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Together with the Research and Communication team at Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), we finally finished the report! After months of writing, copy-editing designing, proofing, proofing and more proofing, it feels good to be able to hold one’s hard work in one’s hands; and to have it be acknowledged, is that much better.

The PDF version of the report is really heavy since the printers couldn’t manage to compress the file but each chapter is available on SPARC’s website (and at the India Environmental Portal).

The State of Pakistan's Children 2011The report was picked up by The News: Political will needed to protect rights of kids in Pakistan, The Express Tribune: State of affairs: Child kidnapping rate goes up, and The Washington Post: Pakistan a dismal place to be a kid, report finds!

I penned the chapter on Minorities which mostly covers the state of the minority communities in Pakistan. I covered the persecution and discrimination faced by each of the communities identified as minorities by the Constitution of Pakistan. I also delved into the blasphemy laws of the country and how they affect the minority communities which included a few case studies of the children of minorities that were accused of blasphemy charges during the year 2011. The chapter also contains the recent developments throughout 2011 and a brief history of the blasphemy law. I found some interesting information on cases where the blasphemy is committed by the Muslim majority against a minority community and how that case is treated, and the bias – if any (read the chapter).

Considering Pakistan was ravaged by floods in 2010 and 2011, the chapter also looks into the humanitarian aid partiality that the minority communities experienced and I’ve used the example of cases to paint a clear picture of the ground reality at the time. The education system of the country was also covered and how the curricula in schools moulds the mind sets of the younger generation consequent being the vicious cycle of discrimination the communities suffer. Finally, the chapters ends with the section on the kidnapping and forced conversions of girls belonging to the minority communities to Islam. The conversion and kidnapping section contains cases to explain the situation.

The report is a result of secondary research hence I made sure to give references for all the cases and statistics. Most of the cases are those that appeared in the national newspapers and the reports of organisations working on similar issues.

Here’s my chapter: The State of Pakistan’s Children 2011 – Minorities (9.7MB)

The State of Pakistan’s children is SPARC’s flagship annual report which the organisation has been publishing for the past fifteen years. The team will begin writing the report again in the next few months and maybe I’ll get another chance to cover the situation of the children of minorities in Pakistan. This is the first time that this topic was covered by the report, and I tried to portray the situation as best I could. It was quite difficult due to the lack of statistics and information available on children, specifically.

Happy reading!