang-rape victim, as this would
have hurt the feelings of Pakistani Prime Minister who was
visiting the USA.
In these circumstances, some print media are trying
their best to make a difference, defying the unjust status
quo. They pay a heavy price as their journalists are
detained without charge or even killed. Very often their
publications and publishing houses are closed down or
burned in the name of religion or national security.
In spite of these threats, independent print media and
web publications mainly owned by human rights groups,
minorities and citizens associations try their best to get
the news from Pakistan to the world outside.
3.9. NGOs, Civil Society, Citizen Rights
Like the print media non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
made great contributions to the development of the peoples
of Pakistan. But many of them are manipulated like the
media by religious extremists, superpowers and military.
A manipulated NGO has better possibilities for survival
and access to money. This way many NGOs are created here
only to get funds from abroad.
There are movements to create NGOs for awareness,
rational and critical thinking in a country where people
are fooled easily and led to blind emotionalism due to
illiteracy and poverty.
The refresher programme was able to join forces to a
few selected NGOs who have been trying to expose the
brutalities in Pakistan supported by external powers.
3.10. Evils of Islamisation
Pakistan was gradually led to an Islamic state from its
very artificial inception by religious extremists and
money-hungry United Kingdom and the USA who wanted to sell
weapons, fighter planes and ammunitions to two countries
instead of one and later on three or more.
Such eternal “divide and rule” policy helped
extremists to introduce Islamisation without much effort.
Soon they introduced Muslim laws, forced women to stay
within four walls, stoning, cutting hands and heads were
introduced as punishments for silly mistakes, and
minorities began to be eliminated.
Everything was interpreted according to religion and
groups like Sunni Wahabi of Saudi Arabia began to shape
the destiny of the nation. No liberal thinking was allowed,
and initiatives other than Islamic was discriminated with
militancy. They helped the formation of Taliban and then
Al Qaida. Taliban means students of Islamic religion.
Qaida is the first Islamic basic book for schools.
Languages and vocabularies were shaped into Islamic mode
and meant for conflict, war and killing. And US government
supported many of these Talibans and Islamisation policies
because they wanted to rally nations against Communist
Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan and of course
for their own interest.
Under the rigid Islamisation, one has to belong to the
Sunni orthodox Islam. Otherwise he or she is discriminated.
Discrimination came to schoolbooks and everything became
Islamic. First lessons were on Islam. All syllabus, even
mathematics became Islamic. Brainwashing was total.
Pakistan became a nation with a discriminatory “psyche”.
There is no much place for public forums and other
activities of civil society. They try to work in a very
hostile and belligerent surroundings.
Under Islamisation and blasphemy law, extremists can
get anyone behind bars at any time or executed for any
reason and without proof. Terror reign has been
Islam and its mullahs intervened in all sectors of
life: social, politics, cultural, business, educational
and so on. Everything was seen under the eyes of Islam.
Human person has no existence without becoming a Muslim
and submitting to the extremist rules.
Islamisation stole the power of the people, abolished
democracy, denied reason, and governed social and
political institutions such as elections, parliament,
judiciary and government. The mother of all evils was the
separate electorate system.
It brought law to the hands of barbarians especially in
states like Belochistan and North West Frontier Province
where mullahs and landlords are the lawmakers.
Under Islamisation, girls are killed under the pretext
of honour, and profanity is unpardonable. And it created
the most corrupt rulers, the worst of them being Zia Ul
Islamic laws insisted four adult male witnesses to hear
a rape case, even 1000 or more women do not equal to one
male voice. If a Muslim rapes a woman, she has to become a
If any court rules against the Islamic laws, the
lawyers, judges and others are threatened with death. When
two Christian boys were acquitted in a Blasphemy case
trial as totally innocent, the two judges who ruled the
case were murdered.
Qisas and Diyat is an Islamic way of settling cases
with money, land or marrying. It favours Muslims and their
extremists. There is no argument, rationality or analysis.
Islamisation is meant to keep people caught up in
negative atmosphere: fighting against discriminative laws
and violations against human rights. There is no time to
undertake positive initiatives. Because of this there is a
big vacuum for positive leadership in all areas: social,
governmental, political, religious and cultural.
3.11. Peace Initiatives
Maintaining peace is not an easy option under these
circumstances. The Christian Organisation for Social
Action in Pakistan (COSAP) born under the circumstances of
islamisation and militarisation found a solution. They
invited minorities, human right activists, and men and
women of good will to form peace committees on grassroots
levels with peoples of all religions.
They initiated pro-active measures on all levels by
bringing concrete contributions in the field of elementary
education, clean water, sanitation and better living
conditions for all irrespective all differences.
This could avoid attacks from extremists and stop, to a
great extent, crimes committed against women and
allegations against minorities. Where peace committees
were not active worship places were burned, peoples were
attacked during war in Afghanistan and Iraq in these last
When Iraq was invaded peace committees became strong
instruments for making social harmony and inter-religious
dialogue. They gave new dimensions to inter-religious
activities by solving common problems such as drinking
water for all.
3.12. Ahmadiyya Muslims
Ahmadiyya Islam was born in 1889. They lived as Muslims
since then. They are considered Muslims everywhere in the
world. In 1984, the Pakistani dictator General Zia Ul Haq
made them non-Muslims by law and ordinance. Together with
Blasphemy law and Khadiyani ordinance enforced since 1984,
Ahmadiyya Muslims are no more recognised as Muslims. They
are arrested for fasting, praying and attari (breaking the
fast in the evening) as Muslims. They are not allowed to
use words like mosque, masjid, Muslim, salaam and so on.
They are accused of impersonation of Islam.
There are some 13’000 cases against Ahmadiyya Muslims
pending in Pakistani courts since 1984. The Khadiyani
ordinance and its laws are applicable only to Ahmadiyya
Muslims. If a non-Muslim join fasting and attari, they are
not arrested for violating this law. Under Khadiyani
ordinance Ahmadiyya Muslim children can not get admitted
in the schools, can not find jobs in government offices or
military, or can not vote as Muslims.
Ahmadiyya Muslims and their mosques are attacked by
disguised men as they themselves are afraid of attacking
Mosques, Islamic writings and symbols. The Khadiyani
ordinance and attacks against Ahmadiyya Muslims are
themselves blasphemy and violations of fundamental Islamic
According to legal experts, the Blasphemy law and
Khadiyani ordinance are mainly used to attack minorities,
to liquidate any one, steal property, rape girls and for
4. National Journalists’ Forum
One of the most important outcomes of this Refresher
Programme is birth of the National Journalists’ Forum.
The Forum is set up with the core group of professional
journalists and their partners. Its inspirers and founders
believe that in a confused state, it is journalists who
have to show the way to the people and they have to go
beyond all sectarian traps and interests.
The Forum plans to promote public debates, formation
programmes and specialised training together with
trustworthy partners inland and abroad. They have already
received encouragement and moral support from many
individuals and institutions, which care for Pakistan.
Participants expressed their satisfaction in many ways
as they refreshed themselves with open and frank
presentations and debates. They said: We have learned more
about our country in this programme than living here for
several decades. We never imagined that Pakistani are very
friendly people and we are very grateful that we could
learn from them in a friendly atmosphere. The keynote
addresses were brilliant, eye-opening and inspiring and
they gave realities beneath propaganda and arrangements.
It is highly important to organise such events on South
Asian level annually and conduct programmes on specialised
problems more frequently.
6. Future Plans and Solutions
The seminar participants from Pakistan and other
countries of South Asia have drawn up an action plan to be
implemented in their own countries where religious
extremism take heavy tolls and lack of basic freedoms are
Together with experts – journalists, lawyers, judges,
professors, leaders -- in South Asian countries, they plan
to work for better literacy, human rights and quick and
easy access of information as the way to success. They
know that the United Nations is not effective.
They believe that it is not the religious state but the
secular state is the way for advancement. The fact that
non-Muslims do not have the right to become president or
prime minister of Pakistan itself is a brutal negation of
There need to be a greater alliance among countries of
South Asia: Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan,
Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Maldives.
What can make an impact on peoples on these issues is
the media and it is the press and the print media that
play the biggest role in directing the nations to better
In contexts, where one cannot trust in political,
business, military and religious leaders, people look at
journalists. Journalists worldwide can be the most
powerful allies in bringing liberation to peoples in
Pakistan, in South Asia and in the world. Journalist
should educate, guide and give hope to people. Journalists
are and should be reborn as prophets.
The situation of
Christians in Pakistan
A brief report
By Fr Zechariah
Pakistan is an
immensely plural country characterized by religious, sectarian
and ethno-linguistic diversities. It is an overwhelmingly
Muslim community with more than 90 per cent of its 162 million
inhabitants adhering to Islam, yet they belong to several
Christian, Bahais, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Kalasha, Parsis
and Sikhs who identify themselves as non-Muslim Pakistanis.
envisioned as a progressive, democratic and tolerant society
by its founding fathers, which, while retaining a Muslim
majority, would give equal rights to its non-Muslim citizens.
On 11 August
1947, in his speech to the first Constituent Assembly of
Pakistan, Mr. Jinnah said:
‘… You are
free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go
to your mosques or to any other places of worship in the State
of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed
– that has nothing to do with the business of the State … We
are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all
citizens and equal citizens of one State. Now, I think we
should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find
that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and
Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not so in the religious
sense because that is the personal faith of each individual,
but in the political sense as citizens of the state.’
considered to be the charter of Pakistan and summation of Mr.
Jinnah’s views on the role of religion and the state.
Jinnah’s vision to Islamization
But, over the
succeeding decades, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, the
Pakistani state, rather than guaranteeing equal rights and
equal opportunities to its Muslim and non-Muslim citizens,
began to encourage obscurantist forces. The Islamicist forces
in Pakistan have rewritten South Asian history to suit their
Many look to the
role of individuals like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Zia ul-Haq,
among others, who encouraged obscurantist forces.
most Muslim Pakistanis know nothing of minorities’ significant
contributions towards the making and defending of Pakistan.
Academics and journalists have largely failed to report this
Other than the
interim legislation of 1947 and the Objectives Resolution of
1949, Pakistan has had four Constitutions since its
In 1949, a year
after Jinnah’s death, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan
introduced the Objectives Resolution. This document tried to
placate the Muslim clerics and equally tried to establish
Pakistani nationhood on the principle of religious conformity.
Accordingly, the rules and regulations were to be framed in
consonance with Islam, allowing a greater role for the
ulama, who felt emboldened by this greater recognition.
The first was
implemented on 23 March 1956. The Constitution largely
reflected the spirit of the Objectives Resolution and
officially declared Pakistan an ‘Islamic Republic’.
of 1956, despite reflecting some religious concerns to appease
the ulama, underlined the need for a parliamentary
government. However, the military struck directly in 1958 and
Pakistan entered a long era of military takeovers.
its practical promulgation, it was thrown out by Iskander
Mirza, the self designated President. He dismissed the
Assemblies and imposed martial law on 7 October 1958, but
within three weeks he had to surrender all powers to General
Ayub Khan, the Commander-in-Chief of the army.
In 1962, General
Ayub Khan promulgated his own Constitution, (Pakistan’s
second). It retained the Objectives Resolution as the Preamble
but dropped the word ‘Islamic’ from the country’s title.
In 1973, the
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto-led civilian regime offered a
parliamentary form of Constitution which, to date, remains the
only consensus-based document. However, General Zia ul-Haq
made radical amendments to the Constitution, affecting the
civil rights of Pakistanis and especially non-Muslims.
of Pakistan segregates its citizens on the basis of religion;
and provides preferential treatment to the Muslims. While
Article 2 of the Constitution declares Islam as “the State
religion of Pakistan” and the Holy Quran and Sunnah to be “the
supreme law and source of guidance for legislation to be
administered through laws enacted by the Parliament and
Provincial Assemblies, and for policy making by the
Government”, under Article 41(2) only a Muslim can become
President. Further, Article 260 of the Constitution
differentiates “Muslim” and “Non-Muslim” thereby facilitating
and encouraging discrimination on the basis of religion.
is so glued to providing preferential treatment to the
majority Muslims that even a Hindu judge has to take oath of
office in the name of “Allah”. On 24 March 2007, Justice Rana
Bhagwandas, a Hindu, while being sworn in as Acting Chief
Justice of Pakistan, being the senior most judge after the
suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had to
take oath with a Quranic prayer - “May Allah Almighty help and
guide me, (A'meen)”.
the Pakistan Penal Code, in particular, Section 295-A, Section
295-B, Section 295-C, Section 298-A, Section 298-B provide
harsh punishment for alleged blasphemy. These blasphemy laws
undermine some of the major provisions of the Constitution of
Pakistan such as the fundamental right to “profess, practice
and propagate his religion” (Article 20), equality before the
law and equal protection of law to all citizens (Article 25),
and safeguard the “legitimate rights and interests of
minorities” (Article 36).
have been widely abused and mis-used to target the minorities
and sometimes, to settle personal vendetta even among the
Muslims. Those who faced blasphemy charges continued to live
in fear even after acquittal by the courts.
relating to religion in the Pakistan
The constitutions of 1956, 1962 and 1973 declared Pakistan to
be an Islamic Republic and Islam to be the state religion but
they guaranteed freedom of religion to the country's
Historically the most far-reaching steps towards Islamization
were taken by President Zia-ul Haq (1977 to 1988) who
introduced a number of Islamic laws and set up a judicial body
to review all existing laws as to their agreement with Islamic
laws. Laws and orders passed during the martial law years
under President Zia-ul Haq, including those governing
religious offences, were placed outside the scope of judicial
review by the Eighth Constitutional Amendment of 1985.
During the first period of government of Benazir Bhutto (1988
to 1990) no further steps towards Islamization were
undertaken. The next federal parliament, in which the Islamic
Democratic Alliance (IDA, a coalition of several Islamic
parties under the leadership of the Muslim League) of Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif (1990 to 1993) had a clear majority, in
May 1991 passed the Enforcement of Shari'ah Act, 1991. It
declared that "the Injunctions of Islam ... shall be the
supreme law of Pakistan" and provided for the Islamization of
education and the economy while ensuring that none of the
provisions of the Act would "affect the personal laws,
religious freedoms, traditions, customs and way of life of
elections in October 1993 the Islamic parties obtained
considerably fewer seats in the National Assembly than in the
two previous elections (Muslim League 72 seats, other Islamic
parties 9 seats of a total of 217 seats) while the secular
Pakistan People's Party obtained a clear majority and formed
the government under Benazir Bhutto. At the same time,
religiously motivated attacks on members of minority groups
have been on the increase.
Amendments of laws relating to religious offences in the
Pakistan Penal Code brought about under President Zia differ
significantly from earlier laws in at least four ways. They do
not specifically mention malicious intent to wound religious
sensitivities as a condition of criminal offence and they
provide significantly increased penalties. Moreover they make
specific reference to Islam while the earlier laws were
intended to protect the religious sentiments of "any class of
persons". Besides, there is a distinct shift in emphasis: the
newly introduced sections of the PPC do not make it a criminal
offence to injure the religious feelings of Muslims, but
rather define the offence in terms of insult or affront to
Islam itself. The offences consist in defiling or insulting
the prophet of Islam, his companions and family members and
desecrating the Koran.
History of Blasphemy laws
The Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) of 1860 dates from the British
colonial period; sections 295 to 298 of the PPC dealing with
religious offences date back to that period and were intended
to prevent and curb religious violence. The offences listed
are: defiling a place of worship (section 295), acts insulting
religion or religious beliefs (section 295-A), disturbing a
religious assembly (section 296), trespassing on burial
grounds (297) and utterances wounding religious feelings
(section 298). These sections have in common that the
intention of the offender to hurt the religious
susceptibilities of others, is considered integral to the
offence; they also share a universal application, whereby
hurting the religious feelings of any group is made an
Section 295 reads: "Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any
place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of
persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion
of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class
of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or
defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished
with imprisonment ... for a term which may extend to two
years, or with fine, or with both."
Section 298 reads: "Whoever, with the deliberate intention of
wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word
or makes any sound in the hearing of that person, or makes any
gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in
the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment
... for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or
Still during the colonial period, in 1927, Section 295-A was
added which read: "Whoever, with deliberate and malicious
intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of
citizens ... , by words, either spoken or written, or by
visible representations insults the religion or the religious
beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to two years,
or with fine, or with both."
Zia-ul Haq's Islamization drive
Several sections were inserted in the Pakistan Penal Code in
the 1980s. Section 295-B was added in 1982; it made defiling
the Koran a criminal offence. It reads: "Whoever wilfully
defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Koran or of
an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or
for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment
1980, section 298-A was inserted in the PPC, by which the use
of derogatory remarks "by words ... or by imputation innuendo
or insinuation, directly or indirectly" in respect of persons
revered in Islam, was made a criminal offence punishable with
up to three years' imprisonment. In 1986, defiling the name of
the Prophet Mohammad was made a criminal offence and the
relevant section, 295-C added to the Pakistan Penal Code.
1986 the penal code was amended by Criminal Law Amendment Act,
1986, which added the blasphemy law under section 295-C to the
Pakistan Penal Code. It provided the death penalty or life
imprisonment for the criminal offence of defiling the name of
the Prophet Mohammad. It reads:
"295-C: Use of derogatory remarks, etc. in respect of the
Holy Prophet: Whoever by words, either spoken or written,
or by visible representations, or by any imputation, innuendo,
or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred
name of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), shall be
punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also
be liable to fine."
October 1990, the Federal Shariat Court, a court set up in
1980 to "examine and decide the question whether any law or
provision of law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam"
(Article 302-D of the Constitution) ruled that "the penalty
for contempt of the Holy Prophet ... is death and nothing
else". It also noted that "no one after the Holy Prophet ...
exercised or was authorized the right of reprieve or pardon."
The Court directed the government of Pakistan to effect the
necessary legal changes and added, "in case this is not done
by 30 April 1991 the words 'or punishment for life' in section
295-C, PPC, shall cease to have effect on that date".
social, legal and cultural discrimination against Christians is the major issue that needs to be
addressed in Pakistan. Denying the existence of discrimination
and prejudice against them and their present social and
economic exclusion will only worsen conditions of the
minorities, but will also threaten the emergence of the
composite and cohesive Pakistani society.
The Christians participated in the freedom movement and played
a vital role for the nation building. Unfortunately the
official history of Pakistan does not reflect the role of
Christians played in the establishment of Pakistan.
The historical facts regarding Christians and other
minorities’ contribution are not mentioned or highlighted.
have been systematically denied economic, social and cultural
rights. Their lands and properties including places of worship
have been forcibly grabbed. The minorities have been denied
the right to equal treatment and protection by the law
enforcement personnel. Often, the police refused to register
cases filed by the non-Muslims.
raping and forcible marriage of Christian and Hindu girls is a
common practice in Pakistan. In case of arrest, the accused
produce a certificate issued by any Muslim seminary that the
kidnapped girls have voluntarily adopted Islam and the accused
have married the girls. The courts generally do not consider
the fact that the most of the girls are minor and simply
accept the certificate of conversion without any
families reportedly fled from their homes following a
threatening letter received from Islamic militants at Charsada
of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) on 8 May 2007 asking
them to convert to Islam within 10 days or face dire
consequences. In June 2007, Christians of Shantinagar village
of Khanewal district in Punjab received similar threats to
embrace Islam. The police often failed to provide adequate
minorities have been systematically excluded from the voters'
list. On 12 June 2007, the Election Commission of Pakistan
released a new voters' list for the upcoming general
groups claimed that 20 per cent of non-Muslim voters have been
excluded from the new voters' list. About 18 per cent eligible
voters belonging to minorities have been struck out in the new
voters' list in North West Frontier Province.
A mob of angry
Muslims attacked Christians’ houses in Bahmani wala village in
district Kasur of the Punjab province on June 30, 2009 after
an alleged accusation of blaspheming by a Christian against
About 100 houses were damaged and valuables (gold jewelry and
cash) were stolen by the attackers. Furniture and house hold
articles were also smashed by the mob.
On July 1, 2009
a Christian youth, Imran Masih, was severely tortured by
Muslims and then arrested by the local police for allegedly
burning pages of Quran in Hajwary town area of Faisalabad.
speech delivered on August 11, 1947 in the first
Constitutional Assembly should be made an integral part of the
be recognized as a multi-religions state in the constitution.
The state should
provide equal opportunities and equal rights to all Pakistanis
irrespective of faith, caste and creed.
parties integrate minorities in the party structures and also
award party tickets to religious minorities from
constituencies with concentration of their population.
should repeal sections of 295-B and C of Pakistan Penal Code
which are a source of perpetual fear and insecurity to
laws should not be imposed on non-Muslims.
should be revised and sections that fanned religious hatred
should be deleted. The compulsory religious education should
be made optional subject in educational institutions.
There should be
provision for religious minorities’ students to attain marks
the way hafiz-e-Quran is given extra marks or there should be
no concession made on the basis of religion.
should be given equal space in media regarding their issues
and religious programmes.
be taken to rehabilitate bonded laborers working in
agricultural sector, small industry and at brick kilns.
A new population
census should be conducted with careful focus to find the
actual number of religious minorities so they could be given
right and justified representation in the country’s affairs.