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Minority count dwindling in Pakistan

Minority count dwindling in Pakistan

Author: Press Trust of India
Publication: The Statesman
Date: July 30, 2006
URL: http://thestatesman.net/page.arcview.php?clid=8&id=151989&usrsess=1

An opposition parliamentarian in Pakistan has urged the government to inquire why the minority population in the country was dwindling while it was thriving in India and took exception to the omission of reference of Jesus Christ in school textbooks.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MP Mr Aitzaz Ahsan wondered while the number of Muslims rose up to 15 per cent in India, the numbers of minorities here declined from 20 per cent at the time of partition to about a mere two per cent at present.

"We keep accusing our neighbour India of mistreating its minorities but India still has 180 million Muslims which is just one minority community. Other minorities add up to much more. At the time of partition Pakistan had a vibrant 18 to 20 per cent minority population," Mr Ahsan said in a letter written to education minister Mr Javed Asharaf Qazi.

Referring to a recent speech by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in which he had pointed out that Pakistan had 98 per cent Muslims, he said: "the statistics show that we have driven our minorities away." "Christians are an important minority in Pakistan. Their number has reduced since the Zia era. They have been persecuted and prosecuted. Entire families and mohallahs have fled and found refuge abroad," he said.

The PPP leader also said the textbooks of Class-IX published by the Punjab and Sindh textbook boards do not carry a chapter on Christ.

He said the textbooks have chapters on Moses, Gautam Buddha, Zoroaster, Bhagwan Srikrishna and Guru Nanak, besides Prophet Muhammad but there were no chapter on Christ.

"Is the omission deliberate and if it is so, who is responsible for it?" he was quoted by 'The Dawn' as saying.

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