A newly-formed organisation has welcomed the statement of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, supporting equal rights for all religions.
The Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) said on Thursday that it supports the point of view that the term “minority” should not be used for non-Muslims and they should be considered as equal Pakistanis and given equal opportunities in every sphere of life.
The present sectarian and communal violence in the country cannot be stopped unless the state amends its constitution to give equal rights to the people without any discrimination on the basis of religion, sect and ethnicity, the statement said.
At present there are “many” laws that have curtailed the people’s right of expression. The state-issued certificates identifying Muslims and non-Muslims do not help the matter. These laws are biased against non-Muslims in violation of the UN Human Rights Charter, said the statement.
The statement said state institutions are supporting and funding many obscurantist organisations in the country including madrassas, which have become the breeding ground for extremists.
Politics should be separated from religion as this the only way to control the rising wave of terrorism in the country, the statement said. To this end, the political parties should show courage and oppose the violent means adopted by religious and ethnic militant organisations.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.