PESHAWAR: Representatives of multiple religions demanded the government remove objectionable material being taught in textbooks against non-Muslims and bring about reforms in the educational sector.
They raised their concerns at a one-day conference, titled Uprooting religious intolerance through formal education system in Pakistan, organised by National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) and South Asia Partnership of Pakistan (SAP-PK). The event was held at a hotel on Thursday.
Research on textbooks by Kashif Aslam and Aeela Gul of NCJP was presented at the conference. According to the research, hate material against non-Muslims of was being taught in educational institutes of K-P.
The speakers acknowledged the report and said the deteriorating situation of human rights and increasing religious extremism had its roots embedded in textbooks. The textbooks had been promoting discrimination and intolerance on the basis of religion, sect and gender for three decades now, they said. Representatives from different religions and political parties, educationists, lawyers and human rights activists participated in the conference.
Among those present were president of National Party (NP) Mukhtar Bacha, K-P Minister for Minorities Dr Sardar Soran Singh, Barrister Hashim Raza, and Father John William.
Singh stressed the need for positive change in curricula, and lauded PTI’s efforts, saying the present K-P government is fully committed to protecting minority rights.
Singh said the minority quota for government jobs increased from 0.5% to 3%, though the government was trying to increase it to 5%. He shared the government was also trying to create a quota for minorities in medical colleges of the province as there are no seats reserved for them. He said the Minority Property Protection Bill, tabled by the government, was an achievement for K-P.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.