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Veeru_Kohli_Sara_Faruqi_1 (1 of 1)
Once a landless Hari, Veeru Kohli is now running for a provincial assembly seat from Hyderabad. To hear what minorities have to say about the upcoming elections - view the videos below. - Photo by Sara Faruqi/

Pakistan has a total of 2.99 million registered non-Muslim voters out of which 1.40 million are Hindus, followed by 1.23 million Christians, 115,966 Ahmadis, 5,934 Sikhs, 3650 Parsis, 1,452 Buddhists and 809 Jews.

Discrimination and persecution of religious minorities is quite prevalent in Pakistan with the attacks on minorities rising in the past two years with the Human Rights Watch describing 2011 as 'disastrous'for religious minorities in Pakistan adding that they faced 'unprecedented insecurity and persecution'.

To view a timeline on the persecution of minorities click here.

Part three of “Voters’ Voice” focuses on the issues that minorities face and what they expect from the government.

Part I of Voters' Voice

Part II of Voters' Voice

Watch the videos below as part three of “Voters’ Voices – Minorities.

The former bonded labourer

Veeru Kohli escaped from her landlord and is now competing in the upcoming elections as an independent candidate from seat PS-50 in Hyderabad. Not surprisingly, one of the main points of her manifesto is to end modern day slavery. In this video, she talks about her plans if she is elected, what problems her community faces and the hurdles she has faced because of her religion.

The priest

Father Mario Rodriguez is the priest at St. Anthony's Church and is heavily involved in running a programme at St.Anthony's school for children who cannot afford education. Here, he discusses the problems his community faces, how they cope with the religious discrimination against them, how the government can help and shares what he is hoping for after the upcoming elections.

Comments (33) Closed

khan Apr 26, 2013 12:18am
Veeru , ma tujhay salam.
Asim Apr 25, 2013 11:58pm
News flash - written and practiced Islam are quite different. Remember how we treat the christian janitor/ jummadaar community? How often have your shared the same glass of water with them? My point - to fix a problem, we need to acknowledge it first.
munaf Apr 25, 2013 06:15pm
IMF,World Banks, Asian Development Bank and loans from BRICS be attached with strict conditions to countries like Pakistan and European countries in the case of Gypsies should not be made because of their racial policies against the minorities.
mahesh Apr 26, 2013 03:58am
Dear It is Kohli. that is how it is pronounced and written in Pakistan.
Sohrab Apr 25, 2013 11:51pm
It's time you get out of your self created delusion dude.
samonrusty Apr 25, 2013 10:48pm
On Wikipedia there is info on the Jews of Pakistan; a fairly tolerant society in the early days. Remember it was the machiavellian Bhutto ( boozer, womaniser ) who banned liquor and declared the Ahmedis a minority and then of course his chosen General and later nemesis Zia put the finishing touches to the radicalisation of Pakistan with the blasphemy laws etc
BK Apr 25, 2013 03:18pm
Dawn, thanks for this article and videos and I hope you will keep us updating on Veeru. Wish her all the best!!! People like Veeru make me feel so proud of my nation, we are a vibrant and dynamic group of people with immense potential. We just need to break this wall of corrupt and incompetent government officials that surrounds us and prevents us from achieving our potential. I sincerely hope that May 11 will bring a new dawn for my country. People, please vote in the upcoming elections and ask everyone in your household, including your domestic helpers to go and vote. WE DESERVE CHANGE, WE DESERVE BETTER!!!
Samar Apr 25, 2013 04:28pm
She will win in one way or another.
Mueed P Apr 25, 2013 11:41pm
RJ, your point would have more force if it was true. From Wikipedia quoting Indian President Radhakrishnan: "The white in the centre is light, the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green shows our relation to (the) soil, our relation to the plant life here, on which all other life depends."
Reddy Apr 25, 2013 11:19pm
hahahah...LOL.. good one
RK Apr 25, 2013 06:23pm
Thanks for publishing this story. I hope every citizen of Pakistan will stand for these issues. RK Alberta, Canada
Muhammad Farooq ON, Canada Apr 26, 2013 01:51am
According to a press report no political party is willing to woo 809 Jewish voters. This exposes tall claims of liberalism of some of these parties.
Paul Kajol Apr 26, 2013 04:58am
@abc bullshit!! minorities are suffering more than any other countries across the world. a country is represented by the fact how it treats its minorities and pakistn is totally failed in this regard.
Sarfaraz Aslam Apr 26, 2013 06:06am
goodluck for veeru and father mario and all those, whom voice of poor people, God/Allah/Ram heavly heavly blass you and good luck to you all.
Shrirang Apr 26, 2013 08:14am
There seems some issue with Seat numbers here total of all parties are coming out 340 and total above is given as 272?
Pavan Tyagi Apr 27, 2013 06:28am
Very Nice documentary , Kudos to the Dawn team covering elections in Pakistan...setting a high standard of journalism of courage.. feels great to see that people are now realizing that humanity is above any religion , caste and creed ... love all , respect all , live happily , say no to hatred be it India or Pakistan....
Kamal Apr 25, 2013 02:09pm
I am inspired by her story. A great Pakistani and a truly courageous one. She should run and make a name for herself.
SSS Apr 26, 2013 01:25pm
I admire her tenacity and purpose in this election. Please Dawn, to assist this very determined lady, may I suggest you provide us with a secure means to contribute to her campaign funds. I, for one, would certainly want to send some contribution from Canada.
ali Apr 26, 2013 01:25pm
Islam or any other religion does not teach violence or terror against minorities. Situation is similar in India and Pakistan. You can give so many examples how muslims are excelling in various fields in India but at the same time more muslims/christians are suffering. This dilema is same across the globe. Pakistan is on the radar these days and every small thing gets noticed. We hear/read more bad stories in US media these days about India that does not mean that nothing good is happening there.
ali Apr 26, 2013 01:27pm
Does it matter Kohli vs koli?
Jag Apr 26, 2013 04:12am
Where is Abbastoronto ??????
abc Apr 25, 2013 06:41pm
this report is completely doctored. Minorties in pakistan hve much better life than in the nabouring country. Gujrat example is for everyone to see. moreover, in Islam, it is clearly mentioned, that if you kill one innoscent, it means, killing the entire humanity. And most of Pakistinis are pious muslims.
RJ Apr 25, 2013 07:29pm
How do you ask for an equal share when your country's flag has 1/3 room for minorities? Look at India, a hindu majority country but equal share for everyone - even on their flag. Saffron for Hindus and Sikhs, White for Christians and Green for muslims. I hope you see what I am trying to say here. Pakistan was meant to be against minorities!
Sobriquet Apr 25, 2013 02:31pm
Her name is Koli and NOT Kohli. The family name Kohli is from a totally different socio-economic group than Koli. Such blatant errors reflect badly on Dawn.
Rajendra Apr 26, 2013 08:00am
Mr. Hamid Ansari Honorable Vice Precedent of India ... Pro. APJ Abdul Kalam. President of INDIA & Father Of Indian Missile Program .. Dr. Homy Bhabha , these are just few examples of not ending list of Indian Nationals who are not Hindu but Being Indian they got the chance to reach at the top level, religion never come in their way .. now u start with list of Name of Pakistani non-muslim persons who reached at top in their respective fields.... sure u may be find at least ten persons
Amir Apr 26, 2013 10:07pm
You can not compare what happened to Hindu and other minority in Pakistan with minority community India.. One simple example. You have to see how many Hindus were in Pakistan in 1950 and how many left. In comparison to India Muslim community is three time bigger then 1950. Muslims become prosperous and become integral part of society. So for God sake do not compared and do blame US media. You got what you deserve. I rest my case.
Zahid Apr 25, 2013 07:40pm
809 Jews? They actually registered as Jews? This is very encouraging and shows that we are not as radical as we are portrayed in the media, local and foreign. How come I have never come across a Jew of Pakistani descent? Would be great to hear their story.
Mohabbat Apr 25, 2013 07:45pm
that is true and thank you.....but note, the bamboo goes through the white portion of the flag while the green merrily flutters in the breeze!
Muhammad Farooq ON, Canada Apr 25, 2013 01:01pm
Ms Veeru Kohli's biography is a must read. I salute to this great lady from rural Sindh. She is a symbol of human courage and determination against the oppression of the weak and the poor at the hands of the feudal lords. I hope her resolve to end bonded labor in Sindh will go a long way in bringing about salvation of the weak and the poor in the country. Chiristian community has played a significant and positive role in the healthcare and education fields in the country. Enlightened leaders like Father Mario Rodriguez can work wonders to galvanize support of the community for the progress and better of of Pakistan.
khadim Apr 26, 2013 05:11am
this is postive sign for us....
Shah Apr 25, 2013 12:22pm
1/3rd of our flag represent the minorities of our fellow citizens. I wish you all the best in the coming elections and hope you get enough votes to make a positive change for us all. Me, being a religious Muslim with a pan-islamic view, will always look upon you not as a "minority" but equal citizens of the state whose forefathers also fought for the independance of Pakistan. My vote will go to you. God bless!
Adil Apr 25, 2013 02:27pm
Inshalla. Naya Pakistan
Dr. SK Laroiya Apr 25, 2013 11:37am
a good initiative by Dawn to project the sufferings of minorities in Pakistan. keep it up