Hindu challenges rule stipulating compulsory Islamic studies

A Hindu boy has filed a petition in a Pakistani court challenging a rule that stipulates a student must have a certificate in Islamic studies to be eligible to appear for entrance tests to medical colleges.

Updated: Oct 29, 2011, 20:18 PM IST

Islamabad: A Hindu boy has filed a petition
in a Pakistani court challenging a rule that stipulates a
student must have a certificate in Islamic studies to be
eligible to appear for entrance tests to medical colleges.

A division bench of the Sindh High Court admitted Sagar
Ladhani`s petition yesterday and provisionally allowed him to
appear in an upcoming test for admission to an MBBS course.

In his petition, Ladhani challenged the rule that
students have to study "Islamiat" at the O-level to get an
equivalence certificate from local education boards to appear
in entrance tests for admission to medical colleges and
institutions.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam issued
notices to the federal and provincial Education Secretaries,
Inter-Board Committee of Chairmen, Dow University of Medical
and Health Sciences, National Testing Service and provincial
and federal law officers to submit their response to the
petition.

The court adjourned the matter till November 15.
Ladhani`s lawyer Farough Naseem told the court that his
client had completed his O and A-levels from the University of
Cambridge through a local private schooling system.

The subjects of religious studies prescribed in the
O-level syllabus were "Islamic Religious Culture and Islamiat"
for Muslim students and "Religious Studies and the Bible" for
Christian students.

There was no subject in the O-level curriculum for
students belonging to other religious minorities, including
Hindus, Naseem said.

When Ladhani approached the Board of Intermediate
Education to obtain an equivalence certificate, he was told it
could be granted to him only if he had passed the religious
studies course at the O-level.

Naseem said Ladhani was unable to apply to the Dow
University of Health Sciences as the education board declined
to grant him the required equivalence certificate.

The admission test would be conducted on October 30 and
Ladhani was informed on October 4 that he should have taken
ethics or religious studies with other mandatory subjects at
the O-level for obtaining the equivalence certificate.

The lawyer said the ethics examination was scheduled for
May 2012 and if the condition was not relaxed, Ladhani would
lose an academic year.

He asked the court to direct authorities to allow Ladhani
to sit for the admission test.

The court, after hearing the federal and provincial law
officers, allowed Ladhani to appear in the test provisionally.

PTI