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Minorities suffer increasingly under majorities

July 05, 2012

ISLAMABAD, July 4: As minorities all over South Asia suffer, majorities begin to shift from the discrimination of minorities, to their elimination.

This was opined by renowned scholar I.A. Rehman, Indian scholar Dr Tanveer Fazal, Bangladeshi journalist Samad Ahmed, and Sri Lankan scholar Dr KNO Dharmadasa during the concluding ceremony of the “Regional Conference on Rights of Religious Minorities in South Asia,” here on Wednesday.

I.A. Rehman said the minorities had been facing discrimination everywhere. At Quaid-i-Azam University, minority students were being offered only two seats for admission, and there were so many departments in the country where Ahmedies find it impossible to secure a job.

“Pakistan has its National Minority Commission but it neither has a secretariat nor any allocated budget. Minorities’ shrines have been demolished in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while Hazaras are being murdered in Balochistan, and Shia community is being slaughtered in sectarian violence in Gilgit Baltistan,” he said.

“Shrines had also been demolished in Timbuktu and Sri Lanka. In South Asia, because of sub-divisions of minorities within minorities, solidarity was something very challenging to achieve. However, in 1950, the Liaquat-Nehru agreement resolved most of the minorities’ issues in India and Pakistan,” he added.

Dr. Tanveer Fazal, Representative of India at the conference, stated that even Muslims in India have been sub-divided into their own three segments: the upper class, middle class and lower class.

At the conference, human rights activist Tahira Abdullah expressed her concern over the fact that female speakers were not invited to the conference. According to her, over 50 per cent of the population was female, and still not a single one was there to represent the majority.

The organiser of the conference, Dr Maqsudul Hasan Nuri, said the time was ripe enough to understand the disparities between communities, and the struggles between majorities and minorities should be resolved. Countries should focus more on their economic conditions.

He concluded that Pakistan should minimise tension with the neighboring countries, and instead focus on resolving its internal issues.