Being a member of a minority group is an unpardonable sin; one becomes vulnerable both to the state as well as non-state injustices. However, of late, the government has realised, to an extent, that if it fails its minorities, the social fabric of the society will see an irreparable loss. To prevent this, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) on Tuesday decided to constitute a special bench for the implementation of its 2014 judgment regarding upholding of the minority rights and promoting of an inclusive society. The decision of the SCP to constitute a bench in this regard is a welcome one.

As Pakistani society drifted towards extremism, the minorities of the country became further exposed to all kinds of threats. Pakistan, unfortunately, has become a country where the abusers of minorities remain at large. Even, the state, sometimes, through its inaction against such crimes encourage those who think of minorities as subhuman. The decision of the SCP to implement its earlier judgement of 2014 through the constitution of a bench is a step forward in the right direction. Hopefully, the remaining organs of the state will also follow suit.

Unfortunately, the dream of the founder father of the country, Jinnah, for a Pakistan where Pakistanis will be free to go to their respective places of worship, is yet to come true. No state can remain a state if its laws discriminate against one or other segment of its population. History is replete with examples of countries that collapsed only because the state favoured those belonging to the majority against those who were from the minorities.

What is ironic to note is the fact that in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, both the state and the majority have forgotten Islam’s teachings about minorities. However, with the decision of the SCP, optimism has overcome pessimism and desperation. The hope is that the apex court’s bench will start functioning soon and take action to correct the wrongs that have been done to Pakistan’s minorities.

However, the constitution of a bench by the SCP will help those who “differ from those of the majority of the population, having a sense of solidarity with one another, motivate, if not implicitly, by a collective will to survive and whose aim is to achieve equality with the majority in fact and law.” But the state and those in power corridors should not be satisfied with the establishment of one bench. As said earlier, all organs of the government need to realise that a comprehensive strategy devised by all will help the minorities to come at par with the rest of the population.