The debate over including religious identification in Pakistani passports goes international, with The New York Times picking up on the fight. The debate, in brief: In October Pakistan issued new electronic passports that omitted the religion column introduced in the 1980s by Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, the military ruler responsible for several laws aimed at Islamizing the country. Conservative Islamists and the Religious Affairs Minister saw the omission as a threat to Pakistan’s Muslim identity and an attempt to secularize the country. They demanded the religion column be brought back. Liberal politicians, civil rights groups and the Interior Ministry resisted the restoration of the column, saying that religion should have no bearing on how citizens are treated by the state. The Prime Minister’s cabinet was split over the issue, and he has now set up a ministerial committee to deliberate on the issue.