Thursday, October 24, 2013
Letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan on " Subject of Ethics for the Minority Students"
Ref.No PMTA/41/13 Dated: October 24,2013
Mr. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Minister for Law, Justice & Human Rights
Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Subject: SUBJECT OF RELIGION FOR THE MINORITY STUDENTS
Greetings and peace from Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA).
Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association would like to draw your kind attention on the subject cited above.
Sir, Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal citizenship to all Pakistanis as it describes” All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.” It is a sorrowful state that there is the violation of the constitution in this regard. There is discrimination with the fundamental rights of the students of the religious minorities. There are biases and propagation on the religious basis against Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs in the contents of the present curriculum and the textbooks. Muslim students have been provided the facility of the subject of Islamic Studies and of the teachers but the minority students have been have been deprived of their fundamental right to study their own religion/s. It is the responsibility of the state to provide equal opportunity to all citizens without any discrimination. Due to this the parents and students from the minorities are in oppression and depression. They feel insecure to send their children even to the public sector educational institutions because anything wrong can happen to them. The minority students have to suffer due to the biased curriculum, biased textbooks and biased environment of the educational institutions.
Sir, the subject of Ethics has been introduced only for the minority students though it is the utmost need of all the students to have the human values such as tolerance, patience, human dignity and human rights. The minority students have to study mythology and comparison study of religions from grade 3 to grade 11 which is a master level course while the majority students have to study only the fundamental teachings of their own religion. The subject of Ethics is like a poison for these innocent minority students of the age 6 or 7. This is the age for them to know their own religion/s but they are going to be confused in the
forthcoming textbooks. The curriculum in the subject of Ethics is biased and even there has not been any role of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs to develop the textbooks according to their beliefs. The subject of Ethics is being imposed on the minority students. The minorities have always demanded the subject of “RELIGION” for their children as their constitutional and fundamental right but unfortunately no government has paid heed on this genuine demand.
Sir, Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association has the following demands on behalf of the religious minorities of Pakistan.
1. The subject of ‘Ethics’ must be replaced into the subject of ‘Religion’.
2. There must be separate textbooks and teachers for Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, Parsi and other minority students as it is in the case of the majority students.
3. The curriculum and textbooks in the subject of ‘Religion’ must be developed by the educationists and the theologians of the relevant religion/s.
4. The biased and hate promoting material against Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other religions must be abolished from all the textbooks.
5. Comparison between or among religions must be abolished from all the textbooks as it is described in the instructions of the Curriculum Wing, but deliberately violated while the textbooks are developed by the publishers.
6. There must be chapters on peace, human rights, human dignity, social and interfaith harmony at all levels.
7. The role of all the Pakistani heroes in different fields must be included in the textbooks without the distinction of race or creed as all the Pakistanis have played their role in the creation and construction of Pakistan.
Sir, the rights of child are guaranteed not only in the Constitution of Pakistan but also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief .
PMTA would like to present a brief description of the Articles that safeguard the rights of the child in this regard. We are sure the there must be proper implementation on the voice of the religious minorities of Pakistan.
Constitution of Pakistan 1973
Article 22: Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion, etc
(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.
(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.
(3) Subject to law
(a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and
(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 26 (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members
1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language
States Parties undertake to adopt immediate and effective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnical groups, as well as to propagating the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and this Convention.
Declaration On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Intolerance And Of Discrimination Based On Religion Or Belief
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
1. No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on grounds of religion or other beliefs.
2. For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression "intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief" means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.
Sir, we request you to kindly address the demands of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) and provide the constitutional, fundamental and legal rights to bring the minority students from oppression and depression. There must be the supremacy of law and all citizens must be treated equally as guaranteed in the Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan. There will be good a gesture to the community of nations as Pakistan is already signatory of the above mentioned Covenants and Conventions and has ratified them. It is utmost need of the time to promote the culture of peace, harmony, tolerance, human rights and social justice. Such a culture can only flourish when education system is fair and unbiased and according to the guidelines of UNESCO. Secure minds can secure the nation but not the arms.
With best regards
Prof. Anjum James Paul
Latif Nagar, St.2,
1. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan, President’s House, Islamabad.
2. Mr. Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, Inter-faith Harmony
3. Minority Members of the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan
4. All the Governors of the provinces of Pakistan
5. All the Chief Ministers of the provincial governments of Pakistan
6. All the Human Rights Ministers of the provincial governments of Pakistan
7. All the Secretaries( Schools) of the provincial governments of Pakistan