They flee from this hell euphemistically called Pakistan-the land of Pure
(Second and concluding part of the article ‘Where are Human Rights for Religious Minorities in Pakistan?’)
Pakistan has 95% Muslim population but minorities put theirs at 10%, not 5% as claimed. This overwhelming majority aided by persistent Islamisation of constitution, has reduced minority influence to bare minimum. Article 25 of the constitution declared all citizens as ‘equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law’ but Article 295-C provided death penalty for derogatory remarks by words, visible representation, imputation, innuendo, insinuation or defiling the sacred name of the Holy Prophet. This blasphemy law, meant to protect Muslims and Islam has actually decimated Hindus. National Commission for justice and Peace reported 1400 blasphemy cases since the 1980s whereas The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) study reported state-sponsored 200 attacks and 1,800 casualties between 2012 and mid-2013. The imposition of exclusively Islamic code on non-Muslims through Hudood Ordinances allows evidence against non-Muslims but bars non-Muslims’ evidence against Muslim accused. Qisasand Diyat Ordinances deepened discrimination as only the family of the victim, and not the state, could pardon the convicted person, in return for monetary compensation. Muslim murdering a non-Muslim could pay blood money to the victim’s family and get acquitted, whereas a non-Muslim, deprived of this facility, faced death or imprisonment.
Since Pakistan’s inception, not a single law has been enacted to protect religious minorities. As of April 2012, Pakistan did not provide a legal system for registration of marriages for Hindus, so Muslims intimidate, kidnap and forcibly marry the already married Hindu women. No legal recourse is available since previous marriage was not recognised! Non registration also deprives them of Computerized National Identity Card. Hindu girls are routinely kidnapped, subjected to sexual violence, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking and sale. The famous case of Mukhtara Mai stands out as she was raped on the orders of local tribal council of Jirga! European Organisation of Pakistani Minorities in its Violence against Minorities in Pakistan – 2014 Report narrates the harrowing instances of atrocities against Hindus like kidnap and death of a nine-year-old Hindu girl while being raped; abduction, forced conversion and marriage of Hindu school teacher Sapna; abduction of five children aged between 5 to 10 years of a local well known Hindu trader Saith Bhojrajat gunpoint; forcible conversion of minor daughters Jumna and Pooja of a poor toy maker and instances of bodies found missing from their graves. Sanno Amra and Champa, a Hindu couple in Karachi, returned home to find that their three teenage daughters had been taken to a madrasa, forcibly converted to Islam, and denied unsupervised contact with their parents! Abduction and forcible conversions and marriage of married Hindu women are quite common in Sindh province. The pernicious practice of slavery, though abolished from all civilised countries, still exists in Pakistan as numerous reports suggest millions of Hindus being held as ‘bonded labourers’ in slavery-like conditions in rural Pakistan.
Hindu temples have been targeted too frequently. Hanuman temple in Hyderabad was desecrated, idol broken and the temple set on fire. A Hindu temple and a community centre were set ablaze in Larkana, also in Tharparkar and Tando Mohammad Khan. The century old Sri Ratneswar Mahadev Hindu temple in Karachi was under threat. The temple land of Hindu goddess Kali Mata in Hyderabad, with a settlement of several thousand Hindu families living in the compound for decades, faced encroachment threat. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) noted that 720 families of Hindu sanitary workers were forced to vacate a century old settlement in Karachi after repeated incidents of rape, abduction and attacks on houses by drug peddlers known as ‘Slaughter House Quarter’ with the connivance of police and Pakistan Rangers. The houses of worship and properties left behind by the Hindus have been usurped by the Evacuee Trust Property Board as one-million acres of land in Badin, Umerkot and Tharparkar testify. Hindus are forced to pay Jizyah of Rs 25 000 per person per year at Peshawar or FATA.‘Art of Living Yoga Centre’ was set on fire fearing that popular yoga- a Hindu practice- might influence Muslims. Even text books in schools encourage students to kill Hindus whom media projects as opportunists.
Pew Research Centre in Washington puts Pakistan among the top most persecuting countries to religious minorities. The report uses two indices (1) The Government Restrictions Index (GRI) measuring government laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices and (2) The Social Hostilities Index (SHI) measuring acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organisations or groups in society. Pakistan topped the list of 198 countries having the highest level of social hostilities involving religion. USCIRF has designated Pakistan as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ (CPC) since 2002 denouncing continuous state tolerance of systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief.
Hindus are discriminated against in respect of fundamental rights, political participation, public positions, education, employment, property, food, clothing and housing. Negation of rule of law and democratic governance has resulted in ‘democratic deficit’. Deteriorating conditions have forced Hindus to flee Pakistan at over five thousand per year reducing them from 23% in 1947 to 1.5% now. Discriminatory laws, forced conversions, bombs and shootings have rendered life hell for Hindus in Pakistan.