OVER the years minorities in Pakistan have been perceived as subhuman and subjected to all versions of mental and physical torture. They were killed, their temples were attacked, homes were ransacked, properties were vandalised, students were expelled from educational institutes and even worse their deceased were not allowed to rest in peace.
It is quite disturbing that despite all constitutional and ideological interpretations, we have failed to emerge as an ideal society for the religious minorities. Demolished temples, vandalised churches and desecrated Ahmadi graves are evidence of the fact that the state has failed to protect religious rights and social interests of its minorities.
There is a multitude of reasons behind thriving intolerance in our society. Of which one has to do with our obsolete and biased curriculum which offers nothing at all about the essence of interfaith harmony in society. It is a pity that children are taught in detail about distant locations of the world but not even a single word about different worship places built in our surroundings. Hardly a fifth grader Muslim child is exposed to the orientation that a temple holds the same exalted status in the eyes of a Hindu as does a mosque in the eyes of a Muslim and a Church for a Christian.
Similarly, discourse on building harmonious relations and interaction with different sects in society is non-existent in outmoded textbooks.
Likewise, these prejudiced textbooks represent the values of the dominating religion only as if others being practised across the country lack such tenets. This approach of our curriculum is not only hurtful towards other faiths but also deepening the sectarian divide in society with every passing day.
A liberal and moderate national curriculum is the need of the hour to bridge gaps between various sects to promote tolerance and enlightenment in society.
To single out a community for discrimination just because its religious views differ from that of yours is not in line with the true essence and spirit of Islam. Rather there is a need for peace and coexistence in society.
Minorities in Pakistan only get mentioned in history books as the followers of folded faiths once practised in this part of the world.
FAZAL BALOCH Turbat