Discrimination against Christian students alleged

PESHAWAR, July 25: The Christian community in the United Kingdom has expressed concern over what they called discriminatory attitude of the Pakistan government towards Christian students seeking admission to educational institutes.

This was stated in a letter sent by the Pakistan High Commission in UK to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, two months ago.

The letter circulated to the education departments of the four provinces by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the High Commissioner for Pakistan in UK had received several letters in this connection.

A letter sent to the High Commissioner has been attached with the circular, saying that the Pakistani law earmarks 20 extra marks to Muslim students, who are Hafiz Quran.

The law, according to the letter, contradicts not only statements and claims of equal rights for minorities made by the president, prime minister and ministers, but is also against the Constitution of Pakistan and international human rights.

It said that the law distinguished between Muslim and non-Muslim students and diminished the chances for non-Muslim students obtaining admission to colleges and universities.

Consequently, non-Muslim students are deprived of education and employment rights, said the letter.

"We believe the ordinance should be abolished and every Pakistani should be treated equally," said the letter, a copy of which had also been sent to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, Islamabad.

The letter said that the abolition of the ordinance and reservation of quota for Christian students would not only help the Christian community, but it will also improve the image of Pakistan and the government at the international level.

The High Commission in UK asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for provision of appropriate materials to enable it to respond to such letters, which are frequently sent by members of the Christian community in UK. Dawn



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