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Violence Against Minorities in Pakistan

Recently a headline “Hindu teacher attacked in Pakistan, School, temples were vandalised over blasphemy,” hogged limelight in international media. It was reported that violence broke out in Ghotki town in Sindh Province of Pakistan where a group of men attacked a Hindu Principal and vandalised school and three temples for his alleged derogatory remarks against the Prophet of Islam.

Is it state policy?

The violence against minorities is a common and regular feature in Pakistan . There has been sharp decline in minorities in Pakistan since 1947, religious violence and forced conversions are the main cause of this decline.  Reportedly, approximately, 1000 girls belonging to minorities, normally underage are forcibly converted to Islam and married off to people of much older in age every year.

According to a report by Minority Rights Group International (MRG), Pakistan is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for religious minorities. Here are some of the major attacks or crime against minorities in the country since 2013.

  • On March 7, 2013, more than 200 houses belonging to Christians in Joseph Colony and three Churches were burnt, after Sawan Masih, a member of the colony was accused of blasphemy. A day before the incident, police threatened the Christians to vacate their houses else they would also be attacked otherwise.
  • On May 5, 2013 a mob had vandalised a Hindu temple and smashed statues, looted gold artefacts before setting temple ablaze in Larkana.
  • In an another attack, at least 83 people were killed in a twin suicide bombing at the end of a service at All Saints Church in Peshawar on September 22, 2013.
  • Christian couple, on November 7, 2013 was lynchedto death near Lahore and their bodies were burnt in the brick kiln where they worked for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran.
  • Yet in another violent attack on minority, on May 13, 2015 , 43 members of Ismaili community were killed by Militant group Jundullah in Karachi.
  • On November 21, 2015, a mob attacked a factory owned by members of Ahmmadiyya and set it ablaze accusing one of the members committing blasphemy.
  • Once again, in one of the deadliest attack on March 27, 2016 where, at least 72 people were killedand more than 300 injured when a suicide bomb ripped through the parking space of a crowded park in Lahore where Christians were celebrating Easter Sunday.
  • On October 9, 2017, 5 men from Hazara community were killed in Quetta when attackers opened firing on the victims who were travelling in the back of a pick-up truck, on their way to sell the vegetables in the nearby market.
  • A Sikh girl was abducted on August 31, 2019 and forcefully converted to Islam before marrying off to a Muslim man of much older age in Nankana sahib city of Punjab Province of Pakistan.
  • As recent as on September 16, 2019, a Hindu girl Nimrita Kumari, a medical student  of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University in Larkana was murdered whereas  state law enforcement agencies trying to cover up the matter by terming it being a suicide case.

Viewpoint

The minorities including Hindu, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis are living under constant fear in Pakistan since partition of the country and Pakistan coming into existence in 1947. They continue to face threat to their life, property, religious freedom and discrimination. Anyone accused of insulting Allah, Mohammad, or Islam in general faces capital punishment under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Often than not, it has become common practice to misuse these laws to settle personal scores, especially against members of religious minorities. The Government of Pakistan has failed to protect the rights of these minorities; in fact, it has perpetrated systematic, ongoing, violation of religious freedom. Human Rights Watch has accused the Government of having failed to act against abuses committed by security forces and intelligence agencies which are conniving with extremist groups to attack religious minorities. Pakistan is so vociferous about unfounded human right violations in Kashmir and world is not paying any heed to such allegations. Why, Pakistan needs to carry out some soul searching to answer for itself and has to set its own house in order and ensure safety and security of minorities else be prepared for further international isolations and sanctions from world community.

17 Sep 19/Tuesday                                                   Written by Fayaz

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