Pakistan was created for the Muslims so that they could live and progress independently according to their beliefs and purposes. Islam, which is the religion of more than 96 percent of the total population (about 170 million), gives an important position and status to all the other religions in the country. That is why the religions of the smaller groups of people or the minorities should be respected by the majority.
The Christians form the largest minority in the country. They are more than fifteen lac. Their two major sects are of the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. The churches of these sects are well. maintained in different parts of the country. Most of the Muslims love the Christian fellow citizens, However, some stray (irregular and unseen) incidents of violence at the churches and Christian educational institutions, were in reaction to the government stand on Afghanistan and terrorism. What to talk of the minorities, the terrorist Muslim sects (of the Sunnis and the Shias) have been involved in killings in mosques and “imambargahs” (the Shias’ worship places). Whether it is against the Christians or against the Muslims, terrorism is a living threat to the life and existence of the minorities.
The Christians have maintained their church (prayer) service. They have celebrated, together with their Muslim compatriots (fellow.citizens), their festivals of Christmas and Easter. Foreign religious delegations from Europe, America and the Far East have visited their missions in Pakistan. A few years ago, some intelligent Christians often told the writer of this essay; “We feel freer here even more than we feel in a predominantly (dominantly) Christian country.”
We have about three lac Hindus, who are mostly settled in Sindh and Karachi. We honorable and noble Hindus just as we respect righteous Muslims. The Hindus are free to offer prayers in their temples and to enjoy their festivals like “holi” and “deewali.” We find quite a few Hindus working in important positions in education and the judiciary. We find able Hindu doctors, engineers, computer experts, designers, architects, and artists at different places. We should prove our faithfulness to the golden principle of minority-majority equality.
Further, we have Parsis (about eight thousand), Buddhists (about nine thousand), Ahmadis (about one-and-a-half lac) and followers of other religions like the Sikhs, Bahais, Jains and others (about two lac). These small religious communities or groups are free to follow their religions and to work gainfully in different fields like education, medicine, law, and science.
In Karachi and other cities in Sindh, we witness Zoroastrians or Parsis worshipping the fire in their holy places. This kind of religious worship is common to the other religions like the Jains and Bahais, who follow their religious leaders and worship freely.
The minorities truly deserve to be given the widest possible protection to their life and property and to all their legal activities.