Word ‘non-Muslim’ should be used for minorities: SC

ISLAMABAD –  The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the word ‘non-Muslim’ should be used for the religious minorities living in Pakistan.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal heard the suo motu case regarding the rights of minorities. Former chief justice Tassaduq Jillani had taken the suo motu notice after the Peshawar church bomb blast and had passed a judgment.

Justice Dost Muhammad said: “Now the majority has also become a minority because a minority (group), whenever it wants, holds them hostage. The judge said the word non-Muslim should be used for religious minorities as per the Constitution.

The deputy attorney general said worship places of the minorities were being protected, adding a Hindu Samadhi and a temple had been restored. The Sindh advocate general told the court that the Hindu Marriage Act had been passed.

Justice Afzal said minorities should be protected like a special child. The minorities should know their rights had been protected well, he said.

The Balochistan advocate general informed the court they had taken all measures to protect the minorities’ rights.

The court disposed of the case after hearing the arguments.

Ex-CJP Jillani had ordered formation of a special police force with professional training to protect the worship places of the minorities.

The judgment had further said that in all cases of violation of any of the rights guaranteed under the law or desecration of the worship places of minorities, the law-enforcing agencies concerned should promptly take action, including registration of criminal cases, against the delinquents.

The apex court had also proposed development of appropriate curricula at school and college levels to promote religious tolerance in the country. The court had also asked the federal government to take appropriate steps to discourage hate speeches in the social media and bring the delinquents to justice under the law.

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