Equal education rights
In 1987 the government passed an ordinance about giving 20 extra marks to Muslim students who are Hafiz-e-Quran, this ordinance not only contradicts the statements and claims of equal rights for minorities by all the Presidents, Prime Ministers and Ministers of Pakistan, but is also against the constitution of Pakistan. It also violates individuals’ human rights and international treaties signed by the government of Pakistan.
This ordinance distinguishes between Muslim and non-Muslim students and also diminishes the chances for non-Muslim students obtaining admission in colleges and universities. Consequently, non-Muslim students are deprived of their educational rights, their rights of employment and are prevented from serving their own country.
A Christian girl, Qandeel, secured A+ and A grades in every class and secured 77.79% marks in the final selection. Instead, admissions were offered to students who secured 78.51% including 20 extra marks for being a Hafiz-e-Quran (learning the Quran by heart).
There may be thousands of students in Pakistan who are being discriminated against because of this unjust and discriminatory ordinance which it seems is a continuous process of Islamising the state and makes non-Muslims 2nd claas citizens of the country.
Christians are poor and sometimes they cannot afford to obtain the higher education to serve their own country. The government has a scholarship scheme for higher education but Christians rarely benefit from government schemes because of a lack of recommendations and resources.
I would also like to bring to your notice that there used to be a 5% quota until 1956 but it had been abolished and with its abolishment, the chances for some non-Muslim students obtaining admission in colleges and universities has diminished.
This ordinance distinguishes between Muslim and non-Muslim students and diminishes the chances for some non-Muslim students obtaining admission in colleges and universities.
In 1972 the late Prime Minster Zulfiqar Ali-Bhutto made Islam the state religion and the government took responsibility for running Christian educational institutions. This act of nationalising Christian schools broke the educational backbone of the Christian community. As a result, successive generations of Christians have struggled to obtain an education. Thousands of Christians in towns and villages are often poorly educated and have no choice but to accept menial jobs.
Restoration of Quota system
The doors of the jobs and entries to get education at lower and higher levels have been closed under unwritten conventions. Due to the nationalization of Christian Educational Institutions and abolishing of the reserved seats for minorities in the government institutions in 1972, there has been an increase of the Christians in illiteracy and poverty. Christians in Pakistan are illiterate, suffering in extreme poverty and unemployment among Christians has increased to an unprecedented level. The statistical data indicates that only 6% have the primary school education, 4% of Christians have high school education, 1% of Christians have college education and only 5% of Christians have higher studies and professional education. These figures represent a very alarming situation. There was a 5% quota fixed for Christians for admissions in engineering, medical and other higher education institutes of Pakistan since 1947, which was abolished in 1973. The few doctors and engineers now visible in the Christian community are fruits of that quota system.
The admissions on merit were adopted as a principal policy in 1973 but the Urban quota, the Rural area quota, Governors quota, Chief Ministers quota, Prime Ministers quota, President of Pakistan quota, Children of Armed Forces quota, Professors quota, Kashmir Refugees quota, and Members of Parliament quota in the medical and engineering colleges remained effective in Pakistan.
Under such prevailing circumstances it can very easily be assessed that when academic institutions established and run in name of Christianity in Pakistan fail to serve and when the doors of the government’s education system are also shut on Christians, what shall be the economic and social situation of Christians in Pakistan. Christian children are often overlooked at time of placement in educational institutions even though Muslimchildren from Kashmir, Biltistan, Gilgit and Baluchistan with lower grades are automatically selected.