Religion VS Politics

Pakistan is 6th most populous country in world with 200 million human beings predominantly Muslims, 95-97%, 75% Sunni Muslims and 25% Shia Muslims, and remaining 3-5% are the followers of other faiths mainly Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism. But ironically, Pakistan has become one of the religiously most sensitive country in the world where unrest and prejudice is at peak, not only among the followers of different faiths but also within the Muslims who constitute 95-97% of total population out of which 75% are Sunni Muslims and 25% Shia Muslims. These conflicts and unrest between different religions and further their schools of thought or denominations is not a latest story but it sparked immediately after the independence of Pakistan on 14 August 1947 when some Muslim religious leaders, who even opposed the Pakistan movement, started to impose their own versions and ideologies of Islam in state legislations and preachings advocating Pakistan exclusively a state for Muslims with hatred and prejudice against religious minorities, which was also the negation of the vision of Muhammad Ali Jinnah (late), the founder of Pakistan, who used to address the nation for equality, justice and tolerance irrespective of religion, caste, or creed.

Some reflections of Mr. Jinnah about peaceful coexistence with the followers of other faiths and beliefs were; 1) Religion should not be allowed to come into politics… .Religion is merely a matter between man and God. 1935, speaking to the Central Legislative Assembly of sub-continent. 2) 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. 11 August 1947, presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. 3) I am not fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan. 14 November 1946, during a press conference. 4) In any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be rule by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims but they are all Pakistani. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan. February 1948, broadcast to the people of United States of America on Pakistan.

In terms of religious freedom, the era of Zia-ul-Haq (1977-88) during which Islam was attempted to be operated and promoted by the state, pushed Pakistan in such a devastating ditch of fire which is still ongoing even after swallowing-up thousands of lives. The groups and segments which nurtured at that time turned into extremist and then terrorist ones, and trying to impose ‘their-own-version’ of Islam in the country, even opposing and fighting with state army and killing hundreds of innocent people even in mosques, churches, and shrines.

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