Islamabad: Why was Pakistan created, asked a leading Pakistani daily on Friday, ruing that the country has strayed from the "unique vision" of protecting the rights of its minorities.
An editorial in The News International, "A New Roadmap", said this Independence Day on August 14 "we need to talk about why this country was created and how far we have strayed from that aim".
Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah had declared in 1947 after Pakistan was born: "Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state".
The daily said: "Pakistan was created to protect the rights of a minority, the Muslims of India. It was logical that it would also continue to protect the rights of the new religious minorities that would exist within its confines.
"How far we have strayed from that unique vision is a tragic story that barely requires retelling. Our failure to protect our minorities is not just one of ignoring them, but of drafting laws and organising mobs to engage in direct forms of oppression," it added.
The daily described as "good news" that on August 11, the National Assembly and Senate passed a resolution calling for minority groups to be given greater recognition.
The editorial went on to say that perhaps the proposed National Commission on Minorities can help "restore these forgotten citizens as Pakistanis who deserve equal rights and equal security.
"Right now, on the ground, nothing much has changed. Killings and other acts of violence occur regularly and the white panel representing minorities in Pakistan’s green flag has been metaphorically stained red with blood many times over the past decades," it said.