Pakistan’s religious minorities feel insecure: Kaira

Situation will deteriorate if Indian prime minister plays religious card

By: Maqbool Ahmad      Published: 11:39 PM, 17 Feb, 2020
Pakistan’s religious minorities feel insecure: Kaira
PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira.–File photo

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that security of religious minorities is a serious issue in Pakistan.

Addressing a seminar in Lahore on Monday, Kaira said equal citizenship and rights were promised to religious minorities before the partition of the subcontinent, but these promises remain unfulfilled even today. He said that religious minorities feel insecure and their problems have not been addressed. He said that every time the PPP came into power it did its best to give the religious minorities equal citizenship rights. He said the PPP alone did more work for religious minorities than the total work of all legitimate and illegitimate political parties since the creation of Pakistan. He said there was no state in the world where followers of a particular religion were in power and the rest were being ignored. He said that people of a specific culture get power and the others are ignored.

According to the new concept of the state, he said, equal rights are given to people of different religions, schools of thought, ethnicities and civilisations. He said that Pakistan was achieved as a nation state, not a religious state, otherwise provinces would not have been asked to vote individually. He said it was true that Pakistan was created on the basis of Muslim majority areas, but religion alone was not the basis for the creation of Pakistan. He said there was a need to end this discrimination in Pakistan. He said there are not just religious minorities living in Pakistan; there are ethnic and sectarian minorities as well. He said that different religions and sects have fought equally massive fights. He said that a state fighting on the basis of religion will never be at peace and Pakistan is fighting the one such war today. He said that laws are in place to address these issue, but people are not getting equal rights. He said that constitutional provisions and court verdicts are there, but people are not getting their constitutional rights. He said that problems would not be solved as long as the state does not move towards democracy and rule of law.

Referring to the law and order situation in Balochistan, Kaira asked, “Is it happening on religious basis? He said that people are killing each other in Balochistan for survival. He said that Pakistan should have ended the ethnic, religious, and sectarian discrimination. “Is a Muslim factory owner giving due rights to a Muslim factory worker?” he asked.

The PPP leader from Gujrat said social division was the real issue and there was a need to wage a struggle against it. He said that every religion had been hijacked by some of its own followers. He said that religion was the most widely used tool of exploitation in every society. He said the struggle was basically against the social division and for democracy. He said that state has nothing to do with religion. He said that problems will increase if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plays the religious card.

In a veiled reference to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the former information minister said the incumbent ruler was raising the slogan of a Madina-like state, but does he have any connection with the state of Madina? He said people are being fooled in the name of religion. He said that all provinces have complaints about each other and the PPP fights for the rights of every province. He said he was unhappy with people because they fell for empty slogans. He said that all political parties, marshal laws, even claimants to the new Pakistan have been tried now. He said that all these rulers did not take even a single step towards resolution of people’s problems. He said that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is the only young leader who is speaking about religious, economic, constitutional and federal issues as well as smaller groups without any fear. He said, “We need to set our history right, include all heroes in our history and discipline ourselves to get our rights.”