Karachi, 11-08-2023: The city witnessed a historic event as the inaugural Minority Rights March took place at Frere Hall on National Minority Day. A collaborative effort, the march was spearheaded by a diverse group of political, religious, social, non-profit, and governmental entities.
Safina Javed, a prominent Women's Rights Activist and key organizer, remarked, "Our unity and shared purpose have driven us to launch the first Minority Rights March. Daily, those outside the religious majority in Pakistan face persecution. The rising tide of discrimination and violence, particularly against the Christian and Hindu communities, is alarming." She emphasized the critical need for reserved positions for non-Muslims in law enforcement and lamented the existing pro-minority laws in Sindh that remain largely theoretical.
The event saw participation from a spectrum of society, including politicians, lawyers, and human rights advocates. Among the attendees was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior, the sole heir of the late PPP leader Murtaza Bhutto. He championed Pakistan's diverse religious and ethnic tapestry, attributing the nation's achievements to the invaluable contributions of its religious minorities.
Marchers, donning traditional saaris and vibrant turbans, voiced their dissent against systemic bias. Tehrik-e-Niswan, a cultural action group, showcased a poignant drama highlighting the challenges faced by Pakistan's minority communities. Zoha Alvi, a researcher and organizer, emphasized the importance of representation for minority women in legislative bodies. Ramesh Singh, Patron-In-Chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council, voiced concerns over the lack of representation for the Sikh and Parsi communities in elected forums.
Warris Choudhry spotlighted the challenges faced by sanitary workers, many of whom hail from minority communities.
The march culminated with a comprehensive list of demands presented to the government:
This momentous event stands as a testament to the resilience and unity of Pakistan's minority communities and their allies, all striving for a more inclusive and just nation.