LAHORE, Aug 10: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Friday expressed alarm and outrage at the continued exodus of religious minorities from Sindh and Balochistan and said the state had consistently failed to allay the concerns of these communities despite repeated reminders by the civil society.

The commission said in a statement: “The state of anger and panic caused by the reports that several hundred Hindu citizens from Sindh and Balochistan were migrating to India has subsided somewhat after the disclosure that they were on a pilgrimage.

Most of them said they would return to Pakistan while some said they might not.

“In any case, reports of Hindu citizens’ migration to India have been coming from Sindh and Balochistan fairly regularly. Some spokespersons of minorities have argued that vested interests are threatening and frightening the non-Muslim citizens with a view to forcing them to migrate. Some of these elements are said to be religious extremists while others have plans to grab the minorities’ property. In any case, there is little doubt that the minorities have been driven to despair.

“Religious minorities’ continued migration from Sindh and Balochistan is a reflection of state’s failure to save these citizens from violence, discrimination and disgusting excesses such as forced conversion of young women. The live telecast of a recent conversion of a young Hindu man on television is a particularly reprehensible and indefensible manifestation of the attitude towards non-Muslims.

“HRCP desperately hopes that the government shares its distress in this respect and reiterates its call for the state to address, in consultation with the communities in question, the reasons forcing religious minorities to flee the country. HRCP urges civil society organisations and the media to keep the spotlight firmly trained on the raw deal these communities are getting. Ahead of the forthcoming elections, the political parties have an opportunity, through their manifestos, and more than that through their actions now, to articulate their vision for religious minorities in Pakistan.”

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