HYDERABAD: Pakistan observes the National Minority Day on August 11th every year to revive the sense of harmony between minorities and other segements of the population. Pretty much like any other days celebrated to honour different social groups of society, for instance, the World Labour Day marking the dignity workers deserve, Minorities Day too although celebrated with much zeal has been unable to do much for the betterment of these socially oppressed groups.
With a dreadful history of minority killings spread over nearly two decades and its poor ranking for economic development and prosperity, Pakistan is perceived as an intolerant and extremist society. Unfortunately, the reason why successive governments have failed to counter religious extremism is the strongly ingrained religious ideology that continues to taint the policies and the dominant perspective towards minorities.
Religious parties in Pakistan, particularly the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and the JUI-F although haven’t been able to form a government of their own, having got the charge of relevant portfolios like the ministry of religious affairs continue to dictate the popular narrative towards minorities.
Furthermore, the undercover support of some political parties for militant groups in Pakistan is another reason behind the failure to deal with terrorism and religious extremism directed towards minorities. A day dedicated to honour the minority communities is just a small fraction of the contribution these groups make towards the development and peace of the nation. The need of the hour is peaceful coexistence.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2017.