Intolerance in Pakistan … By: Manesh Kumar

          There are, two issues, are getting more importance in our political and public discourse and in the media as well: blasphemy allegations and plight of Hazara community of this country in general and Baluchistan in particular. This horrific and excruciating situation is soaring day by day, everybody seems bother of it, but if you seriously think, I’m sure; you will find nothing but religious intolerance and hatred.
         A Christian girl, Rimsha, arrested in Islamabad, few week ago, being accused of burning papers containing verses from holy Quran, thrown into Adiala jail on blasphemy charge. She and her family reinforce that they cannot even think of dishonor of holy book, and she has not committed that sin, and is falsely accused. The case took turn when a Mullah (prayer leader) of local masque accused by an eyewitness of tampering with evidence in the case, two other witnesses came to support of this statement and recorded that mullah had done it. Now whom you will say the actual sinner, the mullah who tampered the evidence by deliberately, misusing the papers of Holy Scripture and added them into plastic bag, or the innocent girl who is not able to read alphabet, and suffering from mental illness?
        Hazara community, in this country are being more victimized than minorities; dozens of people get down from buses and lined up then killed in every week or two week’s intermission, we protest in favor of Muslims of Burma without knowing that whether their conflict is religious or ethnic? But how many of us are come to streets to demonstrate against those who are killing our neighbors, relentlessly?  
         The problem of forced conversation of young Hindu girls to Islam, in upper Sindh, is also biggest conspiracy against Hindu-Muslim interfaith harmony which has been for thousands of years. Many young Hindu girls have been kidnapped and converted to Islam; many of them were not even appeared in courts. There still something what we say religious harmony, especially in villages, still Muslim don not sacrifice of cow on Eid, and Hindu too, avoid to celebrate their festive during the muhram-al-haram, but situation seems it will not last long time.
          The religious intolerance has also been passed through curriculum of textbook and pinned into our children’s minds. National commission for justice and peace (NCJP) recently has conducted an analysis of the revised curriculum of Sindh and Punjab textbook for 2012-13 for inclusion of biased and discriminatory content against religion other then Islam. Report says that words Hindu, Christian and Jew are portrayed very negatively. For example in an Islamic study book Sindh board for class 5, in a chapter includes a line saying: “people of other religions usually stay busy in useless activities during their religious festivals there is no concept of God or submission among them”. The chapter “Pakistan an Islamic state” in the textbook of Punjab includes this line: “Hindus harmed Muslims in every way”.
         The content analysis has also been published in Urdu to generate a debate on how the inclusion of discriminatory content sows the seed of hatred and ensure that the review reaches maximum people. Here I just want to show you the difference between curricula of 2009-11 and 2012-13.
         According to analysis the syllabus being taught at the government school in sindh province, includes a higher number of mentions which can be categorized as discriminatory. Number of chapters with discriminatory content in 2009-11 was 11, but in 2012-13 there 22. However analysis observed that Islamic study book for class 7 and Pakistan study book for class eight don’t include the discriminatory content from 2009-11.
         Simultaneously, in Punjab, the number of discriminatory chapters has increased from 11 in 2009-11 to 22 in 2013. The NCJP analyzed that number of discriminatory lines with religious bias was 45, but it now has reached at on hundred twenty tow. National commission for justice and peace has also made recommendations to revise the content and recommended that students should be taught the role of minorities in Pakistan’s creation, if it is not possible to exclude or change Islamic study from school curriculum then minorities children should have right to religious teaching too, as per the article 20 and 22 of constitution.

           Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, wanted to create a secular country. He had said in his first speech; every man has right to go temple, church and masque, or where ever he or she wants to go for worship, has freedom, but, alas, a country, which was made in the name of religion – as Stephen p. Cohen wrote in his book, the future of Pakistan, there is DNA’s problem with this country – has become a bastion of Islam. Though, culture of Pakistan is a pluralistic mixture of cultures, beliefs and rituals of many ethnicities, religions and Muslims sects as well.
         On September 21, all Muslim worlds protested against anti-Muslim film, no devastation was reported in any other country instead of Pakistan. Whole world is brotherly watching us that what sort of nation we are? The day was announced ishque-e-rasool would have symbol of peace and fraternity, but here, alas, we only saw violence and killing across the country, twenty seven people killed they all were Muslim, a church was set on fire in Mardan. Destroying our own assets and other’s religious places, is what kind of protest? It is reported that many Hindus took part in rallies on Ishque-e-Rasool day; it will definitely be in favor of our interfaith harmony and peace.


Author: maneshkumar


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