24 July, 2014 / Ramazan 25, 1435

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Published Aug 11, 2012 12:05am

INTERIOR Minister Rehman Malik’s predilection for terming all negative developments in Pakistan as a conspiracy against the state was in full play on Thursday. In answer to a question on the reported migration of several Hindu families from Jacobabad to India, he said that approximately 250 visas were issued, by the Indian High Commission, ‘under a conspiracy’, a statement that led to several families — with valid documents — being stopped from crossing the Wagah border on Friday though they were later allowed to proceed. Reports of the intended migration have yet to be substantiated as a number of travellers are said to be pilgrims, and perhaps the media has sounded the alarm bells too soon. However, for all Mr Malik’s moralistic talk of the Pakistani citizen’s loyalty to the green passport, there is an escalating sense of insecurity within the country’s Hindu community. This has resulted in an increasing number of Hindus, mostly businessmen and professionals, leaving Pakistan in recent years, although the mass exodus depicted by the media is yet to take shape. Their persecution may not be as blatant as, say, that of the Ahmadis, who are routinely gunned down or lynched, or even of their poorer brethren in lower Sindh trapped in a class-based system. But increasingly, the kidnappings of Hindu businessmen, the looting of their shops, occupation of their prop-erty and the general environment of religiosity have isolated the minority community from the mainstream. Besides, they see no forum for justice and no openings to advance in national life.

Unfortunately, for all its so-called secular and democratic credentials, this government has responded to the challenge of insecurity and the culture of radicalism and fear like its predecessors. It has made no attempt to give back minorities their space or even to provide hope for a better future. Where are the mainstream parties and their declared commitment to looking after the interest of marginalised groups? As Pakistan’s minorities find themselves increasingly cornered — not only by extremist groups and an uncaring government but also by a society that shuns the ‘other’— the hands of those who reject a pluralistic culture will be strengthened.

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Comments (12) (Closed)


Dr V. C. Bhutani
Aug 11, 2012 03:35am
I I came from a Hindu family of Rawalpindi, born in 1940. I saw such riots in that city during April to October 1947 that my family had no option but to leave – when it was possible to leave. Fortunately, passports and visas were not yet in vogue then. In 2005 I retired from the University of Delhi as Reader in Chinese Political Geography. I am left cold when I hear all the arguments in favour of the idea of Pakistan. In my view, saner elements even in Pakistan today will understand that the partition on the basis of religion was not a good idea, not to use stronger words. It has not solved any problem. On the contrary, it has multiplied by two every problem that one country faced earlier and which two countries face now, both battling an impossible idea in a contest for space: I mean space ideationally, not territorially. What used to be the Hindu-Muslim question before 1947 became the India-Pakistan question after 1947. We all know how the relationship has meandered since. To be concluded.
Dr V. C. Bhutani
Aug 11, 2012 03:35am
II Who does not know that non-Muslims are routinely mistreated in Pakistan, as you are also acknowledging? Only yesterday several of your newspapers carried reports of the kidnapping of a Hindu teenager girl in Pakistan. Such kidnappings are also routine in Pakistan, with police looking the other way. Earlier a Pakistani TV channel celebrated the conversion of a teenager Hindu boy to Islam, as if that was the greatest victory of Islam in what is doubtless seen in Pakistan as “the clash of civilizations”. Several of your own intellectuals have declaimed against that conversion, especially on live TV. At the very least, it was a bad idea. It’s not for nothing that the percentage of Hindus in Pakistan’s population has declined from 20% in 1947 to 2% now. The entire Pakistani nation should hang its heads in shame. Concluded. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, 11 Aug 2012, 0905 IST
Pradeep
Aug 11, 2012 03:45am
One day in future you will have the time to sob in sorrow, look back and introspect but until that day let us give the chance to fanatics and bigots. Let me remind you that 'On that day you will have no checkpoints of history to revert back'.
Bilal
Aug 11, 2012 04:05am
It has become our national tradition that we blame others for our own faults, same is the case with our government. Who has stopped this government from providing security to Pakistani minorities?
ahmed41
Aug 11, 2012 04:54am
Bhai sahib---------do something !! ???
aviratam
Aug 11, 2012 06:09am
Don't people emigrate everywhere, including from Pakistan (all communities). Why the concern about a few hundred families going on pilgrimage, even if some of them never go back. All reports in the Pakistani press write about the heightened sense of insecurity amongst minorities in the country., And then you have the statement from Mr. Malik about conspiracies!
Dinesh
Aug 11, 2012 09:04am
After partition, 23% of Pakistans population was hindu. Now it is less than 2%. Where have all the hindus gone?
akhter husain
Aug 11, 2012 05:11pm
In complete agreement with you.But it is the question of circumstances that matter.
Ram
Aug 11, 2012 05:19pm
The Rinkle Kumari episode where even the Supreme Court has been a mute spectator destroyed any atom of hope in the Hindus!!
Jayakumar
Aug 11, 2012 05:59pm
Is the majority safe in Pakistan ?
Amar Singh
Aug 11, 2012 09:14pm
What a contrast with India where they have elected a Muslim as their Vice President for a second term in office!
S. A. M.
Aug 11, 2012 10:06pm
I totally agree with aviratam. How can the Hindu Community live peacefully in Pakistan when there are incidents of forced conversions and kidnapping etc. If they are migrating to India for their safety and security it is their right and they are making the right decision. What security our Government can give to Hindus when it has totally failed in giving protetcion to other larger minorities. By forcing Hindu community to stay in Pakistan it is similar to taking them to the gallows. Let them go.