Justice for minorities | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Justice for minorities

Pakistan Press Foundation

The Supreme Court is often accused of being an institution that goes beyond its remit in adjudicating the case. That it often has to do so says more about the lack of governance in the country than power lust on the part of the judges. If we had a government that did its job, the Supreme Court’s suo motu case looking into the Peshawar church bombing and allegations that the government had not paid out the announcement compensation to the victims would not have needed to turn into a sprawling investigation into the plight of minorities in the country. In what may turn out to be a landmark Supreme Court judgement, the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Jillani made both specific recommendations to protect the rights of minorities and issued a general critique of a state that has not followed its duty to protect the most vulnerable among us. Among the actions it demands the government take is to train a special security force to provide protection at the places of worship of minorities. As we know all too well, the police tend to either ignore mobs or join in themselves; having specially-trained officials to prevent that should be a better way to ward off attacks.

Taking note of our educational system, where the curriculum resembles propaganda more than the building blocks to foster critical thinking, the Supreme Court ordered that textbooks should preach tolerance and inclusiveness rather than hate. To put these and other recommendations into effect, the court called for the constitution of a task force which would also be responsible for suggesting further ways to protect the rights of minorities. The Supreme Court didn’t spare itself either, and will have a special three-member bench that will always be available to hear cases related to minorities. The apex court’s hearing into this case has already borne fruit, as Nadra was ordered to start registering the marriages of Hindus. Representatives of every minority community were heard and the court took notice of their plight, on issues ranging from freedom of worship to forcible conversions. The moral authority the court has accumulated over the past few years make it the only institution whose voice has a chance of being heard above the din of hatred. This judgement is not only the most comprehensive look at the plight of minorities in the country by a branch of the government but offers a blueprint for making us a better country.

The News