Not even a peep: Minorities day passes by without activity

Communities appalled that government did not organise any event

Saba Rani August 11, 2016
Communities appalled that government did not organise any event. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD IQBAL/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR: The government constantly speaks of minority rights and there is even a national day to acknowledge the contributions of non-Muslims. However, it seems the authorities forgot that the occasion even exists and National Minorities Day passed by on August 11 without any events or festivals.

Members of the communities were left disappointed as the government seemingly ignored them on their special day.

Minority groups in Peshawar had asked for a flag-hoisting ceremony at Jinnah Park. However, the request fell on deaf ears and they were deprived of this honour. Also, there was no significant announcement about National Minorities Day as most people, when asked, were unaware of the occasion.

Pakistan Peoples Party, during its tenure, declared August 11 as National Minorities Day with the aim of acknowledging the contribution of religious minorities. Unfortunately, it has never been celebrated on the national or provincial level.

Sardar Charanjeet, a Sikh elder from Peshawar, told The Express Tribune it is quite discouraging that nobody from the government bothers to organise a single event to recognise their efforts, sacrifices and contribution to making this country a sovereign state.

Monisha Arifa, a Christian, said Pakistan is home to millions of non-Muslims at the moment. However, she feared there may not be any of them left in five years’ time.

Sania Rehmat, another Christian, said every church was celebrating this day on their own to acknowledge the efforts of their forefathers who even participated in the struggle for independence. “If every church, temple and gurdwara celebrates this day separately; how can we consider it a national day?”

Haroon Sarbdiyal, a minority rights activist, was also left disappointed by the cold attitude of the government on this day. According to him, National Minorities Day should be celebrated on a federal level with great enthusiasm as it was the only way to portray a positive image of Pakistan to the world. He said it would show that interfaith harmony exists in the country. Sarbdiyal suggested that the government announce a national holiday for this occasion and arrange events to acknowledge their contribution.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2016.



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