How Pakistan got boxed into religion

April 14, 2012

Why do we have a “religion box” on our passport anyway? DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

The National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) refusal to change MPA Rana Mahmood’s religion from “Islam” to “Christianity” has many boxed in.

A plethora of questions have arisen. Is this a human rights violation? Will Mahmood be considered an apostate if his records were to reflect that he left Islam? How can you change someone’s faith with a stroke of a pen?

But no one is talking about the real question: Why do we have a “religion box” on our legal documents anyway?

Say that and you essentially open Pandora’s Box. After all, in a 97% Muslim majority country, what good can come out of knowing someone’s religion? What are we really trying to achieve except demonising, harassing, and isolating the 3% of Pakistan’s Hindu, Ahmadi, Christian and other minorities who have made equal if not more sacrifices for the creation and preservation of Pakistan?


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