Faisalabad: The Chairman of Pakistan Minority Teachers Association Professor Anjum James Paul have written an Open Letter to Mr. Shafqat Mehmood Federal Minister for Education, Government of Pakistan to ensure freedom of religion and belief for religious minorities students in upcoming single national curriculum and textbooks.
PMTA is making efforts since 2004 for education reforms through advocacy, lobbying and analyses on the textbooks of Pakistan to promote diversity and peaceful coexistence through the Pakistani education system.. Pakistani religious minorities are not enjoying fully constitutionally their civil and political rights and they are facing challenges of equal citizenship, equal rights and equal opportunities. Due to religious persecution lives, beliefs, families and properties of religious minorities are always at risk. Pakistani public sector education system promotes violence, intolerance, hatred and extremism through the language and images of the textbooks against non-Islamic religions, non-Muslims and non-Islamic Civilizations. Thus, Pakistani religious minorities become the direct target of the intolerance and extremism that Pakistani education system promotes.
Ref.No.PMTA/4-10/20-KPR Dated: March 13, 2020
Mr. Shafqat Mehmood
Federal Minister for Education
Government of Pakistan
Subject: REQUEST TO ENSURE FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES’ STUDENTS IN THE UPCOMING SINGLE NATIONAL CURRICULUM AND TEXTBOOKS
Greetings and peace from Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA).
PMTA would like to draw your kind attention on the subject cited above.
Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association is making efforts for equality based and inclusive education through advocacy and lobbying since 2004 and to make efforts for equal citizenship, equal rights and equal opportunities in Pakistan.
Sir, PMTA appreciates the steps that the present government is taking for a quality based and unbiased curriculum. It is utmost need of the time that education must promote social harmony, understanding, values and global citizenship. You have well said answering my question during the Policy Dialogue on “Religious inclusion and respect for diversity in education system” on March 3, 2020 in Islamabad that upcoming curriculum will be biased free. The present education system lacks inclusiveness, diversity, plurality and openly violates the fundamental human rights guaranteed in the constitution of Pakistan 1973. Pakistan is land of the followers of various religions like Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroasters, Buddhists, Kalash and Bahai etc. The constitution of Pakistan 1973 not only guarantees equal rights to all citizens without discrimination but also Freedom of Religion and Belief (FoRB) as well in the chapter of fundamental human rights.
Article 25 (1) “All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.”
Article 20 (a) “Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion;”
Article 22 (1) “No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.”
Present National Education 2009 (NEP), curriculum and textbooks are only for Muslim students because chapter 4 is on ‘Islamization of Education’. Religious instructions of single majority religion (Islam) are given to all students in the subjects of social sciences, physical sciences and languages. Arrangements have been made for the subjects of Islamic Education and Arabic as compulsory subjects under article 31 of the constitution of Pakistan for only Muslim students who study these subjects with their Islamic identity while students of religious minority have been deprived of their religious identity .There are contents of hatred, intolerance and biasness against Christianity, Christians, Hindu religion, Hindus, Sikhs and non-Islamic civilizations and cultures.
It is needed to review the present National Education Policy before adopting the Single National Curriculum so that the genuine reservations of the religious minorities may be addressed. There should be the subject of ‘Religious Education’ for the recognized religions of Pakistan as a separate volume and not to develop contents of curricula and textbooks against any religion.
With best regards
PROF. ANJUM JAMES PAUL
i. Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan, President’s Secretariat, Islamabad
ii. Mr. Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, PM Secretariat, Islamabad
iii. Mr. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Pakistan
iv. Dr. Shireen Mazari MNA, Federal Minister of Human Rights, Islamabad
v. Dr. Shoaib Suddle, Chairman, One Man Commission for the National Minority Rights Commission, Islamabad
vi. Ms. Shunila Ruth MNA, Parliamentary Secretary for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony, Islamabad