Connecting the Dots: Education and Religious Discrimination in Pakistan


Pakistan is undergoing incredible stress in its capacity to govern. Relief efforts in
response to the floods of 2010 and 2011 alone seem capable of overwhelming all other
government priorities, as do the constant military campaigns and the deadly effects
of ongoing terrorist attacks. The enormous investment in its armed forces, which has
consumed much of Pakistan’s GDP since its inception, has diverted vital resources
from education, and the situation is only worsening with the need to deal with the
rampant insecurities currently confronting the country. In the midst of this turmoil,
and with an administration that faces strong political and religious opposition, the
Pakistani government has nevertheless put forward recommendations for education
reforms, building on efforts begun in 2006 which included revisions to the national
curricula. With an eye to increasing the protection and social inclusion of religious
minorities, these reforms would soften the strong Islamization of the curricula and
textbooks that began in the late 1970s under General Zia-Ul Haq, who stated:

“The highest priority would be given to the revision of the curricula with a view to reor- ganizing the entire content around Islamic thought and giving education an ideological orientation so that Islamic ideology permeates the thinking of the younger generation and helps them with the necessary conviction and ability to refashion society according to Islamic tenets.”


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Content Courtesy- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom