Lets first get the facts right: Pakistan is a country of almost 210 million people (including people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan who we don’t count as citizens yet!), where only about 5 percent of the population is non-Muslim. That is about 11 million in this large country. Out of the 11 million, just about half are Hindus, mostly concentrated in the Sindh province; three-quarters of the rest are Christians, largely in Punjab. Out of the remaining, about two hundred thousand perhaps are Ahmadis, and just about 5,000 (yes, that’s not a typo!), Sikhs. So I am at a loss to understand what threat can these tiny minorities pose to the hundreds of millions of the majority in this land of the pure? What is the reason that attacks, blatant discrimination and threats against them are commonplace? I have written almost every year since 2011 on these pages about the plight of minorities; so much so that I felt that it was trite to repeat any of it again. But the recent judgment of the Islamabad High Court simply sent a chill down my spine. When the courts deliver such a judgment, society has certainly imploded. When the courts — the bastion of our freedom and the upholder of the rule of law, issue such judgments then we must wonder if we have actually degenerated into anarchy and that the few semblances of sanity around us are just pretence.When I read the judgment only one image raced through my mind: that of Nazi Germany. The reference to minorities having different ‘attire,’ and ‘names’ hearkened back to that era where a people were singled out liked this and then brutally massacred. In Germany too when the Jews were being separated from the others through declarations, name recognitions, attire and other means, no one imagined that one day millions of them will be gassed to death, but it did happen. This judgement has now laid the foundation for more systematic discrimination, hounding and — I fear to say — elimination. Fascism begins with little steps, gets general acceptance, and then unleashes its bloody and destructive force. Nazi Germany was a lot more educated, stable and organised than we are. But then they indulged in one of the most horrific pogroms in human history. We don’t seem to be far behind now, but I hope I am wrongReading the judgment, I was also amazed to see the manner in which a small minority, less than 0.01 percent of the population, pose such a big threat so that if the government does not know their exact number it is a ‘major setback’ and against ‘the spirit and requirements of the constitution.’ Again, the clouds of the Holocaust loom large over the words of this particular judgement.It also seems that the learned judge had either confused parts of our constitution and laws or created new rules which need to be read into it. Mentioning the evils which can befall them if the true religion of a person is not identified, the judgment notes that such people can then ‘gain access to dignified and sensitive posts resulting in the accumulation of all benefits.’ In addition, the judgement mentions that ‘for most of the institutions including the membership of parliament, there are reserved seats for the minorities,’ and therefore, not knowing their ‘true religion’ is ‘an open defiance to the words and spirit of the constitution,’ the judgment notes.Now, as far as I know, only the office of the President and the Prime Minister are restricted to Muslims in Pakistan, and all other positions — even that of the Chief Justice or the Chief of Army Staff are at least legally open to all citizens of Pakistan. Even in the government departments and the parliament, while there are reserved seats for minorities, as affirmative action, general seats are also open to them and there is no bar, for example, for a Christian, Hindu or even an Ahmadi, to stand on any of the non-reserved seats either. In fact, it is only when they want privileges, such as quotas and reserved seats, that they are required to declare their religion. But the manner in which this judgment is written restricts them to the quotas and reserved seats and prevents them from being part of the general milieu of Pakistan.Nazi Germany was a lot more educated, a lot more stable (they had been getting what they had been wanting for more than a decade), and a lot more organised than we are. But then they indulged in one of the most horrific pogroms in human history. We don’t seem to be far behind now, but I hope I am wrong.The writer teaches at IT University Lahore and is the author of ‘A Princely Affair: The Accession and Integration of the Princely States of Pakistan, 1947-55.’ He tweets at @BangashYKPublished in Daily Times, March 23rd 2018.