Pakistan needs sweeping constitutional amendments to ensure equality of citizens regardless of their faith or sect

Separation of mosque and state, equality for every Pakistani citizen and strong merit based secularism is the only way forward for Pakistan

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

– Muhammad Ali Jinnah

The prophetic words by the founder of our nation clearly show what he conceived the state of Pakistan as. But looking back on our history, we can clearly see that we’re way past that.

The struggle for the recognition of Ahmadis as Muslims is a lost cause. An average Pakistani has been so brainwashed that he will never accept them as such and crimes against/persecution of Ahmadis won’t stop under the current Constitution.

Christians and Hindus are similarly marginalised, with many of Pakistani Hindus going to India and India accepting them with open arms. We know about the kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam. We are similarly aware of the attacks on churches and the failure of the government to provide them with security. We are callous.

There should be sweeping constitutional amendments which declare all Pakistanis as equal citizens, regardless of their faith or sect. When your law says that a non-Muslim cannot be a president or prime minister of your country, you’re already promoting discrimination in the society and inoculating the idea that religion can be used to persecute people and to discriminate against them.

This very ideology has pushed the Pakistani society towards religious extremism and the alienation of Pakistani minorities will lead to more violent outbursts by the bearded men.

Simply put, you don’t have to agree that Ahmadis are Muslims. But this idea that Ahmadis are a subhuman species and should be persecuted accordingly is inhumane. With laws that put Ahmadi publishers of the Quran in jail, we can safely say that Zia’s Islami nizam has only divided our society on the basis of sectarianism.

Separation of mosque and state, equality for every Pakistani citizen and strong merit based secularism is the only way forward for Pakistan. Otherwise we should be ready to face the consequences of absolute chaos, because once we run out of minorities, who do we kill next?

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