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Published Date: Dec 11, 2015

Sufi culture is fading away in Sindh: Dr Abid

ISLAMABAD: Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Special Assistance to the Prime Minister on Human Rights, has said that since the political economy of human rights in South Asia and rest of the world have been behind caste and class system, the marginal people, be they blacks or other ethnic and religious minorities, have to suffer in terms of human, social, economic and political rights.
He was speaking at the launching ceremony of a study on “Strengthening human rights capacities of provincial governments: political economy of analysis” at a local hotel.
The study, which was jointly conducted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and The Asia Foundation (TAF) was launched on the International Human Rights Day. The event was attended by notable provincial officers, civil society members and human rights activists.
Barrister Zafarullah Khan said the Muslims in India get less jobs in government and judiciary than their percentage in Indian population. Similarly the haris (peasants) in some districts in Sindh are Hindus while landlords are Muslims and they treat their tenants as bonded labour.
This means that religious minorities are being exploited due to their vulnerability when it comes to the political economy of the human rights in sheer violations of fundamental human rights.
He said the government has planned to increase punishment for lodging false cases/FIRs against minorities to settle some hidden agendas of the landlords.
He said the government is considering a comprehensive constitutional reforms package for minorities in Pakistan to protect their rights. He said after a-year-long deliberations, we came up with a plan to register madrassas and we have asked Ulema to upgrade syllabi.
Executive Director SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, presenting findings of the study conducted in Punjab and Sindh observed that it was discovered during the research that many violators of human rights did not know that they were violating human rights. He said that we talked with people, parliamentarians and reporters.
They have their own perceptions and thoughts. He appreciated the role played by some members of the parliament who raised issues of human rights violations in the parliament and relevant standing committees. He also highlighted that helplines to provide assistance to the people in case of violations of their rights, setting up of police force have been some of the good initiatives of the women MPs.
Referring to the research, Dr Abid said when our research team asked lawyers in a focus group discussion if they want the laws should be improved to ensure protection of human rights, they were found to be oblivious of even the existing laws; even some legal firms did not know of family laws.
This is an unfortunate situation as the defenders of laws do not know of laws pertaining to fundamental rights.
He said Sufi culture is fading away in Sindh; and religious minorities complain that there is lack of teachers in schools and non-Muslims are forced to study Islamaiyat.
He also referred to the marks reserved for Hafiz e Quran but no mark for Hindus, Sikhs and Christians on the same criterion.
He said that intervention of police and military if any is not in favour of minorities and RTI is not applicable as authorities call divulging details as sensitive.
He said the report recommends a special task force to review the curriculum. A discriminatory sentence in the text is sufficient to marginlised a minority student in the class. He also referred to anti-Hindu quotes about 1971. He said people interviewed during the study appreciated the positive role of Rangers and media.
Mr. Farid Alam, Deputy Director Programs-The Asia Foundation, paid thanks to all the participants who attended the launch of findings of the report. He elaborated on the success of the project which is currently working to support the Provincial Governments in implementation of Human Rights agenda in Pakistan.
As, in Pakistan, The Asia Foundation’s efforts focus primarily on bridging the gap between citizens and government; fostering human rights and social inclusion, especially for women; and building the capacity of Pakistani institutions.Source: