Being a religious minority in Pakistan is a risky affair
There have been several incidents of vandalism of the religious places of the minorities in Pakistan
In another despicable act of atrocities on religious minorities in Pakistan, a Hindu temple was vandalised in its Sindh province on October 10. While the temple was ransacked, Hindu deities were vandalised in the Kario Ghanwar region of Sindh province in Pakistan.
Several media reports on the basis of eyewitness accounts claimed that the temple was vandalised by a group of Muslims in the area which has a majority of people of Hindu belief in an act to threaten the Hindu community in the area.
While a case has been registered and a person is reported to have been arrested, the incident has only served to reinforce the level of hostility that exists against minority communities in Pakistan.
The incident was thoroughly condemned by many who are privy to the plight of religious minorities in the Islamist country. One such person to condemn the act was London-based Pakistani activist Anila Gulzar.
As a spokeswoman for Justice for Minorities in Pakistan, Gulzar on Facebook wrote, “I strongly condemn the brutal act of vandalism committed against Shri Ram Mandir in Badin Sindh Pakistan on 10 October.
Out of 428 only 20 mandirs are left in Sindh.”
Now, being a religious minority in Pakistan has been a risky affair given the fact that the forces of majority have always attacked and suppressed the minority, especially the religious minorities. There have been several incidents of vandalism of the religious places of the minorities in the past as well in the country.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report 2020, the religious minorities in Pakistan remained under threats in 2019 despite promises made by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.
It wrote, “Women, religious minorities, and transgender people continued to face violence, discrimination, and persecution, with authorities often failing to provide adequate protection or hold perpetrators accountable.”
The report said that Pakistani government failed to amend the draconian blasphemy law which in a way promotes the violence against minorities at the hands of majority and most awfully at the hands of law.
“Hundreds have been arrested over blasphemy allegations, most of them members of religious minorities. The death penalty is mandatory for blasphemy, and 40 people remained on death row at time of writing,” the report said.
The law in its very structure makes it easy for the majorities to file complaints against minorities. For example, in 2019, riots broke out in Pakistan's Sindh province after a Hindu professor was booked on the charges of alleged blasphemy. Sometimes, it is even used as a tool to threaten the religious minorities.
Amid this, the lawlessness of Pakistan has been called out by several institutions within the country.
Earlier this year, several homes of Hindus were demolished in Bahawalpur city in Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan found out that local authorities in Yazman were responsible for demolishing the homes of Hindu Community.
Calling the actions taken by the authorities as illegal and inhumane, the commission in a statement said, “Following an independent fact-finding mission, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has found that the local authorities in Yazman (Bahawalpur district) were responsible for demolishing the homes of a Hindu community in Chak 52/DB.”
Around 25 houses were levelled and around 10 others were demolished on May 20 this year which left occupants including children without any access to shelter, it said. “One respondent claimed that she was dragged out of the house by her hair,” the statement said.
Not just the Hindus, but the Shia community has also met the same fate. According to the HRW report released in 2014, the killings in Pakistan have been on rise.
According to the report ‘We are the walking dead: Killings of Shia Hazara in Balochistan, Pakistan’ by Human Rights Watch, hundreds of Shias were killed as part of targeted sectarian violence against minorities in Pakistan.
“Since 2008, several hundreds of Hazara, a Shia religious community, have been killed in worsening targeted violence, including two bombings in the provincial capital, Quetta, in January and February 2013 that killed at least 180 people” HRW said in the report which documented Sunni militant group attacks on the mostly Shia Hazara community in Balochistan.
Last year, around 20 people were killed in a blast at a Shia shrine in Hazarganji market in Balochistan. Similarly, in 2012, a blast in Balochistan killed at least 13 members of the Shia community.