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April 21, 2021

Single Curriculum: NCM in ‘complete disagreement’ with one-man body report

Top Story

April 21, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has distanced itself from the SC’s one-man commission and expressed “complete disagreement” with the latter’s report that had recommended shifting the entire Islamic content from compulsory subjects like Urdu, English and General Knowledge to Islamiyat.

In a press release issued through the ministry of religious affairs, chairman of the NCM Chela Ram Kewlani said that the National Commission for Minorities does not agree with the content of the report presented by the one-man commission to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

He said that following a recent briefing by an education ministry official on the Single National Curriculum, the NCM had unanimously endorsed the curriculum and termed it historic. He said the creation of a Single National Curriculum is a welcome step of the present government.

In a clarification issued regarding The News story ‘Minority panel wants religious text shifted to Islamiyat subject’ published on Tuesday, the Chairman NCM explained that the report presented to the Supreme Court was prepared by a one- man commission, which has nothing to do with the National Commission for Minorities.

He explained that the NCM comprises known and educated representatives from the Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Parsi and Kalash communities. These members of the NCM, he said, are the real representatives of the minorities in Pakistan.

Chela Ram Kewlani added that in the presence of Maulana Syed Abdul Khair Azad and Mufti Gulzar Naeemi, the NCM plays an important role in the promotion of inter-faith harmony in the country. Kewlani said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, a non-Muslim is heading the Commission.

He said that in the view of the NCM, mutual respect and knowledge about each other’s religion is a must for inter-faith harmony.

The News reported on Tuesday that a Minority Commission, set up by the SC, for the implementation of the minority rights judgment 2014, had sought the exclusion of several overtly Islamic topics from the compulsory Urdu, English and General Knowledge syllabus for non-Muslim students as their inclusion violated Article 22 of the Constitution.

The content recommended for exclusion from compulsory subjects and inclusion in Islamiyat includes hamd, naat, topics on the Prophet (PBUH), the great caliphs of Islam, male and female role models from Islamic history and other religious references relating to Muslims.

The one-man Commission, in its report submitted before the SC on March 30, suggested that all Islamic content (as mentioned above) from the Single National Curriculum (SNC) should be exclusively placed in the textbooks of Islamic Studies/ Islamiyat, a subject compulsory only for Muslim students. “In the context of the SNC, Islamic content in English and Urdu textbooks amounts to ‘religious instruction’ which no non-Muslim student can be compelled to study,” the report said.

The Commission in its report claimed to have conveyed the concern expressed by several minority rights scholars and activists that Islamic religious content had been added to compulsory subjects like Urdu and English which was tantamount to compelling minority students to receive Islamic religious instruction.