The new National Commission for Minorities will take a
look at problems of the minorities and find new ways.
It was 1973 when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto first introduced the Minorities Commission at a conference for minorities which was shortly dissolved and no official Commission was formed subsequently. The Commission was the first endeavour in which minority rights activists from every district of Pakistan were invited to share suggestions and thoughts for the prosperity of the minorities.
In Pakistan, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Bahais, Islmailies, Parsis, people from Kalash, Ahmadis and Buddhists, are the religious minorities known to everyone. The Hindus are the largest minority group in Pakistan while Christians are the second largest,followed by Sikhs. Hindus are sub-divided into four major categories as per their beliefs, such as Brahmin, Kashtarias, Waish and the Shudras. The division of Hindus is on the basis of upper caste Hindus and lower caste Hindus or Scheduled Castes - SCs. The population of upper caste Hindus is not more than 20% of the total population of Hindus in the country, which shows that around 80% of the total population of Hindus comprises SCs, also called Dalits, as prescribed by the British prior to 1935.
Dr. Bhimrao Ambedikar was the first law minister in India after partition who supported the Dalits. The situation of the SCs was then becoming from bad to worse. Jogindar Nath Mandal, a leader of the Scheduled Castes in Pakistan, was also of the same view as he desired a bright future for the SCs in the sub-continent. This is why he supported the establishment of Pakistan and later he was designated as the country’s first minister of law and labour. He wanted prosperity for the Dalits who had been neglected for centuries by the upper-caste Hindus. Unfortunately, he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan because he could see that the situation of the Dalits was not likely to improve in a predominantly Muslim Pakistan and he returned to India.
In May 2020, Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony again announced a reconstituted National Commission for Minorities. Its terms of reference included ensuring that worship places of non-Muslim communities were preserved and kept in a functional condition.