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Reforms, concrete steps urged for ensuring equality of citizenship

Rule of law and equality in all spheres of life require an important principle of same status of citizenship in society, analysts said on Thursday.

Media has an effective role in promoting equal citizenship in society, they said.

They were speaking at a media orientation dialogue titled “Charter of Demands: Equality of Citizenship.”

The speakers including media persons, academicians and representatives from Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences (IUCPSS) attended the event. The speakers were of the view that Pakistan was created as a separate federal country in 1947 on the basis of protecting the rights of Muslim minorities and rights of federating units in United India.

The founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his speech during the inaugural session of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan presented his vision where the equality of all citizens was emphasised, they said. His statement provides a complete framework for protecting the rights of all citizens of Pakistan without any discrimination of religion and race, the participants added. They also demanded an effective implementation of charter of demands to ensure equality of citizenship in the country.

“It is high time for meaningful reforms and concrete steps to improve the conditions of religious minorities in Pakistan through recognising their historic contributions in the creation of Pakistan,” analyst Liaquat Shahwani said.  IUCPSS Coordinator Murtaza Noor said that the Constitution of Pakistan clearly stipulates that adequate provisions shall be made for the minorities to profess and practice their religions freely.

“Articles 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 36 of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantee equal citizenship and protection of rights of minorities,” he said.

While sharing the international and Norwegian experience of equality of citizenship, Atle Hetland highlighted the importance of protection of rights of minorities to promote peace and harmony in the society.Academician Prof Tahir Malik emphasised over changes in curriculum and inclusion of topics related to equality of citizenship and fundamental constitutional rights for promoting active and responsible citizenship among youth.

Dr Nadeem Omar stressed upon the need for political and electoral reforms to ensure effective and expanded participation of religious minorities. He also underlined the importance of individual and collective efforts to promote the values of peace and tolerance in the country.

Reporter. Reforms, concrete steps urged for ensuring equality of citizenship. The Nation, June 2, 2017.

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