PAKISTAN, HISTORY BOOKS OPEN TO MINOR RELIGIONS This is an initiative of the Christian-inspired association Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association

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A little cultural evolution in Pakistan – one of the countries where radical Islamism is more present – tolerance and integration of other religions is increasing. Starting next year, history books for students aged 13 and 15/16 will contain references to the role of Christians, Hindus and Sikh in the country after the independence. The book will report the speech of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, concerning freedom of religion and equality among citizens; the Quaid-e-Azam (“Great Leader”) wanted pluralistic democracy and rights in the country.

Pakistan Minorities Teacher Association (PMTA) promoted the initiative and chose some meaningful testimonies to be added in the history book. The President of the Association, the Christian professor Anjum James Paul, declared: “Thus, they wanted to reduce intolerance towards Christians, Hindus and Sikh, they are persecuted and discriminated in numerous ways”. In particular, “The role of Pakistan minorities”, is now the VIII chapter of “Population, Society and Culture in Pakistan” of Pakistan Studies, which is a compulsory course for the tenth class (15-16 year old students). The chapter “Fight for Pakistan” was added in the book od the eighth class (13 year old students).

The Constitution of Pakistan protects rights of minorities since 1973. According to the Constitution, they are free to follow their religious views, celebrate rites, transmit and publish their religious principles, and create religious organizations. In reality, minorities, Christians in particular, are victims of persecution, violence and expropriation, and it is all out of fanaticism of Muslims.

Recalling the key role of other religions when creating a new state, helps young people open their eyes on the importance of intercultural realities and respect of other.

Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa

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