KARACHI: Protesting over increasing attacks on minorities and forced conversions, the Pakistan Hindu Council on Sunday proposed the establishment of an active committee at the federal level under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to prevent atrocities against minorities.
This was unanimously endorsed in an urgent meeting called by the executive body of the council, which also assigned Member National Assembly Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani the task of contacting other representative parties for their support.
The meeting was chaired by Chela Ram Kewlani to review mounting atrocities against minorities across the country.
Condemning the brutal killing of a Christian couple in Punjab, the council deplored the kidnapping of Hindu citizens, particularly of minor girl Anjali from Dherki, Kiran from Nawab Shah and Jeoti from Hyderabad.
The council demanded the prime minister and provincial chief ministers implement effective and practical legislation to protect minorities, adding that interfaith harmony and Hindu marriage laws were needed.
Chela Ram said that oppressed minorities saw a ray of hope with the Supreme Court order to protect minorities’ rights, but unfortunately state institutes due to a negligent approach have failed to implement the apex court’s order.
“Minorities are still as vulnerable as they were one-and-a half years ago and to add to their misery, the land mafia is actively engaged in illegally occupying religious places of minorities and the kidnapping of Hindu girls is still happening.
“The minorities are losing hope with the incumbent government,” Ram stated.
Dr Ramesh Kumar said the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed minorities rights.
"Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on 11 August 1947 clearly said in his speech that the first duty of the state is to provide welfare for its citizens… minorities’ rights should be protected without discrimination,” he added.
The Pakistan Hindu Council also proposed names for inclusion in the interfaith committee; including Pir Amin-ul-Hasnat Shah (State Minister for Religious Affairs), Maulana Shirani (JUI-F), Mir Hasil Bazanjo (BNP), Khawaja Sohail (MQM), Abdul-Qehar Khan Wadan (PMAP). Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani from Hindu Community and Kamran Michael from the Christian community.
They also suggested the inclusion of at least one member from each religious party, including the Jamaat-i-Islami.
“Kidnapping of innocent Hindu girls, forced conversions and marriages are issues regularly faced by Hindus, mainly due to the absence of a Hindu marriage registration act,” said Dr Ramesh.
He regretted that the Sindh Government has failed to address minorities’ issues, including the protection of places of worship and cemeteries
Dr Ramesh said that misuse of blasphemy laws on a larger scale has resulted in the harassment of minorities, further stating that the laws are manipulated to settle personal disputes.
Expressing grave concerns on the burning alive a Christian couple, Dr. Ramesh said the incident had created a sense of panic among minorities.
He said that it has increased insecurity among minorities, leaving them to question the performance of state institutions at the national and international level.
Dr Kumar also warned that the fire ignited today, which is affecting the lives of innocent minorities, would wrap all Pakistani citizens in the near future.