Pakistan is an Islamic republic created for the purpose of protecting the rights of the Muslims of the subcontinent. But it cannot be denied that our Founding Father had assured, more than once, that the rights of minorities in Pakistan would be protected at all costs. He once declared that in Pakistan, religion would have nothing to do with the business of the state as the state is the protector of all citizens without any distinction or discrimination of race, belief or religion.
Unfortunately, halting the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad under pressure from some religious circles shows the creeping intolerance in the country. It negates the Constitution of Pakistan which guarantees protection to the rights of minorities. Perhaps not many people are aware that the Hindu community is the second largest minority community in the country and constitutes 2 per cent of the total population. The community must be assured their due rights as per the Constitution.
Besides, in order to project a positive image of Pakistan as a pluralistic, all-inclusive and tolerant society, it is required that we respect other religions and communities too. Therefore, there should be no harm in allowing the construction of the temple in Islamabad and facilitate members of the Hindu community to perform their religious rituals.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2020.