Rising Violence against Minorities in Pakistan

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A charge of blasphemy ignited the attack in the town of Larkana, according to human rights activists, part of a spike against Hindus in the Muslim majority country of Pakistan.

 

Muslim mobs attempted to set Hindu temples ablaze, looted gold artifacts and smashed statues
Muslim mobs attempted to set Hindu temples ablaze, looted gold artifacts and smashed statues

According to Life for All, a rights groups, March has been a worst months for attacks on Hindus with five temples attacked, up from nine during the whole 2013. Hindus feel victimized including other minorities in the country.

All the minorities including Hindus, Christians, Shias Muslims, Ahmadis complain that Government fails to give them protection against violence attacks and discrimination. Many feel that situation has become more terrible since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power last year. Minorities who make up a small portion of country’s total population, 180 million, feel unsafe and unprotected.

In 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah ensured minorities with a promise that they would enjoy freedom of worship and equality without discrimination. These words ring hollow nowadays for many minorities.

The US Commission on Religious Freedom said in a recent report that government in Pakistan had been unsuccessful to sufficiently protect the rights of minorities and therefore conditions in Pakistan had “hit an all-time low”.

Sherry Rehman, who was a Government minister and ambassador to United States under former administration, said, “Pakistan is increasingly failing to protect its minorities for two broad reasons: principally, rising religious intolerance and the space ceded to violent ideologies”

Hindus including other minority groups feel that conditions have become severe since Nawaz Sharif won the elections and came to power. Nawaz has close links with Saudi Arabians who believe in Wahhabi Islam. The brand of Wahhabi Islam is usually preached by individuals who criticize and denounce minorities.

Impunity

Many Hindus in Punjab feel harassed and stressed and therefore they are looking for to get out. Rights groups say” more than hundred families are migrating to India each month.

Munawar Jee’s brothers and their families were among those who migrated to India after his married was kidnapped, and was remarried off after the second day when her abductors got her certified as Muslim convert. And she could legally be put to death if she would try recant Islam.

Jee told Reuters at his shoe shop in Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan distric, “Losing my sister is the biggest regret of my life”. He further said he would soon leave for India to join his family.

Hindus say that a charge of blasphemy, punishable by death, has become a primary reason to drive them from their homes and their women are rapped, kidnapped and forcibly converted.

The province of Punjab has become a power base for militant groups which had until recently been a refuge for Hindus as compared to other areas.

Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid did not answer the questions seeking comment on policy towards minorities. A suggestion was rejected by a Punjab government spokesperson that the ruling classes were not helping Hindus adequately.

Shoaib Bin Aziz said, “The government is committed to protect its religious minorities”. He further added that he was not aware of a rising of Hindus departure. He rejected that the provincial government was lenient on militancy.

He further said, “Terrorists are not friends of anyone and the Punjab government does not have soft corner for any terrorist organization”

Hindu activist Kirshan Sharma said, calling such reassurances just little, that the government failed to protect Hindus against violence.

“What hope can Hindus see in the country’s future?” Sharma questioned.