Recently, in October 2018, a Christian 4th grade student named Sharjeel Masih was beaten and suspended from his government primary school in the Attock District for touching the school’s water tap. According to the headmistress, Sharjeel had fouled the school’s tap water by being a Christian and merely touching it.
Later, in November 2018, Ishrat Saba, a young Christian teacher, was sexually harassed and beaten by her Muslim headmaster at a government school in Phool Nagar, located in the Kasur District. This incident began when Saba was called to her headmaster’s office for a new job assignment. When she arrived, however, her headmaster forced her to watch a lewd video on his mobile phone. She submitted a complaint against the headmaster to the authorities. Shortly thereafter, Saba was threatened and beaten by her headmaster who sought to pressure her into withdrawing the complaint.
“Discrimination against both Christian students and teachers in Pakistan’s schools [has] become almost common practice.”
In 2017, two Christian students were killed because of their Christian faith at educational institutions. In October 2017, Arsalan Masih, a 16-year-old, died after a brutal assault by police at a tutoring center in Sheikhupura. Arsalan had reportedly refused to convert to Islam when one of the policemen’s sons offered him incentive to convert. In August 2017, Sharoon Masih, another Christian, was beaten to death by a Muslim classmate in the Vehari District after he accidently broke his classmate’s mobile phone.
In another incident in November 2015, an 8-year-old Christian girl was locked up in a school bathroom for three hours. The Christian’s supposed crime? Using the Muslims’ bathroom. The headmistress of the school reportedly shouted, “How dare you use the same toilet as Muslim girls!”
This is becoming really unbearable for the christian students.
In a recent speech, Sahibzada Noorul Haq Qadri, the Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony in Pakistan called for concerted efforts to be made to promote interfaith harmony. He claimed that such measures were imperative to protect the basic rights of all citizens. Hopefully Qadri will start his campaign for greater interfaith harmony within Pakistan’s educational institutions.