105 pages/≈28875 words
Religious minorities in Pakistan (Research Paper Sample)
required to to explain how the Pakistan print media portrays cases of violence encountered by religious minorities. source..
Print Media Portrayal of Violence against Religious Minorities in Pakistan Name: Institution: Abstract Pakistan is a multi-religious country but the main religion is Islam. The crime statistics in the country shows that religious minorities often encounter violence. Such incidences are usually covered by the print media. The Pakistan print media’s portrayal of violence against religious minority has been questionable. The main objective of this study was to determine how the print media portrays religious instigated violence. Textual analysis methodology was applied to examine three English newspapers in Pakistan in terms of their presentation of such incidents whereby thirty one articles from the selected newspapers were included. It was hypothesized that since Pakistan is dominated by Muslims, the print media experiences social, economic and political forces such that reports on religious instigated violence are presented in favor of the dominant religion. Study results showed that the most of the print media house reported in line with interests of some institutions, agencies, groups or individuals. There are various arguments expressed by the print media to explain victimization of religious minorities such as presence of the United States military forces in Pakistan, inter-religious hatred, poor security systems and unconcerned government. Muslims are presented as barbaric, intolerant and are blamed for the sufferings of religious minorities. On the other hand, religious minorities with exception of Ahmadis are portrayed as innocent group, helpless and victims of circumstance. Generally, all newspapers articles tend to portray religious minorities in a positive manner. Media platforms have been involved in constructing the meaning of violence against religious minorities. There are supporting pieces of evidence that the 9/11 historical attack influenced the perception of the print media. The portrayal of religious instigated violence shapes the understanding and beliefs of the newspaper readers on such incidences. With new beliefs and interpretation of the text, the audiences are expected to respond accordingly. CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION Background Information After the end of colonial epoch, many sovereign nation states in region of South Asia are still facing certain challenges towards democratic supremacy and growth. Pakistan is one of those post-colonial states where the democratic pillars of the state are weakened by military dictatorship in the last sixty years since its birth. As a result, the population suffers in terms of both, political and economic feature. However, both military establishment and civilian government have deliberately supported policies of negligence and suppression - one of the most highlighted effects in Pakistan’s history. It is one of the burning issues of violence against Christian religious minority especially after 9/11 incident in the United States of America (Talpur, April. 2011). History records that the divisions of the Indian subcontinent in the year 1947 remains an important event in the history of the world and a life changing action for the Islamic community residing in south Asia. It is also important to note that the region harbors the largest number of Muslims in Asia (Malik, 2008). The Indian subcontinent at the time was divided into three states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The region experienced ascension due to the British operation in the area after the decline of the Mughal Empire (Malik, 2008). The political decline of the empire increased concerns and aguish among Indian Muslims of the time who felt that they were marginalized by the political regimes of India (Malik, 2008). They felt that their educational, financial and social needs were neglected and their community required some sort of reorientation. At different instances, Muslim intellectuals and activists demanded for different solutions but it was not until the late 1940s when they conceptualized Pakistan as an ideal Islamic state (Malik, 2008). Haider reiterates that, just at its inception in 1947 the idea of creation of Pakistan as an independent state was a contested ideological matter not all political factions, ethnic groups, and religious entities sanctioned the separation. This aspect threw the new state into political instability. Historians record that, culturally, a rift emerged in the new state barely a few years after its formation (2013). The cultural division was witnessed among the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) or Aligarh tradition, which blended its culture selectively by embracing Western ideas of modernity and education while at the same time maintaining their Islamic identity and Deobandi is a revivalist movement within Sunni primarily Hanafi Islam The Deoband Movement that rejected western civilization and perceived it as a deviation from religious accepted belief and laws (Haider, 2013). Cultural difference and diversity are elements that have shaped the history of Pakistan as its current image. According to Qadeer (2006), Pakistan’s lucrative history is a representation of its linguistic, racial, and cultural diversity of its population. Constant intrusion by people from central Asia introduced new cultural and racial strains among the people of the area. Research shows that even though the new ethnic groups were assimilated to the cultures of indigenous Pakistanis, their national and ancestral origins created for them class and ethnic identities within Pakistan (Qadeer, 2006). This classification of people and communities have brought the element of marginalization and minority groups leading to religious, ethnic and political confrontations. Pakistan is perceived to be an Islamic state that follows Islamic ideologies and cultural practices. The inception of this newly born country was envisioned as a progressive, democratic and tolerant society, which, while retaining a Muslim majority, would give equal rights to its non-Muslim citizens irrespective of race, religion, color, and caste. Without calling it a secular state, the founder of the great nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his modernist Muslim colleagues believed that Pakistan would improve its people’s socio-economic conditions, and that people of all faiths and practices would continue to live as equal citizens. On 11 August 1947, in his quoted speech to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Quaid –E- Azam Mouhmmad Ali Jinnah said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not so in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.” This is considered to be the charter of Pakistan and summation of Jinnah’s views on the role of faith and the state. In addition, according to the constitution of the Islamic republic of Pakistan directs the state to “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities,” to secure the well-being of the people irrespective of creed, and to discourage sectarian prejudices. It forbids discrimination against any religious community in the taxation of religious institutions. According to the constitution, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of religion in appointing individuals to government service, provided they are otherwise qualified. (Curtis, 2016 p.7). However, some religious factions are disputing this fact. This evidence has brought about a surge of religious intolerance among the different religious groups residing in different parts of the country. It is coupled up with organized crime, violence and militancy. Studies that touch on religious fundamentalism reveal that even though there is a decrease in issues such as suicide bombing and direct confrontations involving the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terror cells religious extremism existed in Pakistan before the global war on terror. These aspects of the society and events cannot escape the attention of the media. The society views the media as a powerful tool that shapes the opinion of its members. This is because the mass media disseminates information, educates, and in some instances creates knowledge in a social setting. In the process of discharging this mandates the media can give either a positive or a negative portrayal of a phenomenon depending on the media bias and social-cultural issues associated with a phenomena being portrayed. Statement of the Problem It is important to note that this newly born country of Pakistan is chiefly a Muslim majority nation where 96.4% individuals affiliate themselves to Islam as their main practicing religion (Seeck & Rantanen, 2015). The country population is about 172 million people; with about 96 percent of them being Sunni and Shia Muslims. The remaining 4 percent minorities are Christians, the Baha’I, Hindus, Zikris, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jews among other religious sects. The total population: 192.83 million Religions: Muslim, 96.4%; Christians, 2%; Hindu, 1.3%; Others, 0.4%; Christian population: 3.9 million (Gregory et al, 2009 &Brian J. Grim, Todd M. Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina A. Zurlo, 2017) The minority groups have suffered religious violence over the past years in Pakistan. For instance, Christians are growing victims of talibanisation and radicalization in the nation. Recently, an increase in the tendency of violence related offenses perpetrated against Christians has been observed (Young, 2015). The unexpected...
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