Freedom of religion in Pakistan

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Freedom of religion in Pakistan is guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan for individuals of various religions and religious sects.

Pakistan gained independence in 1947 and was founded upon the concept of Two-nation theory. At the time of Pakistan's creation the 'hostage theory' had been espoused. According to this theory the Hindu minority in Pakistan was to be given a fair deal in Pakistan in order to ensure the protection of the Muslim minority in India.[1][2] However, Khawaja Nazimuddin, the 2nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, stated: "I do not agree that religion is a private affair of the individual nor do I agree that in an Islamic state every citizen has identical rights, no matter what his caste, creed or faith be".[3]

It is estimated that 95% of Pakistanis are Muslims (75-95% Sunni,[4][5][6][7][8] 5-20% Shia[4][5][9][10] and 0.22-2.2% Ahmadi,[11] who are not permitted to call themselves Muslims—see Religious discrimination in Pakistan), while the remaining 5% includes Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, members of other faiths and atheists.[12]

Progress on religious freedom is being made gradually as Pakistan transitions to democracy from Zia's legacy, in 2016 Sindh with Pakistan's largest Hindu minority passed a bill that outlawed forced conversions. The bill was tabled by a faction of the Pakistan Muslim League which in Sindh is led by Sufi leader Pir Pagara, called PML-F, Pakistan Muslim League functional.[13] Pakistan is 96% Muslim, and most provinces are overwhelmingly Muslim, Pakistan's most religiously diverse province is Sindh with an 8% religious minority population (predominantly Hindus and also Christians) and there is significant protection within Sindh province against forced conversions against one's will.[14]

Constitutional position

The original Constitution of Pakistan did not discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims. However, the amendments made during President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's Islamization led to the controversial Hudood Ordinance and Shariat Court. Later, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government tried to enforce a Shariat Bill, passed in May 1991. After the incident of 9/11, Pervez Musharraf government took steps to curtail the religious intolerance of non-Muslims.