I feel strong pangs of contrition as a concerned Pakistani before wishing “merry christmas” to the Christian diaspora while celebrating the birth anniversary of beloved Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah this year. The plain reason behind my remorse is the treatment dished out to the vulnerable minority group this year.
Barring the daily mundane discrimination, the christian minority witnessed all hell breaking loose not once but twice this year in the form of Badami bagh arson and the peshawar church bombing.
I find the cliched yet formidable words from the 11th august 1947 address of Quaid e Azam as the most appropriate and potent wish on this christmas. If applied In true letter and spirit, it would not only help assuage the woes of christian community in Pakistan rather it would also fit perfect as a new year resolution safe guarding the rights of all minorities inhabited in Pakistan.
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has nothing to do with the business of the state. … We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one state.”
If we could somehow translate the last line in the excerpt into reality, then we could have definitely bring a positive change in the mindsets of the populace in the country.
As I reckon calling equal citizens to the christians under current scenario would be wrong.
At times the christian community is treated the way “Dalits” are dealt with in India. For this we need to unlearn the negative narrative that prevails. Until we don’t abandon associating urdu pejoratives like “Choora” and “Masulee” with the christians, we can’t give them the status of equal citizens granted to them in Pakistan envisioned by the founding father Quaid e azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
For starters, giving a heartfelt hug on this christmas to our christian subordinates, servants, sweepers, janitors and all those christian workers whom we come across every day will touch a chord with them. It will help us dispel the hidebound stereotypes that prevail in society.
Similarly speaking for other sects, no one has right to call some one from another sect of islam as an infidel or a traitor. Unfortunately moulding others to one’s own interpretation of islam seems to be the hobbyhorse for many in this country for a rather long period now. This futile activity of coercing others has developed a sense of disenfranchisement amongst the suppressed minorities and created more fissures in Jinnah’s Pakistan.
With 2013’s sun about to set, we as a nation need to literally vow to safeguard the vulnerable minorities who have been contributing positively for the betterment of the country.
If we could give minorities their due then we would certainly feel proud for keeping Jinnah’s legacy alive to some extent, after losing his personal residence in Ziarat this year to the wrath of fundamentalists’ mentality that we ought to beat in quest for a prosperous new year.