The (not-so) minor issues

A cursory mention of minorities in textbooks does not amount to inclusiveness

In June 2018, when the Supreme Court of Pakistan was approached with application CMA 4872, the Single National Curriculum (SNC) was still a possibility, as it was part of the election manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. The applicants – the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the Centre for Social Justice, and the Cecil and Iris Chaudhry Foundation – had sought judicial remedy against the grievances that pre-existed the SNC. The issue gained traction in the on-going discourse on the state of education in the country, partly because the application had been moved in the follow-up proceedings under the famous Jillani Judgment of 2014, regarding minorities’ rights.

The application sought relief on three grievances in relation to curriculum. Firstly, on the hate speech against minority religions that was part of the textbooks. The application also substantiated the plea by providing evidence in the textbooks printed or authorised by the textbook boards of the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and the Federal Board of Education.