Shrinking space for religious freedom | Pakistan Today

Shrinking space for religious freedom

As the authorities in the federal capital halted the constriction of the Hindu temple, the wave of religious intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and bigotry swept the country with the rabid outcry of protests and demonstrations. The move, that started with an admirable and inspiring beginning, when the government approved Rs100 million worth funds for the construction of the Hindu Temple for the influential Hindu community which encompasses employees from both private and public sectors and members of the business community, took a dark turn. As the religious clerics blatantly opposed this decision and threatened action if the authorities went ahead with the construction, the whole scenario becomes ironic. As our statements against Indian establishment paying a blithe disregard to Muslim worship places and values sardonically smirk at our bigotry at home, our confusion with our stance sees that light of the day. More than that when our private channels remark the “successful” cessation of the temple construction as our victory, it is a sad indictment of the dwindling space for religious freedom in Pakistan. As the country’s minorities are pushed unfairly against the wall by influential groups that threaten the authorities to the fear of conformity and submission, the whole scenario poignantly illuminates the permeation of religious discrimination at the grassroots of all aspects of our society.

Hadia Mukhtar