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PAKISTAN – Discrimination in the education system: a petition to the Supreme Court

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(Agenzia Fides) – It is necessary to inform the Supreme Court of hate speech against religious minorities in Pakistan present in textbooks and highlight the discrimination in the education system: with this objective, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), NGOs led by the Pakistani Catholic Peter Jacob, presented a petition to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The NGO is at the service of human rights and social justice, especially the marginalized.

The petition also mentions the note of the Court on 19 June 2014 in which the Court asked the federal government to set up a task force with the aim of developing a strategy for religious tolerance. The text sent to Fides points out the need “to develop appropriate curricula to promote a culture of religious and social tolerance in schools and universities”, but acknowledges that the provincial governments “have not implemented the removal of discrimination and religious prejudices to improve the quality of textbooks or to impart quality education”.

The petition is accompanied by examples of hate speech against religious minorities, present in textbooks in use. “The existence of such prejudices challenge the religious, civil and democratic values” reads the petition, recalling that “students belonging to religious minorities are required to learn the religious lessons of Islam and pass examinations that may conflict with their religious beliefs on the one hand and could affect their performance in the exams”.

“It is also a form of coercion that students belonging to religious minorities cannot study their religion under the current education system”, a discriminatory condition. For this reason, the petition asks the Court to identify and order “appropriate remedies for the protection of equal rights of religious minorities in the education system”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/11/2015)

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