chapter  2
13 Pages

Constitutional Provisions Affecting Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities of Pakistan

This chapter attempts to place in perspective the status and rights of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities from within the constitutional framework of Pakistan. It will be argued that the position adopted by the founding fathers of the state vis-a-vis the multi-ethnic composition of the newly emergent state of Pakistan (and reflected in various constitutions of Pakistan), was flawed in its conceptualisation of a monolithic Muslim identity of its citizens to the exclusion of their diverse ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities. Using the constitution of 1973, we shall seek to demonstrate the proposition that post-independence state structures in Pakistan were hindered from addressing this diversity among the population. Measures adopted to this end were, however, based on political expediency rather than a genuine recognition and respect for special needs of these indigenous peoples and ethnic groups. Being halfhearted and ad hoc, these steps are held responsible by many for widening chasms between these communities at various levels.