In contemporary, progressive, and educated nations, religious tolerance is essential. It’s a way for people of all religions, ideologies, and values to live together in harmony. It is the bedrock of a society that values equality and harmony.
According to the 2017 Pakistani census, 3.8 percent of Pakistani residents belong to religious minorities, despite the country’s 96.2 percent Muslim majority. Is it any less Pakistani because of this?
Religious freedom, equality, and tolerance are the foundations of Pakistan. “You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other site of worship in our state of Pakistan,” Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah famously said. It doesn’t matter what religion, caste, or faith you follow; that’s none of the government’s concern. Freedom of religion, worship, and association are guaranteed under Pakistan’s Constitution. Similarly for all people.
Minority groups have the right to exercise their faiths, run religious institutions, and cultivate their traditions under the protection of the constitution. Article 19 A of the Pakistani Constitution states: “Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practise, and propagate his religion.” Article 19 A of the Pakistani Constitution. All citizens of Pakistan, regardless of religious affiliation, have the right to practise their faith and run religious organisations. Religious freedom at educational institutions is further protected under Article 22. Under Article 22, no student at any educational institution shall be made to engage in religious rituals or receive religious instruction that does not pertain to their own faith. As a result of this legislation, religious minorities are protected against discrimination and harassment in schools.
In addition, Pakistan’s government has made significant measures to encourage religious tolerance and diversity. When the Kartarpur Corridor was opened, Sikh pilgrims from all over the globe were able to reach Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines. The Lahore-Karachi Christmas Peace Pray Train was started in 2021 by Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Railways in an effort to promote religious cooperation. In Pakistan, there are also several non-governmental initiatives aimed at fostering peace, tolerance, and equality. As an example of a digital campaign to raise awareness of the rights of Pakistan’s disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, Mashal-e-Haq may be found. An online discussion on the need of societal and individual responsibility in maintaining a peaceful, tolerant, and cohesive society has been started by the campaign. The campaign aims to make people aware of the freedoms guaranteed by Pakistan’s constitution to all its residents, and to inspire the online and offline communities to alter their own conduct in order to foster a culture where these rights are readily available to everyone.
It is critical that everyone’s role and conduct change in order to build a society that is both inclusive and peaceful. As a culture, we need to take a step back and consider the influence each of us has on the world around us. To advance as a peaceful and cohesive nation, we must inculcate in our children and ourselves the principles of equality, tolerance, acceptance, and compassion. Each of us has a role to play in promoting tolerance, diversity, and equal opportunity.