Discrimination against Christians in Pakistan . By Dr. Raja Nathaniel Gill, Advocate
It is the misfortune of the Christians in Pakistan that they are confronting numberless discriminations in Pakistan . In the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, we see many discriminations as well as in the Federal and Provincial Laws and many account less discrimination are found.
1. Equality of Citizens
The Article 25(1) of Constitution 1973 is as under:
All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
It is the spirit and soul of the constitution but practically the situation is contrary.
2. Christian cannot be the President etc.
When every citizen is equal before Law, but according to the Article 42(2) of the Constitution 1973, the President, Chief of Army Staff etc. shall only be Muslim while Christians cannot be pointed on these high official posts which is against the principles of equality and natural justice. In comparison, we see in India that the President is a Muslim and the Prime Minister is a Sikh and both these persons belong to the minority of India , the majority being the Hindus. So it is a big discrimination with the Christians that in a republic country, they cannot serve the country on the important posts.
3. Religious Education (Islamiat) for Muslim Students
The Article 22 (1) states:
No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony , or attend religious worship , if any instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.
The real situation is absolutely repugnant.
The Christians students are compelled to study ethics while the Muslim students study Islamiat which is their own book of religion. According to the above mentioned article of the Constitution, the Christian students must be given the opportunity to study the book of their own religion. The Holy Bible should be added in the syllabus for the Christian students. The Christian students are compelled to study Islamiat on the ground that if they choose ethics as the alternate subject, they get just only passing marks while as compared to Muslim students who get 90% marks in Islamiat which makes difference of 30 to 40 marks on the aggregate. If a Christian student takes exam of ethics and the paper examiner is a Muslim and while marking the paper that is in his mind that the student is a Non-Muslim so he is reluctant to give him the maximum marks in ethics which create difficulty for the Christian students when he applies for admission for the higher studies.
So it is against the spirit of equity and natural justice that the Christian students are deprived of their fundamental rights while, internationally, the subject of religion is optional while in Pakistan it is compulsory. Not only the Christian national faces the discrimination but the Christian students are also the victims of this discrimination in Pakistan .
4. No representation in Senate
The Government has given the representation in the Upper House of the Parliament to all the communities in Pakistan , that is, representation to all the provinces, women, technocrats. But it is not understandable that why the Christians who are the biggest minority of the country is deprived of representation in the Senate.
5. Insufficient Representation in National Assembly
In the National Assembly of Pakistan, only 4 members are nominated. The Representation in the Union Council, Tehsil council, district council is 5% but in the Provincial Assemblies and National Assembly, the Government has miserable failed to give 5% representation to the Non-Muslims.
6. No Representation in Federal Cabinet
The present Government is working with the largest Cabinet ever in the history of the country. But it is astonishing that not even a single Christian or non-Muslim has been included in the Federal Cabinet.
7. Minority Minister is a Muslim
The person who does not belong to the minority community has been appointed as the Federal Minister of the Minority Affairs. How a person who do not know the problems of the minorities can represent or solve their issues?
8. Blasphemy Laws as nude hanging sword
Since the Blasphemy Law was promulgated, not even a single case has been proved to be a true against a Christian. This law is misused since its formation. The people misuses it for their personal disputes. It is the nude hanging sword on the neck of the Christians. Many churches, hospitals and schools are burnt due to this law. This law is known as Section 295 (a)(b)(c) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The Government has badly failed to control the misuse of this law. The Christians are murdered and compelled to leave their homeland due to this law.
9. Hadood Ordinances against Christians
In 1979, Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq introduced Hadood and Zina Ordinance
(Prohibition Enforcement of Hadd Order IV of 1979). This ordinance is applicable to all the citizens of Pakistan . This ordinance is that when a man commits adultery with a woman, he is punished under this ordinance, whether he is a Muslim or Non-muslim. This law is absolutely against the spirit of Islam as the Islamic Laws are only applicable to the Muslims and the Non-muslims are not subject to Islamic Laws.
10. Discrimination with Christian Women
From the Union Council level to the Senate, the Muslims women are given the 33% representation while the Christian women are totally ignored and there is no seat allocated to them in the Parliament as well as in the District Assembly.
11. Discrimination in Judiciary
In the present judicial system, not even a single Christian judge is working in the High Courts and Supreme courts of Pakistan . So far as the office of the advocate and attorney General is concerned, more than hundred officers are working but not even a single Christian is appointed on the above-mentioned post.
12. No Representation in Services
Under the Article 36 of the Constitution which is:
The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services.
But practically, no special seats are reserved for the Christians or minorities in the Federal and Provincial Departments.