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Hindus in Pakistan Face Elimination

Pakistan’s Supreme Court is in denial mode while girls from minority groups face inhuman torture, rape, forced farce marriages & murders

Rohan Giri

Priya Kumari, a minor Hindu girl was abducted from Sukkur in Pakistan’s Sindh state. The administration’s deficient response to her kidnapping compelled endangered Hindu minority of Balochistan to take to streets in protest.

In the wake of these public demonstrations particularly by Hindu community in Dera Murad Jamali, Balochistan, Zia Ul Hasan Lanjar, Home Minister of Sindh State Government announced a Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

But, this measure barely addresses root of the problem: the frequent abductions have alarmingly become a regular ordeal of minority Hindu community underscoring a deep-seated systemic issue that continues to afflict their daily lives.

Sindh known for its rich cultural fabric and a cradle of ancient civilizations of united India may have relinquished its uniqueness. Present day Sindh under Pakistan occupation has hogged headlines for relentless persecution of Hindu minorities.

Incidents of rape, abduction, murder and coerced religious conversion have grown distressingly frequent thereby illustrating a community that’s under siege and repression. The frequent targeting of Hindu girls and women often abducted from their families, forcibly converted to Islam and married against their will wells up fears owing to systematic campaign of terror and oppression.

Faith linked violence has been widespread in Pakistan since its separation from India. The consistent failure of local authorities and broader Pakistani state apparatus to protect Hindu minorities or prosecute their aggressors points to a grim reality of state complicity. Such inaction not only emboldens perpetrators but signifies a deeper, institutionalized form of faith related discrimination. The impact of this neglect extends beyond immediate victims and their families, creating a climate of fear that permeates the entire Hindu community in Pakistan.

Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) has issued a vehement denunciation of the ongoing religious persecution faced by minority communities in Pakistan. It called for enacting of a legislation that ensures equal rights for all citizens. It’s an incontrovertible reality that minorities in Pakistan live under constant shadow of fear, vulnerable to attacks and persecution at the hands of Islamist extremists.

Islamic clerics are at forefront of this oppression, playing pivotal roles in forced conversions of minority girls by sanctioning and facilitating these acts within mosques and madrassas. Numerous case studies[1] reveal the systematic abuse perpetrated by Islamists, a grim scenario made possible by Pakistan’s lenient judicial system, the tacit approval of local imams, and financial backing of influential political figures and elites.

This complex web of complicity underscores the profound societal implications of these practices. How Pakistan’s judiciary is also involved in the cleansing of minority religious groups can be understood by Pakistan’s Supreme Court statement of June 2014, which says, “So far as the allegation of forcible conversion of Hindu girls is concerned,

although criminal cases were registered in Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan, yet generally it was found that most of girls had eloped with persons of their choice and married at their own free will.”

This may not be true in several cases. For instance, Mahnoor Ashraf, a 14-year-old Pentecostal Christian girl was abducted by her 40-year-old Muslim neighbor Muhammad Ali Khan Ghauri. Ghauri coerced her to convert or get killed. Is this free will of a minor girl?

Parsha Kumari, a Hindu teenager was abducted by Abdul Saboor in Sindh province. Abdul Saboor tortured her, raped her, forced her to convert to Islam and then forcibly married her.

On March 14, 2022, a 13-year-old minor Hindu girl Bindiya Meghwar was abducted in Khairpur District of Sindh. Bindiya and her family were assaulted after they resisted the kidnapping by five radicalised Islamist men, Ijaz Pathan, Ijaz Ahmed, and their three companions. She was taken by car to one of Mirpur Mathelo’s madrasas. There, she was brutally beaten, and gang raped by the men. The brutality did not stop there, the Muslim men went on to film her while raping her and threatened that they would make her rape tape go viral if she retaliated. The little girl was then forcibly converted to Islam and married to Ijaz Ahmed, the man who had abducted her.

There are several cases that are crying for justice, but if the judiciary is biased and fundamentalist, then how can these forcible acts be remedied?

Throughout leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Zia-Ul-Haq, and present day Shehbaz Sharif’s administration, Islamic Republic of Pakistan has constantly demonstrated failure to protect rights and interests of its religious minorities. This grave situation is not only getting worse but rapidly deteriorating further even as Supreme Court in Pakistan continues to be on denial mode.

Ways of co-existence with people practicing other faiths seems contradictory to Pakistani Muslims. Sectarian warfare, specifically by Islamic extremists, is severely dividing the country, actively pursuing eradication of minority groups like Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others who dare to exist within their territory.

These factions have succeeded to an extent in expanding their ideology of hatred and terrorism globally, adopting extremist ways to perpetrate attacks and cause deaths of innocent people. This is not merely a state failure; it is a very severe and uncontrolled human calamity that ridicules fundamental idea of peace and coexistence.

Chilling reality of abductions, persecution, forced conversions, forced marriages, and murders in Pakistan exposes a concerted effort to eradicate religious minority communities.

These instances of violence and persecution are not isolated occurrences but a systematic campaign to wipe out religious plurality from society. In today’s multifaceted global landscape, the outdated fallacies of Jinnah hold no relevance, nor do the policies enacted by Zia ul Haq. Their activities and thoughts can only build a fundamentalist nation and society that’s anti-human.

(Author: Rohan Giri is a journalism graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) New Delhi, and Manager Operations at CIHS.)

[1] Persecution of minority Hindu, Sikh and Christian Women and Girls in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – CIHS – Centre for Integrated and Holistic Studies

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