No Sikhs in Pakistan Census forms

Deccan Chronicle.

World, Neighbours

There is a sizeable non-Muslim population in Pakistan, but the census forms only lists five religions.

The census form does not have a box for Sikhs to mark their religion, though there is one for Hindus and Christians.

Pakistan’s top court on Monday dismissed request by the Sindh and Peshawar high courts to include an option for Sikhs in the religion section of the census form.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said that the first phase of census had been completed in more than half of the districts of the country. It would now not be possible to print new forms,” he said, adding: “The forms are in machine readable, therefore, the section cannot even be made manually as the machine will not recognise them.”

The court ruled that census cannot take place again in areas where it has already taken place.The census form does not have a box for Sikhs to mark their religion, though there is one for Hindus and Christians.  

A Sikh community leader had filed a petition in the Sindh High Court, demanding inclusion of Sikhism in the religion column in the census form. The divisional bench in SHC heard the case on March 21 and sent notices to the chief census commissioner and provincial census commissioner to submit their response.

Sikh community leader and advocate Heera Singh Khalsa said he filed the case on the basis of Article 25-1 that says all citizens were equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.

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