No justice for minorities

Published: January 30, 2012

LAHORE: Article 295 of the Constitution quite clearly says: “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 of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both”.

On August 11, 1947, the Founder of Pakistan addressed its Constituent Assembly and said in his speech the following: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.

The Constitution of Pakistan provides for fundamental rights. It is clearly written in article 25(1) of the Constitution: “All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law”.

We belong to the Christian community of Pakistan — and we make up around 1.5 per cent of the population of our beloved homeland. When she was prime minister, Benazir Bhutto tried to change the blasphemy law because it was being used to terrorise religious minorities, but she couldn’t succeed. She was able to make the existing law more moderate but those changes were reversed by the government of Nawaz Sharif who came after her.

We have no confidence in the present PML-N government in Punjab. The government has not done anything even as a Church-owned site has been bulldozed in Garhi Shahu in Lahore and homes for the poor, elderly and homeless, and a school for poor girls razed to the ground.

We respect the Constitution of Pakistan and the laws of the land and we believe that the parliament is a supreme institution. But here, justice from our experience, seems selective and is not there for those who belong to minority communities.

We want fair and equal justice.

Amin Khokhar

President Pakistan Masih League

Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2012.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (5)

  • ZKhan
    Jan 30, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Well said and written but ” Marde Nadan per Klam narmo nazik bay Asr” So nothing will happen and just wait for Qaid Azam sani to take the rein of powers in the country.Recommend

  • kamran
    Jan 30, 2012 - 11:09PM

    Amin you have rightly bought out the issue, its a pity, a church razed to the ground and bibles desecrated, but in Pakistan this will never be considered blasphemy, as the law is only to terrorize Christians, Hindus and Ahmedis. The minorities should start campaigning for refugee status by the UN. The Iranian and Iraqi Christians and Bahai’s have managed it, we should also.

    Recommend

  • amer nadeem
    Jan 31, 2012 - 12:47PM

    its Sec. 295 of Pakistan Penal Code not Constitution of Pakistan………..

    Recommend

  • Cynical
    Feb 1, 2012 - 9:58PM

    @Kamran

    Good suggestion, practical too. The minorities shoud migrate to countries which are not religiously toxic.

    Recommend

  • Maryam Ali
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:40AM

    Thank you for bringing up this matter and I extremely appreciate the way you brought the issue to light, it is about all minority communities in Pakistan. Another group that is affected by such behaviour is Jamaat e Ahmadiyya in Rawalpindi. They are extremely terrorized and can’t enjoy being a Pakistani citizen, not allowed to pray anymore.

    Recommend

More in Letters