Non-Muslims’ call to do away with term ‘minority’ to ensure equality
HYDERABAD: Speakers at a seminar stressed the need for elimination of term ‘minority’ so that about 10 million people in the country belonging to the Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Ahmedi communities could get equal rights.
Their rights were usurped when they were included in minorities, adding that they were Pakistanis and must be treated as countrymen instead of the minorities, they said while addressing the advocacy seminar on the ‘Right of expression, assembly, association and thought’ organised by South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK) here on Monday.
They also stressed that the old laws needed to be amended forthwith so that non-Muslim citizens of the country could achieve their rights.
The Sindh Agricultural and Forestry Workers Coordinating Organisation (Safwco) founder and chief Suleman G. Abro said MNAs and MPAs did nothing except for attending seminars, meetings and signing contracts.
He stressed that citizens belonging to every walk of life must prepare a summary called a citizen summary which must contain clear-cut definitions of rights according to the constitution, and lapses and problems being faced by all people, including the minorities.
He said the summary must be sent to the government to inform it about its lapses.
He said that 11.1 million people of Sindh were facing hunger and penury on account of unemployment and added that it was the responsibility of the state to provide equal rights to its citizens and protect their rights.
He said 925 million people underwent hunger and poverty across the globe while 578 million out of the 925 million were facing the same fate in Asian countries.
He suggested that hunger and poverty be eradicated first as poverty bred many problems.
M. Parkash said Pakistan’s situation was going from bad to worse in terms of economy, terrorism, religious harmony and tolerance.
He said the Hindus had to face a lot of problems in terms of jobs, lack of marriage certificates, religion, graveyards, even rectification of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) when required.
He stressed that the word minority must be eradicated and political parties must end minority wings in its parties and caste system be eliminated and all people must be declared Pakistani.
Dr Ashothama Lohana of the HRCP Hyderabad said Hindu people residing in border areas were being maltreated and urged the government to resolve problems of minorities on political ground also.
Sindh Porhiyat Council president Punhal Sario said that it seemed that rulers of the country had decided to get rid of Hindus from Sindh as injustices and excesses were being perpetrated in the interior of Sindh against them.
He said Sindh leader the late G.M. Syed had predicted that the state (Pakistan) based on religion would fall prey to extremism and it proved true.
Other speakers included SAP-PK programme coordinator Shahnaz Sheedi, Ishaque Soomor of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Ghaffar Malik of the Sindh Development Society (SDS) and social worker Zahida Detho.