I’m in the children’s section of Marks and Spencer (M&S) to buy a uniform for my four-year-old son who will be going to school for the first time this week. This shopping experience has prompted the pure national tragedy of hundreds of extremely vulnerable Christian children who have stopped going to school after blasphemy riots in Jaranwala in Pakistan. The mob burnt down the house of an eight-year-old, burying his books and toys in the wreckage, he tries as hard as he can to pull them from the debris. Then awakes – sobbing in fear uncontrollably. A six-year-old student says that he is afraid of going to school after a mob burnt his house. Every time he dreams he can only see the ruins of his house. Some children see the disturbing events repeated in their dreams. A mother describes that her daughter remains traumatized and sometimes screams in her sleep. The scene of setting her house, books and school bag on fire still haunts her. Many children are suffering from sleeping and eating disorders. Sadly they are not in the right state of mind to return to school. For many, even dreams offer neither heaven nor sweets. The left-out generation of Christian children in Jaranwala, Pakistan, will always struggle to find ways to survive. It is emotionally challenging for parents when they are already lost in the dense forest of intense pain, losing their Church, house, and future altogether. As children struggle to cope with a wave of post-anti-Christian riots, mental health issues and behavioural problems, society is in an advanced state of collapse. I try to avoid thinking about it and focus on my family and my career – but I can’t, after a series of unforgivable social errors in Pakistan. You can never forget it! Anyway, I have done everything I can to ensure my son has the best chances in life and a good education. I live in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, and this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I believe this will help my son to search for the truth but it taught me far more about freedom and duty. No one wants their children to feel left out, and stand on the threshold of despair and anxiety. We absolutely should use the resources that those children are vulnerable to make sure they get that ring of protection and safety to ensure they stay in school. The right to education is a basic fundamental human right. As children struggle to cope with a wave of post-anti-Christian riots, mental health issues and behavioural problems, society is in an advanced state of collapse. Unfortunately, the current model doesn’t work, nor is it morally and ethically justifiable. I think many Christian families are in survival mode but they’re scared and desperate. The fear is not going away, many Christian families are afraid to return home. In contrast, the government has failed to accelerate efforts and provide mental health and post-trauma counselling or any robust rehabilitation support after several episodes of religious aggression. Experts have warned we have fallen off track in the quest to end this apartheid. In Pakistan, children belonging to religious minorities already face a plethora of financial, and discriminatory barriers and are at high risk of being excluded from a quality education – especially in areas affected by religious violence and mob lynchings. According to a fact-finding mission initiated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), at least 24 churches and several dozen smaller chapels as well as scores of houses in Jaranwala were torched and looted in a series of brutal mob-led attacks against the local Christian community on 16 August 2023. Catholic bishops have described the attack on Christians as “the worst incident against Christians in the history of Pakistan”. Archbishop Joseph Arshad, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, appealed for an honest exercise of justice “in order to stop these kinds of incidents in the future”. Traditionally religion in Pakistan has become incredibly fashionable. Our political leaders, religious actors and public bodies have a critical role to spin the wheels of cohesive public policy and democratic values, yet so far no one has taken up this offer in Pakistan. Crucially, the government’s elongated blindness over the misuse of the blasphemy law, and loopholes in the criminal justice systems undermining the rule of law have planted enough seeds to provoke a moral panic as we have seen in Jaranwala. The authorities’ failure to address the fault lines of hate material in textbooks and faith-based violence has alarmed the international community with the unprecedented scale of human rights abuses. Such dismissive attitudes when it comes to human rights have sourced grave destruction of the rights of vulnerable communities, which cannot be paid off by any amount of chest-beating. Similarly, the melting berg of tolerance and dialogue suggests how key stakeholders have failed to upscale democratic practices in Pakistan. Despite Western paranoia and calls for justice from the international community, the government still demonstrates no interest in advancing the frameworks of dialogue and creating spaces for minorities. The country is in desperate need of leaders who are willing to make hard choices to take affirmative steps to educate the people about tolerance and peace, remove religious biases in textbooks, and repeal discriminatory laws. At the same time, the state should ensure that both public and private schools do not charge any fee to the victims of the Jaranwala unrest. In reality, the story of tight-lipped Christians tells us, that the streams of systematic racism and intolerance flow unimpeded in the organs of the society. Every government appears to be sleepwalking in the crisis of growing religious intolerance, which is essentially important to rebrand the image of Pakistan on the global stage as a tolerant and moderate nation. Unfortunately, this summer has concluded once again on a sour note for Christians of Pakistan as their situation remains unchanged for decades. Their struggle for their rights, respect, and identity has become an uphill battle. As I look into the eyes of many children, I can see the sea of loneliness and despair and I tell them nothing. Our elected representatives have done nothing. And the state of Pakistan has done nothing to make you safer or to prevent this from happening again and again and again and again. The writer is based in UK, and has specialization in health informatics from Johns Hopkins University.