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This is apropos an article ‘Religious minorities’ woes’ carried by Business Recorder yesterday. That the writer, Rashed Rahman, has shed light on a very high important subject is a fact. He has concluded his argument by saying that “One’s thoughts inevitably turn to the Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah desired, thought he had achieved, and even reiterated his belief in its tolerant religious outlook on August 11, 1947 in his speech to the Constituent Assembly.

Little did the great man know that in the Pakistan he bequeathed us, not only would religious minorities not have the freedom to practice their religion according to their beliefs, their very lives and futures, even on the touchstone of being citizens of this country, would be so imperilled.” Let me add to the learned writer’s argument by stating that the

Quaid must be turning in his grave at the thought of what is being perpetrated in his in name. 75 years after the death of the Quaid, we the Pakistanis are still struggling to follow the roadmap that he had arduously delineated for a newly independent nation as its leader. His famous August 11 1947 speech is a case in point.

Through this speech, he made it clear that he wanted a Muslim-majority but a progressive country; he never wanted a theocratic state.

According to him, for example, “You are free. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Unfortunately, however, minorities in Pakistan are a fair game for the majority (Muslims) and State alike. There are three main types of marginalization: social marginalization, economic marginalization and political marginalization.

Minorities in Pakistan face all the three. The situation, therefore, is quite worrisome. The State must ensure a climate free of discrimination and marginalization.

Nida Bashir

Lahore

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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