Sir: Intolerance towards minorities is a burgeoning menace among other challenges in our society. The hanging swords of blasphemy and coercive conversions have jeopardised the lives of minorities. A section of religious figures opine that minorities are “second class citizens”; they cannot be equally involved in policy making of the state. A renowned religious scholar, who once used to deliver lectures on a private TV channel, considers non-Muslims of the country as “protected minorities”. According to him, constitutionally minorities could not have equal rights and they are liable to pay jizya (poll tax). The self-proclaimed philosophy of such figures is against the teachings of Islam and the UN human rights charter.
The founder of Pakistan outlined his vision of Pakistan in his August 11, 1947 address to the constituent assembly. Mr. Jinnah’s speech was actually a magna carta of Pakistan in which he spoke of an impartial government, religious freedom and equality for all. Unfortunately, this speech was suppressed by previous regimes. Steps need to be taken to spread awareness among the masses. It would help our nation o face and fight the mindset of intolerance that is prevalent in some people. We need to take even further steps to alleviate the looming grievances and sense of deprivation among minorities.
M HASSAN NAGRI