Minorities under threat

Minorities under threatThere are many citizens in our country who are spending their lives facing deep-rooted social and religious biases against them.

A few among them having the choice to leave such a society have already left or are in the process, while the rest are still waiting for a new, promising dawn of a better future for them.

The post-partition history of the minorities in Pakistan tells a tale of rampant social, economic and political discrimination and injustice towards them at every level as many in the religious majority, i.e. Muslims, believe that Pakistan had been created in the name of Islam and only they have a right on it.

Unfortunately, Muslims too are divided and sectarianism is eating us up from within. Our founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah would definitely be turning in his grave at the prevalent scenario in Pakistan, a country whose flag is incomplete without the vivid white strip representing its non-Muslim population, an integral part of this soil since centuries.

The religious majority has not only forgotten Jinnah’s vision but also the teachings of Islam. It is clearly written in the Quran that there is no compulsion in religion. Still, some of our misguided Muslim brethren try to forcibly convert non-Muslims to Islam. There are several reported incidents of forced marriages of non-Muslim women to Muslim men. What good such acts may do for Islam is beyond understanding.

Recently, on the orders of the Sindh High Court, the police had to recover a Hindu girl, Rinkle Kumari, who was kidnapped from Mirpur Mathelo, forced to embrace Islam and married against her will. Her family had to move the court as the local authorities had refused to help them. Frequent incidents such as this only bring a bad name for both Islam and Pakistan.

Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmedis, etc, constitute over 2.5 percent of Pakistan’s population living in all four provinces, including Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA. Over the last 30 years, religious extremism under state-sponsorship has made life so miserable for the minorities that they want to leave Pakistan for their survival, a fundamental right of every human being. Their children face immense discrimination in schools both by Muslim teachers and peers. In Sindh and Balochistan, abductions of affluent Hindus for ransom are common while in Swat and FATA non-Muslims are under constant threat of extremists.

According to a report published in this paper, every month nearly eight to 10 Hindu families migrate to India for fear of their lives and future. For the progress of a diverse society like Pakistan, peace and harmony among different ethnic and religious groups is a sine qua non. Religious fanaticism has to be condemned at all levels. It might prove a sinkhole for our society if not stopped in time. – Dailytimes