Pakistan was a country carved out of the British Indian Empire in 1947 as a homeland for the Muslims of India. In 1956, a new constitution declared Pakistan to be an "Islamic Republic Pakistan". While the constitution declares Islam to be the religion, it also states that 'adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures".
Pakistan's founding ideal was to be a land where people of all religions and races were equal. Mohmmad All Jinnah, Pakistan's founding father, famously said "the minorities in Pakistan will be citizens of Pakistan and enjoy all the rights, privileges, and obligations of the citizenship without any distinction of caste, creed, or sect".
• 95% of Pakistan's over 200 million people are Muslim. • About 5 to 7 million are Christian, 3 to 5 million are Hindu, and about 20,000 to 30,000 Sikh • Pakistan's 4 million Ahmadiyyas (a sect of Islam treated as non-Muslim) are relatively well educated and wealthy. • The minorities, although granted almost equal rights under the law in practice, are treated as second-class citizens with few social opportunities. • Christian and Hindu minorities have little access to education and are among the poorest and most neglected members of society.
The Christian Minorities
Approximately 6 to 7 million Christians live amongst Pakistan's 200 million Muslims. Most of them are descendants of Punjabi Hindus who converted over 100 years ago. Their ancestors were from the lower Hindu caste, the descendants of the original people of the ancient Indus valley civilization. They are the true heirs of the Punjabi homeland. Today Christians are in the minority, and have almost equal rights in Pakistan's constitution, but are often forced to work as sweepers, servants of the rich, or laborers. Because of their minority status, and their poverty, 90% of the Christians are illiterate and have no realistic access to either education or justice.