28 Sep 2021 00:00:00 AM Breaking News
Pakistan: High court rules non-Muslim children as young as 10 can convert to IslamSpecial police force created for the protection of minoritiesNGOs urge the EU to act over human rights abuses in Pakistan Husband throws hot water over the woman who converted to Islam to marry himChristian mother of four kidnaped on her way to homeCross removed from Church in Pakistan during the dedication.Anti-forced conversion bill draws concern from clerics Pakistan: Another Christian woman accused of blasphemy for forwarding a text UN designates day to commemorate victims of acts of violence based on religion Two Christian girls kidnapped at gunpoint outside their house Minor Christian girl forcibly converted to Islam recovered from kidnapper and sent to shelter homeNational Assembly passes unanimous resolution condemning attack on Hindu temple Another Christian girl kidnapped and converted to IslamPakistan’s blasphemy laws equated to ethnic cleansing, conference hears Quran now a compulsory in Punjab’s schools and collegesHindu woman should be returned to her parents after alleged forced marriage, court rulesPakistan court allows 2nd marriage of Christian man in Pakistan EU calls on Pakistan to intervene in release of blasphemy accusedReligious affairs ministry says religious conversion before 18 should be allowedPakistan: Christian girl raped at schoolAnother Christian Minor Girl Sent with her Abductor by the Pakistan High CourtPakistan: Muslim Doctor forcefully converts 13-year-old Christian girl to work in kitchenPakistani Supreme Court nationalises Christian college Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy charges Pakistani court send minor Christian girl with her abductor Bill before Sindh assembly calls for all 18-year-olds to be marriedTolerant majority needs to take charge of ending religious discrimination, retired Justice says Pakistan: Christian mother of five abducted and severely abusedChristian mother concerned her abducted daughter may be sold if not recovered soon Muslim nurses took over a chapel and threatened to convert it to a mosqueEU concerned over Pakistan’s rising blasphemy casesPakistan retained as country of particular concern in USCIRF report Sindh Assembly passes resolution condemning blasphemous caricaturesImran Khan says insulting Mohammed should be same as denying HolocaustTwo Pakistani Christian nurses charged with blasphemy offencesMother of kidnapped 13-year-old accuses police of not finding her daughter Pakistan: CDA demolishes church in Islamabad during LentPakistan: Petition filed to make the death penalty the only punishment for blasphemy in the Pakistan Penal CodePakistan: Police force pastor and congregation to shut down Church Christian man granted bail after blasphemy accusations Christian Family attacked by a Muslim land grabber Protests erupt after inmate charged with blasphemyJudge issued certificate needed for religious conversion, parliamentary committee proposesPrime Minister’s aide says there is no concept of forced conversion in PakistanTwo Christians charged under blasphemy law for distributing Christian literature Sentence of 5-10 years’ jail being considered for those involved in forced conversionCommittee rejects Protection of the Rights of Religious Minorities (PRRM) Bill Pakistan: Christian staff nurse and gospel singer accused of committing blasphemy Christian father begging police to help get his daughter backChristian girl threatens to burn herself if she doesn’t get justice Pakistan: Woman kills her husband and two daughters Two Christian sisters martyred for not converting to IslamThree Christians charged with blasphemy on Christmas DayA Christian man charged with blasphemy acquitted after 11 years Pakistan rejects US designation on religious freedom blacklistMuslim man shoots Christian woman dead for refusing to marry himPoliceman told Christian father to be happy for his daughter’s conversion to Islam instead of registering a case against the kidnapper Supreme Country unhappy over reconstitution of minorities’ commissionPakistan: Christian family foil attempt to kidnap their daughter Pakistani Senate panel to hold sessions on forced conversion in SindhMuslim man wants to forcefully marry Christian girlBill for minorities rejected by senate panelAnother Pakistani Christian woman escapes her kidnapperChristian hospital cleaner accused of stealing 2.2 million rupees worth of medicinePrime Minister Imran Khan calls for rapists to be hanged publicly PML-N demands public execution of those convicted in child sex abuse cases Man calling himself Jesus charged under the blasphemy law Pakistani Christian man sentenced to death for 'blasphemous texts'Christian mother and son 11 arrested after allegedly stealing gold and cash from employer’s house Police arrest Christian man accused of blasphemyPakistani Christian leaders condemn Quran burning in Sweden Pakistan: Annual pilgrimage at national Marian shrine in Mariamabad cancelledHuman Rights Watch asks Imran Khan to amend the blasphemy law Minor marriages and their conversion is an important issue, CII chairman saysNew curriculum to be implemented next year for grade one to fiveChristian domestic servant beaten for not converting to IslamPakistani Christian mother killed by police officerYoung Christian factory worker killed by his Muslim colleagueComplaints lodged against Saba Qamar and Bilal Saeed for committing blasphemyGovernor of Punjab announces opening of Mariamabad as tourist sitePakistan’s National Assembly adopts resolution for adding Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to syllabusOn National Minorities Day, President Alvi says minorities will be treated equally Pakistan National Assembly Unanimously Passes Resolution to Write Khatamun Nabiyyin With Hazrat Muhammad (SAW)Pakistani minorities mark National Minority Day with mixed feelingsPakistan’s Punjab Assembly passes resolution on Quaid’s Aug 11 speechPakistani legislators oppose bill they passed three weeks agoPakistani court sparks outrage by ruling Christian girl, 14, must stay married to alleged abductorPakistani Christian man charged with blasphemyUSCIRF outraged at courtroom killing of US citizen in Pakistan over blasphemy chargesMan accused of blasphemy In Pakistan shot dead at courtPakistan: Punjab govt asked to set minimum age of marriage for girls at 18Punjab Assembly passes bill allowing inspection of printing presses and confiscation of any publicationShould minorities leave Pakistan?Blasphemy complaint against opposition politician for saying ‘all religions are equalPakistan’s National Assembly adopts resolution for teaching Holy Quran with translation in universitiesPope 'saddened' as Hagia Sophia reverts to mosqueCouncil of Islamic Ideology in Pakistan will consider whether public funds can be used to build a Hindu templePakistani Christian man shot dead by neighbour for buying house in Muslim dominated areaIslamic seminary issues Fatwa against construction of Hindu Temple in IslamabadUniversity professor arrested under Blasphemy accusationMuslims attack a church and desecrate the Cross in PakistanChristian mother complains to Police about her daughter's abductionPakistani Minister calls for those who Blaspheme against Muhammad to beheadedHuman rights situation in Pakistan "Grealty worrisome”Pakistani Governor makes Quran teaching with translation compulsory in Punjab University
Pakistan Christian News
Nasir Saeed


Construction of Hindu Temple in Islamabad

The battle between the government and the religious groups has upset the proponents of religious freedom and minority rights. The minorities are disheartened as the construction of the first Hindu Temple in Islamabad has been halted after it sparked controversy.Islamabad High Court disposed of all the petitions, and the matter was referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for guidance on whether the Hindu Temple can be built in Islamabad and if public funding can be used to build it. This shows how people in power keep finding ways to escape instead of being duty-bound to promote religious freedom and take a stand for minority rights.

Permission to build a Temple in Islamabad was granted by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) administration in 2017. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has in-turn promised $1.3 funding, accompanying a vision of promoting Pakistan and PTI’s positive and tolerant image across the globe.

However, opposition from religious groups has highlighted the lamenting and growing intolerance in society with its religious minorities, and Pakistan is once again making headlines in the international media about its treatment of minorities.

Mufti Ziauddin of Jamia Ashrafia vehemently branded the Hindu temple’s construction as ‘un-Islamic.’ He even issued a fatwa to claim that although it was within Islamic values to maintain existing places of worship for religious minorities, building new temples would amount to a bad deed. In support of Mufti Ziauddin’s contention, Mufti Muneeb Ur Rehman further claimed that constructing a new Hindu temple in Islamabad is against the spirit of Islam and likewise an ‘insult’ to the ‘state of Madina.’ Relentless opposition to the temple resulting from religious groups and individuals is continuing to rise. This situation is adding to the challenges that Imran Khan is already facing on several fronts within and outside the country.

Imran Khan has noble intentions toward religious minorities. He exemplified his efforts when he reopened one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines, the 500-year-old Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. But the recent conundrum that put the spotlight on Pakistan consequently marred his noble effort to promote the country’s image in supporting its minority groups.

Other than the religious groups and the politicians, several individuals have uploaded images and videos to social media showing people destroying the foundation of the boundary wall and claiming they are performing their religious duty. Recently a new hate song against building a Hindu temple has been uploaded on social media. While this should have been considered a cybercrime, no one was held legally accountable for it. Amidst all these gut punches to religious freedom, one cannot help sensing the continually rising extremism, hatred, and deterioration of religious tolerance.

The menace of extremism continues to rise and needs to be eradicated as it has distorted Pakistan’s image globally. Further ignorance could even put the future security of our country at stake''    

In December 2018 addressing an event to highlight and celebrate the 100-day achievements of the Punjab government in Lahore, the Prime Minister said that he will “show” the Narendra Modi government “how to treat minorities”. Claiming his government would ensure that minorities feel safe and that they are protected and have equal rights in the ‘New Pakistan’, the Prime Minister stressed that his government is taking steps to ensure that religious minorities within the country get their due rights, a vision also shared by the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The dilemma that Pakistan currently faces did not happen overnight. It was birthed by decades of individual and government actions that aimed for personal and political gains. Sadly, each government’s steps for its political and personal benefits veered far from the guiding principles that Quaid-i-Azam had set for the people of Pakistan – and we have been failing him every day.

Quaid’s vision was of a pluralistic society, where religion has nothing to do with the business of the state and every citizen of Pakistan has equal rights and status. This has completely died out and hatred and sectarianism have been gripping our society for the last several decades.

There is no doubt that Quaid-i-Azam wanted Pakistan to be a Muslim welfare state, where minorities would have equal rights and no societal dysfunction. He did not intend for an Islamic religious state where minorities would not have equal citizenship status and equal rights. He was a firm believer of democracy and Pakistan came into being through a democratic struggle, not conquered by an Islamic army, therefore minorities cannot be treated as dhimmis. This vision had blurred. In its place are hatred and sectarianism that have been gripping Pakistani society like an unescapable claw for decades.

The leadership of the minorities wholeheartedly supported Quaid I Azam in his struggle, with Christian leadership recording their statement before the boundary commission. In this statement, they requested that the Christian population be counted as part of Pakistan. 

Christian leader S P Singha, a former speaker of Punjab Assembly, said Muslims were the minority community of the sub-continent at that time and that they became the majority with the creation of Pakistan. According to S P Singha, Christians lent their support to the Muslim league as Muslims would remember the problems faced as a minority and would not perpetuate the same fate for other minorities. Present day Pakistan has completely changed with the political use of Islam, heightening religious militancy and extremism, which are posing a serious challenge to the state of Pakistan and leading to the insecurities of the minorities. Consequently, minorities are continuing to flee Pakistan, because they no longer sense a blissful future in that country. The menace of extremism continues to rise and needs to be eradicated as it has distorted Pakistan’s image globally. Further ignorance could even put the future security of our country at stake. 

There is a parliamentary democratic government system in Pakistan, which is based on social justice, equality, and fair play – a contrast to a religious state’s theocracy where non-Muslims live as Dhimmi who don’t have equal rights nor allowed to build their place of worship. Article 20 of the constitution also supports the propagation of their religious practices. Instead of paying for Jizya, minorities pay taxes that make the government bound to use funds for their welfare – including the construction of new worship places or the restoration of those that already exist. Regardless of whether the temple is built with public or private funding, Pakistan’s image is already tainted. To avoid further humiliation globally, the Pakistan government must take crucial efforts to address the root causes of the country’s societal dysfunction. The young generation is the backbone of Pakistan’s future and should therefore be exposed and molded into a renewed and tolerant society.

To achieve this goal, the government must remove the discriminatory and hate materials against non-Muslims from the school and college syllabus. Only then can we effectively stop indoctrinating harm in thoughts and actions. 

Courtesy: Daily Times - Pakistan