Religious persecution in Pakistan
ADITI PRASAD | New Delhi, September 14, 2012 18:41
The world watched in horror as Rinkle Kumari was allegedly abducted, forcibly converted and married off to a Muslim boy in Pakistan’s Sindh province earlier this year. But Rinkle is hardly alone. Hindus are a terrorised minority in Pakistan today. The last few years have seen increasing incidences of religious persecution and harassment of minorities in Pakistan. According to Pakistani media reports, more than 25 Hindu girls are abducted every month in Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces, home to 90 percent of the country’s Hindu population. ADITI PRASAD speaks to Karachi based journalist Veengas Yasmeen to understand the plight of Pakistani Hindus in Jinnah’s nation.
Q. Your opinion about the manner in which the Rinkle Kumari case was disposed off by the honourable Supreme Court?
Q. Have atrocities against minorities been on the rise of late in Pakistan? If yes, which are the key affected areas and why?
Veengas: Hindus are in majority in Sindh and Balochistan; Christians and Ahmedis are in Punjab. But for the past few years the situation of minorities has deteriorated. If we see, in Punjab, many Christians and Ahmedis have been killed. In Sindh and Balochistan the condition of Hindus is pitiable because their daughters are being kidnapped, raped and then forcibly converted to Islam.
Q: Can this be termed as a breakdown of law and order in the whole of Pakistan or merely the empowerment and consolidation of religious and militant forces in Sindh/ Balochistan?
Veengas: Crime happens when law does not exist or law allows criminals to do what they want. The Rinkle Kumari case is an example of this. Absence of law creates extremist forces who commit crimes in the name of religion.
Q. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed anger over the continuing migration of Hindus from Sindh and Balochistan, saying it highlights the state's failure to save these citizens from violence? Has the state taken note of the report and instituted measures to safeguard minorities? What are these measures, if any?
Veengas: I am grateful to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) for expressing anger over migration of Hindus from Sindh and Balochistan but the failure to highlight the issue of abduction of Hindus girls and forced conversions puts a question mark even on HRCP’s intentions. Recently, the Pak government has tried to make a report on Hindus’ migration and said that they are making laws to safeguard minorities. But the question which comes to my mind is what happens if someone commits a crime and then gets shelter under the umbrella of religion.
Q. Would you advice the Indian government to give asylum to those displaced or send them back to Pakistan?
Veengas: Instead of giving asylum, Pakistan and Indian governments must create an independent platform to raise the issue of Pakistani Hindus. Hindus are indigenous people of Sindh and Balochistan. Why do they need to run from their own land and seek asylum elsewhere?
Veengas' interview for Indian Magazine - Interviewed by Ms. Aditi Prasad.